Dr. Nilous Avery
is pastor of the historic Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Salisbury, Inc. where he has served since October 1992. He received a B.A. and Master of Divinity from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a Doctor of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary. He was elected President of the General Baptist State Convention of N.C., Inc. (GBSC) in October 2014, one of the largest and oldest African-American organizations in the southeastern United States. He is a native of Asheville, NC, and is a former educator and administrator in the Asheville City Schools. Dr. Avery has served and continues to serve on numerous commissions, community foundations, and boards including the Shaw University Board of Trustees, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Board, and Salisbury-Rowan County Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship. He served eight years on the Board of Rowan County Department of Social Services. He is married to the former Nicole Denise Hill and has one son, Joshua.

Dr. Mark Key is senior pastor of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, where he has served since 2012. Previously, he served churches in High Point, Trinity and Charlotte, NC and was Director of Congregational Development for the Western NC Conference of the UMC for seven years. He received a B.A. in Religion from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Congregational Development from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He also studied at New College, Edinburgh University, Scotland. Dr. Key received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award from the Western NC Conference of the UMC. He has served on mission trips to Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Currently, he serves on the board of the YMCA ((Robinhood Branch) in Winston-Salem and has served on the Asheboro United Way Board and the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Western NC Conference. He and his wife, Joy Anderson Key, have two adult children.

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