HOUSTON (AP) - Southern Baptist pastors from around the nation are meeting in Houston in advance of their denomination's annual conference starting Tuesday.
The Southern Baptist Convention, with nearly 16 million members, remains the nation's largest Protestant denomination, but membership declined slightly last year and baptisms fell by 5.5 percent.
At the pastors conference Sunday evening, Pastor Gregg Matte of Houston's First Baptist Church said, "Our country is in trouble, our churches are in trouble, our pastors are in trouble." He said, "We need more Jesus."
Southern Baptists are expected to pass a resolution urging congregations to end their sponsorship of Boy Scout troops now that gay youths will be allowed to join. Church leaders also are worried about growing acceptance of gay marriage and government requiring some religious institutions to provide contraception coverage.
Members of a national organization are protesting a proposed change to the Boy Scouts.
OnMyHonor.net organized a rally today in the Central West End. The protestors were arguing against changing the organization's long standing policy banning gay members. Delegates with the Boy Scouts plan to vote next week on lifting that ban.
The changes would not apply to adult members.
St. Clair County jurors Thursday convicted 55 year old John Demers after less than two hours of deliberation.
The charges involved a teenager who said Demers had inappropriate contact with him between 2005 and 2011.
Demer's attorney says his client maintains his innocence.
BSA announced last week it was considering allowing troops to decide whether to allow gay membership. That news has placed a spotlight on executive board meetings that began Monday in Irving, Texas, where scouting headquarters is located.
BSA spokesman Deron Smith said last week that the board could take a vote today or decide to discuss the policy, but the organization will issue a statement either way.
The board has remained silent otherwise.
Meanwhile, groups on all sides have organized to try to make their voices heard.