DALLAS - Thousands of people listened to Vice President Mike Pence speak at the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas Wednesday.
“The SBC has always strived to reach the world for Christ and so have you throughout the decades. And I believe with all my heart your faith has moved mountains and your witness changes lives daily,” he said.
The vice president also talked about President Donald Trump’s meeting with the North Korean leader.
“Strong American leadership has accomplished much. He and I both know the effective and fervent prayer of righteous people can avail much more. So let’s all pray. Let’s pray for peace… for the Korean people and the world,” he said.
While most Southern Baptists at the convention support the vice president, some said they would skip his address and instead hold prayer sessions elsewhere in the building.
Security was tight in Downtown Dallas as Pence arrived at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. There could also be traffic delays when his motorcade departs in the early afternoon.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott opened the convention by thanking Baptists for their support after Texas tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and the mass shootings at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church and Santa Fe High School. He also shared life lessons he learned from the accident that put him in a wheelchair.
“As so often, life-altering events like this test your faith. But in the aftermath, having this event test my faith, I found that it actually made my faith in God even stronger. Some are even surprised to hear my life is better after the accident that left me in this wheelchair,” he said. “It is better because it galvanized my relationship with God.”
Shortly after the opening, leaders drafted a resolution denouncing any rhetoric or behavior that dishonors women. The largest Protestant denomination in the United States has been dealing with the fallout of sexual misconduct scandals.
A small group of protestors outside the convention center demanded the Southern Baptist leadership include more women. They also want a database to track those accused of misconduct.
Leaders are hoping a young pastor will be the key to boosting membership numbers across the country.
JD Greear, who is at the helm of a North Carolina megachurch, was elected as the group’s new president. He is 45 years old and the youngest person elected to lead the convention.
Greear ran for the position two years ago but pulled out of the race to prevent any division.