Even as a caller identifying himself as a Klu Klux Klan member phoned a bomb threat to their meeting site, evangelical leaders took further steps toward racial healing at the National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) convention April 9-12 in Dallas.

Following earlier reconciliation efforts (CT, April 8, 1996, p. 101), Don Argue, president of the predominantly white National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), and officers of the black evangelical organization agreed to future joint meetings of the two bodies.

"We likely will meet with the National Association of Evangelicals in 1999," said Aaron M. Hamlin of Chicago, executive director of the NBEA. He also became president of that group under a restructuring plan approved at the Dallas meeting.

The bomb threat brought extra security measures to the Dallas hotel where the convention met. "Nothing happened, thank God," Hamlin said.

NO JOINT 1998 MEETING: The NBEA, which includes representatives of about 100 denominations, turned down a proposal to hold its 1998 convention next March at the same time as the NAE holds its convention in Orlando, Florida.

More time is needed to plan for hotel and meeting space by the African-American group, Hamlin said. Another factor in the delay involves assuring members of the black organization that they will have equal participation in planning the joint meeting for 1999, he said.

"We are encouraging our people to take a larger part in the NAE meeting next year in Orlando, though," said Hamlin, who also serves on the board of the white evangelical group. White evangelicals will be encouraged to participate in NBEA's national convention next year.

The two groups will meet soon to set a date for a broader national "summit" on racial reconciliation ...

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