Leaders from several predominantly African-American denominations have committed to raising $5 million to assist the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in its campaign to wipe out a $3.8 million deficit.

According to J. C. Hope, director of the NAACP's department of religious affairs, the denominations taking part in the drive will raise the $5 million within their own local-church structures. The denominations include the National Baptist Convention USA, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). The first installment is expected next month. The NAACP, the black community's pre-eminent civil-rights group, has been ensnared in major financial struggles that became public with last year's controversial dismissal of its executive director, Ben Chavis, accused of using NAACP funds to settle a sexual-discrimination claim against him.

Bishop Frank Ellis, general assembly chair of the 4 million-member COGIC, told CT that the churches taking part in the drive generally support the NAACP's mission. "We may not line up with everything it does, but since its founding, the NAACP has been the civil-rights arm of the black church."

"The NAACP has its birth in the black church," Hope told CT "We've long realized that we cannot survive without its support."

Copyright (c) 1995 CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Inc./CHRISTIANITY TODAYMagazine

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