With close to 2,000 people in attendance, the church, full with community members, governmental officials and clergy, greeted Yates with a thunderous applause as he entered the sanctuary on Monday evening.
The Mobile, Ala. native says his parents, the late Deacon Robert L. Yates, Sr. and Mrs. Maggie Bumper Yates raised he and his nine siblings with a strong Christian faith. (Yates, the youngest of 10 children, has five siblings who are also involved in ministry).
Yates Previously served the convention as the vice president for six years under the administration of Elder Dr. Ernest Ferrell.
At Monday’s service, Mayor Ashton Hayward welcomed visitors to Pensacola. Hayward expressed his friendship and respect for Elder Yates, citing many of Yates’ ministry and community work.
Elder Dr. T.W. Samuels, president emeritus of the National Primitive Baptist Convention, presided over the installation proceedings.
“Yates you have been chosen to provide vision and leadership as you are led by the Holy Spirit,” Samuels said.
Following the congregation’s pledge of support and “steadfast cooperation’’ to the new president, Elder Samuels declared Elder Yates as the 13th president of the National Primitive Baptist Convention.
The chairwoman of the installation planning committee, Mother Blaine Batts, read letters to Yates from dignitaries across the nation. Most notably, Batts read a congratulatory note from President Barack Obama, which praised Yates for his accomplishments and new presidency.
Rev. Jonathan L. Yates, pastor of El-Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala. and brother of Bernard Yates, challenged the convention to wholeheartedly support their new president.
“God makes his own choices,” he said. “New winds are blowing leadership that will take charge. This should allow the Holy Spirit to take over the church.”
He closed with a challenge to his biological brother.
“Mr. President,” Jonathan Yates said, “God has given you a vision, a shared vision. Be strong and bring the membership into it to bring [the vision] to pass.”