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The Rev. Henry Lyons


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  • Church secretaries talk to prosecutors

    Times staff writer

    ©St. Petersburg Times, published August 27, 1997

    Prosecutors subpoenaed National Baptist Convention USA presidential secretary Deborah Blake and Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church secretary Berlina Hudson to come to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office on Tuesday. The two women, who were given immunity for their testimony, were questioned for two hours.

    Blake declined to discuss what she had been questioned about but described the questioning as "positive." Hudson, through church attorney Jay Hebert, declined to comment.

    Meanwhile, two more church groups affiliated with the National Baptist Convention USA have called on its president, the Rev. Henry J. Lyons, to resign.

    "Take the profit out of being president and then only a prophet will want to be president," said a resolution of the Central Hudson Baptist Association in New York.

    Passed Saturday, the resolution urged the convention to hire a professional executive director, answerable to a board of directors, to manage the church group's finances and day-to-day business.

    The association comprises 42 churches, moderator Jesse Bottoms said Tuesday. If Lyons does not resign, the resolution says, local churches should withhold financial support from the national group.

    Last Thursday, ministers belonging to the Baptist Convention of (Washington) D.C. and Vicinity issued a similar call, said the Rev. Frank Tucker of First Baptist Church of Randolph Street. "Due to the gravity of the cloud over the National Baptist Convention by the alleged mismanagement of the office of president . . . the Rev. Henry J. Lyons should immediately resign."

    Ministers from about 20 of the 40 D.C. area churches affiliated with the National Baptist Convention participated in the meeting, Tucker said.

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