To The Reverend Jim Futral

To The Reverend Jim Futral,

Executive Director, Mississippi Baptist Convention

July 30, 2012

Dear Jim,

When we were ministerial students together at Blue Mountain College, the only surprise in the Crystal Springs story would have been that anyone had the temerity to suggest that a black couple could get married in a white First Baptist Church anywhere in the State. And, in spite of all the testimony to progress in mainstream Mississippi, it is clear that the more things change, the more they stay the sameā€”in society and no less in the church where 11 o'clock on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week.

In light of all the claims of progress in race relations in Southern Baptist life and the symbolic election of a black SBC president, I am writing to suggest that the only appropriate and ethical response to the Crystal Springs FBC declining to host the wedding of a black couple would be for the convention and the County Baptist Association to undertake to withdraw fellowship from the church, pending an official apology and written policy against racial discrimination in all church activities by the governing Board of Deacons of the church.

Surely a religious communion with the racial history of the MBC/SBC and one that has threatened to and in fact withdrawn fellowship from congregations that chose to ordain women to the gospel ministry, that has forced out seminary professors who believed in ordaining women, can exercise the moral will to take significant action in face of this blatant act of racism by a church in the fellowship. Even if some black citizens of Crystal Springs forgive the church, this act is of more than local importance. It is an affront to all the black congregations and individuals who have joined or are thinking of becoming part of the SBC.

In the spirit of the Convention's commitment to a new day in race relations, in the Spirit of the faithfulness of your father, the Reverend Guy Futral, whom I admired so much, and in the inclusive Spirit of Christ, I ask you to take the initiative to organize a more effective and appropriate response than has been offered by anyone to date.


Don Manning-Miller

Holly Springs


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