Willy Rice announced as Pastors' nominee

BALTIMORE (BP) -- Willy Rice, pastor of the Tampa-area Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, according to an announcement by fellow Florida pastor Jimmy Scroggins.

Scroggins, pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, stated in a May 5 announcement to Baptist Press: "It will be my great privilege to nominate my friend, Dr. Willy Rice as president of the Pastors' Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. Willy has served as the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., since 2004. Under his leadership this historic congregation has experienced renewed health and significant growth in every area. Calvary averages more than 3,500 people attending multiple services on two campuses. Calvary is annually recognized as one of the leaders in missions giving and baptisms in the state of Florida. Outreach magazine has listed Calvary as one of the 100 fastest growing churches in America."

Scroggins said Rice "understands and rejoices in the rich history of the SBC, but Willy pastors in a major metropolitan area and his church embodies the racial and socio-economic diversity required for Southern Baptists to be a Gospel force in the future."

The Pastors' Conference, which features messages from key leaders and inspirational music and worship, will be June 8-9 in the Baltimore Convention Center preceding the Southern Baptist Convention's June 10-11 annual meeting there.

Columbus, Ohio, will be the site of next year's Pastors' Conference and SBC annual meeting.

Rice, 50, led Calvary Baptist Church through a complete relocation from its historic campus in downtown Clearwater to its current location in east Clearwater. The church has a second campus in East Lake just to the north. Rice served previously at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., for seven years.

Rice served as president of the Florida Baptist Convention from 2006 to 2008 and is the author of two books, "Discover Dynamic Life" and "Before You Go: What Every Parent Needs to Say and Every Kid Needs to Hear."

Before serving in Pensacola, Rice had been pastor of Gladeview Baptist Church in Anniston, Ala.; Cypress Lake Baptist Church in Tampa; and Bethel Baptist Church in Dora, Ala.

Rice earned an undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and a master of divinity and doctor of ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Rice and his wife Cheryl have three children.

"I believe Willy Rice will strike exactly the right tone as President of our Pastors' Conference," Scroggins said. "I also believe that Southern Baptists from all walks of life will be challenged and encouraged by his leadership. I look forward to placing his name in nomination at our meeting in Baltimore."


Compiled by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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