Pastor Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, announced he was pulling his church out of the Southern Baptists of Texas convention and may leave the Southern Baptist Convention later this year, depending upon what they decided about the current controversy over the scholarly study of systemic racism. McKissic has been one of the most active and influential black pastors in the Southern Baptist network but his article “We’re Getting Off the Bus” outlined his decision to distance himself from Southern Baptists following the stance of the six seminary presidents on Critical Race Theory.
A Baptist woman from California and a Catholic man from Delaware took the oath of office as Vice President and President (respectively) of the United States. On the evening prior to their swearing in, Roman Catholic Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington DC Wilton Gregory led a service of remembrance for the 400,000 lives lost to COVID, and Baptist preacher and organizer William Barber of North Carolina preached the homily at a private service of worship on the morning of the swearing in at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
Two scholars with the Hartford Institute for Religion Research released extensive data on the current state of the megachurch movement in American Christianity. Entitled “The Changing Reality in America’s Largest Churches” and authored by Warren Bird and Scott Thumma, the report summarizes the responses from 582 churches to a survey conducted in early 2020. This study is part of a series of similar surveys conducted every 5 years beginning in 2000. Average attendance is 4,092 of 5982 participants. Most are multisite (70%) and multiracial (58%) and affiliated with a denomination (60%). Attenders are predominantly white (72%), female (56%) and college graduates (56%). Lead pastors are 53 years old with 15 years of tenure and oversee budgets that average $5.3 million.
Churches and communities around the country celebrated the annual MLK Jr holiday, commemorating the birth in 1929 of the famous preacher who ignited the modern Civil Rights Movement. Hundreds of cities promoted volunteer opportunities as is the custom for the holiday. President and Vice President elect Biden and Harris volunteered at food delivery operations in Philadelphia and Washington DC, respectively. More than one hundred events were on the calendar for King’s home town Atlanta, under the theme of “Beloved Community” with a virtual service of inspiration featuring Dallas megachurch pastor T. D. Jakes.