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   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.

 
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