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As millions of Americans line up — some in church buildings — to exercise their democratic right to vote, dozens of churches decided to open their buildings to celebrate the sacred rite of communion for services called “Election Day Communion.”

A Louisiana man who admitted to burning down three predominantly African American churches to promote himself as a “black metal” musician was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay the churches $2.6 million. 

The Missouri Baptist Convention on Tuesday elected its first Black president — 186 years after the first man to hold that position did so while he enslaved more than a dozen Black people. This week’s election of Jon Nelson symbolized a significant change since Jeremiah Vardeman’s election in 1834 & 1835.

The building of Vietnam Baptist Church in Philadelphia was burned Tuesday night (Oct. 27) during the second night of unrest in the city after the police shooting of a Black man Monday (Oct. 26).

As tensions about trustees at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, flared up during the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, it was usually with the current SBU trustees speaking — sometimes challenging a fellow trustee at another microphone.

Pastors and community leaders in Charleston, South Carolina, and Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama, have worked on the “Deep South Joint Statement on the Gospel, Racial Reconciliation, and Justice” aimed at spurring Bible-based racial reconciliation, multiracial conciliation, and racial justice.

During the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in St. Charles, a leading trustee for Southwest Baptist University urged reforms to the trustee selection process as he criticized MBC leaders for fueling controversy at the school in Bolivar, Missouri.

After Southwest Baptist University President Eric Turner resigned amid a two-year controversy over theology and institutional control, Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director John Yeats wrote a letter to SBU faculty and staff.

In December 2018, news broke of a controversy at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, involving the Missouri Baptist Convention, theological debates, and efforts to gain institutional control. As the SBU-MBC controversy continues to evolve, Word&Way created this timeline of key moments.

The Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists elected a new executive director Oct. 16. David Manner, associate state executive director since 2012 and on staff with the convention since 2000, will assume the role March 1.