The 7.5 million members of the nation's largest black denomination are being encouraged to help pay off the $6 million debt on its World Baptist Center in Nashville, by buying coffee.
The Rev. T.J. Jemison, president of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., told the denomination's midwinter board meeting at the center Jan. 23 that the coffee sale campaign has been coordinated through Cafeccino & Tea Sales Corp. of New York City.
The coffee is grown in Hawaii and processed in plants in New Orleans and New York. Each bag carries a picture of the World Baptist Center and a slogan written by Jemison, which describes the coffee as "a Christian brew blended just for you." The company says it has been "specially blended and packaged for the National Baptist Convention USA Inc."
The coffee will sell for $5 a pound, with $1 going to the World Baptist Center and 50 cents being retained by the congregation that sells it.
Jemison told the board meeting that $4 million of the $10 million debt on the two-year-old building has already been paid off. He said it takes $95,000 a month to keep the facility open, including $65,000 a month interest on the loan and $30,000 a month for salaries, utilities and other operating expenses.
The National Baptist president also said that 27 of the denomination's leaders had urged President Bush not to go to war because of the biblical commandment against killing.
"I am a loyal American and I follow the leadership of my president, but I am still opposed to the war," Jemison said.