“I stand on the shoulders of the great pastors that have come before me,” said the Rev. Charles W. McNeill Jr to a sellout crowd at the 54th Annual National Capital Baptist Convention D.C. and Vicinity. McNeill was installed at the organization’s new president during the event, which ran from Oct. 19 – 21.

Rev. Charles W. McNeill Jr. is the new president of the National Capital Baptist Convention. (Courtesy photo)

He continued, “I just want to continue the path that has been set for us by Rev. Barksdale. We want to be a blessing to God’s people beyond the four walls of the church. It is time for the church and the community to come together for the betterment of mankind.”

In addition to McNeill, the following officers were also installed: Dr. Stephen E. Tucker, Vice President at Large; Rev. Dr. Willie Lawson, First Vice President; Damion Briggs, Second Vice President; Rev. L.K. Floyd, Third Vice President; Charles Dockett, General Secretary.

McNeill is a senior pastor at Unity Baptist Church in Northeast D.C. He has also been active in local political circles and has served as the conventions first vice president at large. He was voted in to replace the outgoing President Eric Barksdale. Barksdale served the convention for the last four years.

McNeill said his major goals over the next four years will be to increase the presence of member churches in community issues and to strengthen corporate partnerships to increase jobs for the community. “The sustainability of our Convention will continue on because of the collaborative efforts and willingness of pastors, past presidents, and member churches to develop and foster partnerships across business and political arenas. These partnerships will broaden and enhance our convention and those they serve.”

During the ceremony, attendees were inspired by a rousing sermon by Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Fort Washington). Muse spoke on the topic “The war between the Church and the World,” imploring pastors to get out of their pulpits and educate their congregations. He brought the crowd to its feet several times as he used examples of how injustice in the state house impacted worship. “The laws they pass impact the people that sit in your pews, so I don’t want anyone to talk to me about the separation of church and state.”

Muse reminded the audience that it was important for Blacks to educate youth about their heritage. “We have to let our young people know where they come from,” he said.

Other local officials to address the convention included U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md. 8th), candidate for the senate, and his opponent Maryland Delegate Kathy Szeliga (R), Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frost, Maryland Del. Darryl Barnes, Glenn Ivy, and April T. Ademiluyi, candidate for Circuit Court judge.