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June 20th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

New Southern Baptist leader: Former street preacher, Katrina survivor

By Ashley Hayes, CNN

(CNN) – Hospitalized at age 21 with compound fractures and serious head injuries after a motorcycle accident, Fred Luter Jr. decided to give his life to God and enter the ministry.

A native of New Orleans' impoverished lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Luter was the third of five children raised by a divorced mother who worked as a seamstress and a surgical scrub assistant, according to Thom Rainier, president and CEO of the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Christian Resources and a friend of Luter's.

Although he had been active in the church as a child, Luter "began to do some serious reflecting on his life" after the 1977 crash, according to a Web posting on Rainier's website. "God used that incident to bring him back to serving him," Rainier wrote.

And what a long way he's come since. On Tuesday, Luter, now the pastor of the 8,000-plus-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organization that began as a pro-slavery church more than 160 years ago. His term officially begins Wednesday night.

Read the full story on CNN's Belief blog

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Clark Heintz Tools & Equipment LLC

    What a great outcome following the crash. Kudos to someone who sounds like an honorable man.

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