Florida pastor Willy Rice announced Wednesday (March 2) that he plans to accept a nomination for president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the SBC’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, June 14–15.
The news about Rice comes less than 24 hours after Ed Litton announced he will not be seeking a second term as SBC president. Litton, pastor of Mobile-area Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, said he plans to refocus his attention on racial reconciliation efforts at the local and national level. He made the announcement in a video posted to his church’s YouTube channel. Also, see his Special Report interview with TAB Media here.
In a statement to Baptist Press, pastor Clint Pressley announced his intentions to nominate Rice, who is pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida, where he has served since 2004. Rice’s resumé includes serving churches in the role of pastor for more than 35 years, according to Calvary Church’s website. Rice served as president of the Florida Baptist Convention from 2006 to 2008 and was president of the SBC Pastors Conference in 2015. Last year, he gave the convention sermon during the SBC annual meeting in Nashville.
“Willy Rice represents who Southern Baptists are at their best,” said Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist, Charlotte, North Carolina, in his statement.
“He loves Southern Baptists, believes in Southern Baptists and has demonstrated at every level of our convention his ability to lead Southern Baptists.”
Rice graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, with a bachelor’s degree in 1985, and he graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a master of divinity in 1990 and a doctor of ministry in 1996.
Rice and his wife, Cheryl, have three children and six grandchildren.