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Warren Banfield

In 1946, Warren Banfield (1922-2006) became a pastoral intern under Adventist minister and evangelist E. E. Cleveland in Atlanta, Georgia. Like Cleveland, Banfield made no separation between religious faith and activism for social justice. He developed a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr., and the two men’s families often went out to dinner together. Banfield served as president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and in the 1950s and 60s as head of the Atlanta NAACP chapter. As a result, he received death threats, yet he remained undaunted. “There are times when the cause becomes greater than one’s personal interest,” he said. Banfield served as the first director of the Adventist church’s Office of Human Relations to address problems of discrimination inside the denomination. A Sabbath-keeping Adventist, he frequently worshiped with other faith communities on Sundays. “I take communion with the Catholics,” he said. “I praise with the Baptists and Pentecostals.”

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