JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Thousands converged on the Capital City Tuesday during the National Baptist Convention USA Incorporated’s mid-winter meeting.
During day two, church leaders planned to undertake an effort to economically empower members of churches nationwide.
Amid the praise and worship, there is a business agenda behind the National Baptist Convention USA Inc’s Jackson session.
In this year’s annual board meeting, officials launched a federal credit union with the goal of raising $50 million in three to five years.
The NBC committed $100,000 to the project.
Self Help, based in Durham, North Carolina, is working with NBC to develop the credit union, and holding the funds until the convention receives its financial charter.
The goal is to establish a financial and lending institution for the African-American community.
“What we’re going to do is make financial dealings and projects, and make loans and things available to the community so that people no longer have to use predatorial lenders,” said Dr. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention USA. “It is a biblical principle that what God places in our hands ought not to be buried, but to be circulated within the community so it blesses the community.”
Dr. Young, a Jackson resident, brought the annual board meeting back to the Capital City.
With its more than 6,000 attendees, all downtown hotels are booked. The Westin, the host hotel, has all 186 rooms booked with convention attendees.
Visit Jackson estimates an economic impact of $1 million.
Matt Terrell of Clarksdale is happy to be a part of the dollars supporting the state's capital.
“We do plan to see the African-American history museum, and several museums while we’re here, several restaurants and visit,” said Terrell. “It’s always good to be in Jackson, the home of our president, and so we always love the hospitality when we come to Jackson."
Jerry McAfee flew in from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“As we speak, we’re headed to find restaurants. Last night we were at one, and before we leave here we’ll go to some more without a doubt,” said McAfee. “For me, the history that Jackson represents to us as a people has always stuck foremost in my mind. Just last night, I was riding, and my major in school was history and thinking how far in essence we’ve come and also how far we need to get."
"There is an economic impact, but what we hope to do is to leave this city a little better place because we've come," added Dr. Young.
The National Baptist Convention USA Inc., was founded in 1886 and is the oldest and largest African-American religious convention in the country.
It has a membership of 7.5 million with more than 31,000 churches.
The Jackson convention is being held at the Jackson Convention Center and runs through January 17th.