Bishop behind faith group targeting millennials, minorities

A national religious denomination banded together to get their members to the voting booth. Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship started Fellowship Unite, a PAC aiming to register and turnout millennial and minority voters in the 2016 election and beyond. The organization aims to unite church congregations with a common goal: energize 100,000 unengaged voters to get out to the voting booth. Starting with a powerful online video, Fellowship Unite aims to turn community ‘outrage to action.’

“It’s time to turn our anger about discrimination, police violence, and other issues of the day into meaningful, political action,” said Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, one of the group’s leaders. “Fellowship Unite is organized to shift us from protest to power, to shift us from apathy to action. This election is too important to stay home.”

Walker, based in Nashville at Mount Zion Baptist Church, is the Presiding Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, a network of Baptist pastors and churches all over the world. Walker graduated with a Ph.D. in theology from Princeton University and has grown the Mount Zion congregation from 175 members to more than 30,000 since taking over in 1992.

“I believe that part of developing your own destiny is engaging in civic responsibility. Too many people have paid too high of a price for us to sit home and do nothing. The stakes are too high. I want people to join us as we encourage all churches nationwide to register to vote and get folks to the polls,” said Walker. “We’ve got to do it. We’ve got to make it happen. Let’s be a part of our own destiny.”

Another driving force of the organization is Bishop K. Edwin Bryant, who began working under Walker in 1992 at Mount Zion and eventually worked his way up to Chief Operating Officer. Bryant now presides over Mount Pisgah Church in Dayton, Ohio, which has been transformed into a regional leader under Bryant.

“Our country is at a critical point in our history, and it would be a shame for the Black community to shy away from its obligation to become engaged in the political process,” said Bryant. “We must let our voices be heard in deciding the direction of this country.”

This effort centers around the ‘Trinity Pledge,’ a commitment Fellowship Unite is asking all of its churches’ members to make, whereby they pledge to register to vote, vote early, and get three other non-registered people to register and vote.

Events like ‘Faith Day at the Polls,’ a national day where churchgoers meet their pastor at polling locations, and “Souls to the Polls,” a program providing rides in church buses to the polls, will be utilized by the PAC to ensure members get to the ballot box.

Fellowship Unite is focusing its GOTV efforts in swing states like Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. The organization is non-partisan and does not promote a particular candidate or ideology. Fellowship Unite only wants its members to engage in the political process.

For additional information about Fellowship Unite and its outreach efforts, visit <FellowshipUnite.com>.