BGAV 200th Anniversary Souvenir Book: "Called to Be"

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“Called to Be…” A Celebration of 200 Years of the Baptist General Association of Virginia 1823–2023

Presented at the 200th Annual Meeting of the BGAV November 13–15, 2023 Richmond, VA

About the Cover Illustration… Pictured on the cover is an artist’s depiction of the first meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The illustration is by Sidney E. King, a renowned artist of historical scenes whose studio was in Caroline County, Virginia. He painted the 36 panels in the Virginia Baptist History Mural which is on view in the Heritage Gallery of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society in their building on the campus of the University of Richmond. The first meeting was held on Saturday, June 7, 1823 - 200 years ago - at Second Baptist Church, Richmond. The church building had only recently been completed, so the artist chose to show tree stumps and a sawhorse. The attractive brick building with its distinctively curved windows was located at 11th and Main streets in what is today the financial district of downtown Richmond. In 1840 the congregation erected a larger and more imposing building; and in 1845, the original building was dismantled and the pieces moved and reconstructed at Central Garage in King William County where it is used today by the Sharon Baptist Church. Fifteen of the 21 elected delegates were present for the first meeting of the General Association. In addition, eleven brethren came and were invited to take seats. Out of a total of 26 men present, there was only one layman in attendance.

Robert Baylor Semple was elected moderator and William Todd, clerk. Edward Baptist wrote the constitution for the new Baptist organization. Semple preached the first sermon from the text of Hebrews 13:16: “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The artist showed Semple in the doorway, calling the men for the meeting to begin. Edward Baptist is shown at the sawhorse, at far left, discussing the constitution with William Todd, who is by his side. The three men conversing are: (left to right) Luther Rice, the pioneer missionary, talking with the two men who will be appointed as the first state missionaries, Daniel Witt, in the middle, and Jeremiah Bell Jeter, at the right. Two unidentified delegates are in the background. Pictured in the lower part of the cover are the officers and servant leaders in the BGAV in its 200th anniversary year of 2023. They are shown gathered in front of the Virginia Baptist Resource Center at 2828 Emerywood Parkway in Richmond, Virginia. Pictured (l-r) are Mark Hughes, second vice-president; Wayne D. Faison, executive director; Brooke Holloway Blake, chair, Virginia Baptist Executive Board; David Washburn, treasurer; Valerie Carter-Smith, executive director/treasurer, Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia; Herbert L. Ponder, president; and Rebecca McKinney, first vice-president.

“Called to Be....” 1st Corinthians 1:2

200th Anniversary Meeting

November 13–15, 2023 Baptist General Association of Virginia Bon Air Baptist Church | Richmond, Virginia

200th Anniversary Committee Herbert L. Ponder, Chair Fred Anderson Scott Curtis Beth Cumbie Fogg Paul Honaker, Music Coordinator Habacuc Diaz Lopez Maria E. Lynn Nancy Stanton McDaniel Esther Shin Valerie Carter Smith Nathan L. Taylor

BGAV Program Committee Scott Curtis, Chair Beth Anderson Brenda Armistead Marco Capayachi Carolyn Demery Helen Foster Wayne D. Faison Stephen Gray Mark Hughes Dianne Jones-Freeman Rebecca McKinney Wyatt Miles, IV Herbert L. Ponder

BGAV Officers, 2023 Herbert L. Ponder, President Rebecca McKinney, First Vice President Mark Hughes, Second Vice President Nathan L. Taylor, Clerk


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From the President… Dear Virginia Baptist Family, It is with tremendous excitement that I welcome you to the 200th Annual Gathering of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. During this meeting we will attend to the necessary and normal business that is a part of our Annual Meetings. In addition to the necessary and normal, we have planned a reflective and inspirational program that will remind each of us of our rich and vibrant history as Baptists in Virginia and the core values that have both informed and sustained our past, and that will take us into the future. We will be reminded of the critical role Virginia Baptists played in advancing religious liberty as well as the intentional efforts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting churches both within the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. We have come a mighty long way over the past two hundred years with the help of our God and with the continued presence of God, our future is bright. From travel on horseback to traveling on trains, planes, automobiles, and the World Wide Web, this is an exciting time to be a Virginia Baptist. I am thankful for the BGAV 200th Anniversary Planning Committee, the Program Committee, and the many others including BGAV Staff that have been instrumental in planning for our time together. I pray that when we conclude our time together on Wednesday evening, you will have been encouraged and inspired to return to your local churches and communities ready to continue the great work of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world ready for some good news. Dr. Herbert L. Ponder BGAV PRESIDENT

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From the Executive Director… Greetings, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God has been so good to our Virginia Baptist family since 1823. Here we are today, celebrating our 200th year anniversary with a Lord and Savior who has been with us every step of the way. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amongst the many things we can say about Him, the one thing we can all be assured of is the fact that God has been faithful to us. As we look ahead to the centuries that lay before us, let’s be encouraged to carry forth our divine calling “to advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom”. It has taken centuries for us to get to where we are today, but according to Philippians 1:6, we should remain confident that He who began a great work in us will continue it until it’s completed. We should be excited to join God on this divine path from beginning to end and from start to finish. Our theme for this momentous occasion is “Called to Be.” As I think about this theme, I’m reminded of how as children, my grandmother used to ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up. We had so much fun dreaming about all the possibilities that our future held for us. According to Psalm 41:13, we serve a God who reaches from everlasting to everlasting. Therefore, our 200 years of existence should be viewed through the lens of a childlike faith towards a future filled with amazing possibilities and joyous dreams. Virginia Baptists, let’s continue to celebrate God today, tomorrow, and forever more. Dr. Wayne D. Faison BGAV EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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From the Treasurer… I find it humbling and exciting to be part of the leadership team standing on the threshold of 200 years of BGAV ministry. The 1823 vision our forefathers and foremothers cast at Second Baptist Church, Richmond to start churches, share the Gospel, and “advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom” established an inspiring and challenging trajectory. That vision has empowered us to lean into the Holy Spirit’s leadership for 200 years. As gospel-centric people with a heart for the “not yet”, our resolve and commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment will continue to be at the forefront of our historic values and innovative practices of engaging Virginia, North America, and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I extend greetings to all who have come to participate in this historic annual meeting. We will spend these next few days remembering and celebrating our past, while also anticipating and embracing the future that is unfolding before us. I am thankful for the privilege of serving as your treasurer the past ten years and seeing firsthand the generosity of your spirit in sacrificially sharing your resources, as we partner together as a missionary movement to unleash the power of the resurrected Christ for the renewal of all things. Welcome to Richmond for the 200th Gathering of the BGAV! Yours in Christ, David B. Washburn BGAV TREASURER

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November 13, 2023



Ministry Fair | 12:00–4:45 p.m.

Music: The Gathering Praise Band from Bon Air Baptist Church; Virginia Agape International Church Choir from Springfield, VA

Registration | 12:00–4:45 p.m., 6:15–7:00 p.m.

Special Gatherings: • Pastor’s Conference | 12:30–3:00 p.m. • Latino Fellowship | 2:00–3:00 p.m. • Impact Missions Luncheon | 12:00–3:00 p.m. • Next Gen Track | 1:00–6:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Prelude | The Gathering Praise Band from Bon Air Baptist Church

7:00 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions Theme Interpretation

Breakout Sessions | 3:15 p.m.

BGAV Story (Part 1) Congregational Singing Special Music | Virginia Agape International Church Choir Message | Brooke Holloway Blake Theme Hymn 8:30 p.m.

Benediction | Rose Mary Stewart Postlude | Bob Ford

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November 14, 2023

TUESDAY MORNING Presiding: Herbert Ponder Music: Worship Band from Primera Iglesia Bautista Maranatha, Culpeper, VA; Anniversary Festival Choir from Richmond Registration Open | 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Ministry Fair Open | 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. 8:30 a.m.

Prelude | David Hill and Betty Robertson, Piano Duo

8:45 a.m.

Call to Order | Herbert Ponder Welcome / Prayer | John Upton Program Committee Report | Scott Curtis Special Music | Worship Band from Primera Iglesia Bautista Maranatha Presentation of Souvenir Journal | Fred Anderson BGAV Story (Part 2) BUSINESS SESSION Report of the Clerk | Nathan Taylor Report of the Committee on Boards and Committees | Mark Mofield Nominations for the Committee on Boards and Committees | Herbert Ponder Report of the Treasurer | David Washburn

Report of the Virginia Baptist Executive Board | Brooke Holloway Blake Actions of the Board | Brooke Holloway Blake Resolutions of Appreciation | Wayne Faison 2024 Budget Presentation | David Washburn Miscellaneous Business INTERMISSION Special Music | Anniversary Festival Choir Executive Director’s Report | Wayne Faison Special Music | Anniversary Festival Choir Message | Fred Anderson Theme Hymn Benediction | Noel Schoonmaker Postlude | Paul Honaker

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TUESDAY AFTERNOON Special Gatherings: • Uptick Alum Luncheon | 12:00–1:30 p.m. • Leland Seminary Luncheon | 12:00–1:30 p.m. • Averett Alumni Luncheon | 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. • Next Gen Leader Lunch | 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. • Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry Dinner | 5:00 – 6:45 p.m. • African American Fellowship of Virginia Dinner | 5:00–6:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

3:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

TUESDAY EVENING Presiding: Herbert Ponder Music: Handbell Choirs from First Baptist Church, Richmond; Grandin Court Baptist Church from Roanoke; and Bon Air Baptist Church; Virginia Baptist Male Chorale and Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale 6:30 p.m.

Prelude / Music for Worship | Handbell Choirs

7:00 p.m.

Welcome / Introductions | Herbert Ponder Congregational Worship Special Music | Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale and Virginia Baptist Male Chorale BGAV Story (Part 3) Offering Offertory Anthem | “To Love Our God” Virginia Baptist Male and Women’s Chorales Message | Robert Smith, Jr. Anniversary Anthem | “The Same Christ Calls” Virginia Baptist Male and Women’s Chorales and Handbell Choirs Theme Hymn Benediction | C. Diane Mosby Postlude | Grant Frederick

8:30 p.m.

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BGAV 200th Birthday Party

November 15, 2023



Presiding: Herbert Ponder

Host: Herbert Ponder

Music: Community Voices, The Millers, and Phillip Brown

Music: Annesto Younger and Rachel Pierce

Registration Open | 8:00–10:00 a.m. Ministry Fair Open | 8:00–10:30 a.m.

6:15 p.m.

Prelude | Rachel Pierce

6:30 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions | Herbert Ponder

8:30 a.m.


Opening Prayer | Samuel Tamayo

8:45 a.m.

Call to Order

Congregational Worship | Rachel Pierce

Scripture and Prayer | Herbert Ponder

Reflection and Beyond | Herbert Ponder

Special Music | Community Voices

Special Music | Annesto Younger

BGAV Story (Part 4)

Challenge | Wayne Faison

Congregational Worship

Closing Remarks and Prayer | Herbert Ponder


Benediction | Stephen Adkins

2024 Budget Approval | David Washburn

7:30 p.m.

Postlude | Annesto Younger

Report of the Resolutions Committee | Darrell Foster Election of the Mission Council Vote on Proposed Amendment to BGAV Constitution/Bylaws Election of BGAV President Election of BGAV First Vice President Election of BGAV Second Vice President Election of BGAV Clerk Election of Executive Board | Rachel Pierce Election of Executive Board Chair | Rachel Pierce Recognition of Standing Committee Chairs | Herbert Ponder Recognition of Retiring Executive Board Members | Wayne Faison Recognition and Prayer for Leadership | Wayne Faison INTERMISSION Special Music | The Millers MEMORIAL SERVICE Introduction | Bryon LePere Scripture | Jim Collie and Rusty Mullins Memorial Video Prayer | Darrell Mayo Special Music | Phillip Brown Special Recognitions | Wayne Faison Message | Wayne Faison Closing Hymn Benediction | BGAV President Elect Postlude | Cheryl Van Ornam

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JR Woodward V3 is the church planting arm of the BGAV, but we do more than that do serve BGAV churches. V3 can help leaders and churches embody a grounded spirituality, a missional theology, and a movement ecclesiology. In this session, we invite you to discover more about what V3 has to offer you and your church!


Welford Orrock Throughout scripture and the history of the church, young adults have played a vital role in advancing the mission of God and challenging the family of God to adapt and explore new expressions of God’s redeeming work in the world. Churches today need young adults, and young adults need the church. What does it look like for us to better love, encourage, and equip young adults in their faith journey—and to release them to exercise their gifts for the Kingdom of God? This session will focus on specific ways our church communities can bless young leaders in their calling and receive the blessings they have for us.


Greg LeMaster, Richard Woody, and John Vincent The last few years have brought about tremendous changes, both in congregational life and in society overall. Many of these changes have made the long-standing practices of church ministry no longer effective at engaging the communities outside our walls. We are now in an era when we cannot assume people will come to church, even with our best efforts and intentions. We need to reposition our congregations to focus more on going out into our communities as missionaries, seeking to give witness to the gospel—taking the church Jesus loves closer to the people Jesus loves. In this session, we will give practical examples and pathways that everyday churches can use to start various kinds of fresh expressions of church: from dinner churches, to special-needs communities, to house churches, and even more! As a bonus, every participant attending this workshop will receive a free copy of the ground-breaking book, Contextual Intelligence, by Leonard Sweet.


Sara Hubble and Valerie Carter Smith God loves all of us just the same, but we live in a world where race and ethnicity separates one from the other. Learn how to address racial and ethnic conflict through healthy conversations. S.P.A. (Share, Pray, Act) is mission action towards racial reconciliation. Become acquainted with the S.P.A. curriculum and resources to help your congregation further build the kingdom of God by tearing down the walls that separate us.


African-American Fellowship of Virginia Sponsored by the African-American Fellowship of Virginia, this breakout will discuss issues which churches face (financial, staffing, and volunteer resources), in addition to various social issues with a focus on how to minister to those who are present.

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Mark Tidsworth Many churches and their leaders are hearing the call to transformation inherent in life disruption events. With a growth mindset and forward leaning spiritual posture, churches turn volatile events into exceptional transformation opportunities. Yet this kind of robust transformation doesn’t happen by accident. There are too many dynamics at play to leave our spiritual growth to chance. Instead we need an intentional, proactive process to guide us toward integrating our innovation and adaptation. These three breakouts are based on Mark Tidsworth’s book, ReShape: Emerging Church Practice in a Volatile World. Participants will learn key aspects of Pinnacle’s ReShape Transforming Church Initiative. Session 1: The Five Active Dynamics Every Church Must Address As our world becomes more of a VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), Christ-followers and churches are looking for God’s calling within the volatility. In order to move ahead in proactive mission, there are five dynamics churches must address in order to pursue transformation.


Tim and Tasha Levert Are you interested in equipping your children and students with the tools to engage in more positive actions and reduce negative behaviors? Imagine if their academic performance improved, and their at-risk behaviors decreased. Join us for an enlightening workshop where we explore the transformative work of the Search Institute and delve into the 40 Developmental Assets. These assets are essential for the positive development of children and adolescents, fostering resilience, competence, and a sense of purpose. By intentionally integrating these assets into your ministries, you can empower the young people you serve to thrive and succeed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 | 2:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE BOARD AND BUDGET DIALOGUE

David Washburn and BGAV Executive Board Do you have questions for the BGAV Executive Board about the proposed changes to the BGAV Constitution and Bylaws, and/ or about the 2024 budget? Come meet with BGAV leadership for discussion and dialogue.

A CONSISTENT WITNESS FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: VOICES FROM THE PAST BGAV Religious Liberty Committee Watch reenactments performed by Charles Reese (Drama Professor at Bluefield University) of excerpts of two notable speeches by Dr J. L. M. Curry (1873) and Dr. George McDaniel (1926) on the subject of religious liberty and church/state separation.

The reenactments will be preceded by a short welcome and introduction by RLC Chair Shelton Miles and will be followed by a panel consisting of Amanda Tyler (Baptist Joint Committee), Nathan Taylor (Virginia Baptist Historical Society), and Robert Cochran (Baptist History Professor at Leland Seminary), who will discuss the historical significance and contemporary relevance of the speeches presented. Join us and find out how you can continue the BGAV’s consistent witness for religious liberty.


Mark Tidsworth Many churches and their leaders are hearing the call to transformation inherent in life disruption events. With a growth mindset and forward leaning spiritual posture, churches turn volatile events into exceptional transformation opportunities. Yet this kind of robust transformation doesn’t happen by accident. There are too many dynamics at play to leave our spiritual growth to chance. Instead we need an intentional, proactive process to guide us toward integrating our innovation and adaptation. These three breakouts are based on Mark Tidsworth’s book, ReShape: Emerging Church Practice in a Volatile World. Participants will learn key aspects of Pinnacle’s ReShape Transforming Church Initiative. Session 2: Seven Key Practices for ReShaping Church Will your congregation emerge from the volatility of recent years stressed and anxious? Or might your church pursue the transformation opportunities presented to us through volatility in our context? Mark Tidsworth presents the key practices any church can pursue, leading to transformation and missional advancement.


Impact Missions Often, children’s understanding of God is born in their experiences at church. For that and so many other reasons, church needs to be a safe and nurturing environment. Join us for a discussion around ways to protect children from abuse within the church. We’ll talk about practical strategies for analyzing your building’s vulnerable places, simple and non-threatening ways to encourage accountability and safe practices, and ways to identify signs of abuse. Participants will also have the opportunity to schedule a BGAV-sponsored Stewards of Children child sex abuse prevention training for their congregation or association.

Tim Levert Join us for an engaging and interactive session where we explore the limitless possibilities of AI in enhancing and streamlining various aspects of ministry. From optimizing email correspondence and website and social media content, to transforming sermon and Bible study planning, AI has the potential to revolutionize your ministry rhythms, freeing up more time for meaningful connections and caring for people. Through practical examples and hands-on activities, you will gain valuable insights and learn how to effectively harness the power of AI for your ministry. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover the transformative potential of AI in ministry!




Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry Many women, at all ages and stages of life, are discerning and pursuing God’s call to ministry. It is important for the local church to be prepared spiritually, theologically, and practically to help women in this process. Through this breakout session, VBWIM will work to motivate and help equip congregations to affirm, value, and encourage female ministers. We will offer the opportunity to hear personal stories of women who are serving in churches across Virginia in many capacities as well as offer practical ways to foster healthy ministry cultures.

Nick Blevins Next year is right around the corner, and now is a perfect time to create a strategic plan for the next 12 months. In this breakout, you’ll evaluate your current reality and make a plan for what to focus on next year. Whether you are thinking through a strategy for a specific ministry or your entire church, this breakout is for all who are ready to make the necessary changes and want to create a plan to make it happen.


Shannon Kiser Children’s ministry is central to the life of a congregation, but HOW we connect with and disciple families and children is changing as the culture around us changes. In this workshop, we will consider the implications of the changing ministry landscape and consider practical ways we might experiment with new ways of engaging children and their parents with the good news of Jesus.

Matt Thornhill The demographic reality facing most churches is an aging membership. Many lament that they are not attracting young people to church, and their future looks bleak. In this session, Matt Thornhill will share specific steps you can take to “activate” the Boomers already in your pews to grow the church. He’ll explain easy-to-implement strategies and tactics to reach unchurched people of every age in your community, tapping into the resources you have in your building already: Boomers.


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Steve Law Do you have great ideas for enhancing your church’s ministry but struggle with how to fund them? This session will provide specific ways your church can increase revenue and cut expenses, allowing you to focus giving and spending on the areas you want to prioritize. There will also be time for Q&A related to your church’s finances and accounting.


Tom Stocks Deacons are struggling because they may be working off assumptions…and pastors, YOU are too! Let’s have a conversation around expectations that are conscious, spoken, attainable, and agreed upon.


Impact Missions Good question! Our BGAV partners, volunteers, and Impact Missions staff desire to connect with you as we share about opportunities and new horizons in our missional work together. Virginia Baptists are making a difference in the lives of people as they serve locally, nationally, and internationally and you need to hear about it. You also need to know how you and your congregation can thrive as you get involved with these life changing endeavors.


Mark Tidsworth Many churches and their leaders are hearing the call to transformation inherent in life disruption events. With a growth mindset and forward leaning spiritual posture, churches turn volatile events into exceptional transformation opportunities. Yet this kind of robust transformation doesn’t happen by accident. There are too many dynamics at play to leave our spiritual growth to chance. Instead we need an intentional, proactive process to guide us toward integrating our innovation and adaptation. These three breakouts are based on Mark Tidsworth’s book, ReShape: Emerging Church Practice in a Volatile World. Participants will learn key aspects of Pinnacle’s ReShape Transforming Church Initiative. Session 3: Applying the Seven Key Practices, Stories from the Field After a brief overview of the ReShape content, two pastors and one lay leader from Virginia churches engage in a dialogue facilitated by ReShape author Mark Tidsworth regarding the outcomes of ReShape in their churches. We will enlarge the conversational circle during this session, making space for participants to make observations, ask questions, and engage with these leaders.


Habacuc Diaz Lopez Habacuc Diaz Lopez will share information about the Latino Network’s new C.A.M.P. (Creatively Advancing Ministry Preparation) initiative.

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Daniel Dapaah and Ken Pruitt THE CHURCH FORWARD invites pastors and ministry leaders into the narrative of Acts to discover how the apostles’ proclamation reflected God’s work in Christ and through the Holy Spirit for the purpose and vision of the Church. Through this study, pastors, ministry leaders, and lay volunteers will discover ways to lead the church forward in God’s design and purpose through the truth we believe, practice, and proclaim.


Rhonda Pedigo and Lucianne Warren Mental health is a real problem that churches often avoid or ignore. One in five Americans is affected. How many are in your congregation? This session explores the importance of equipping the church, church leaders, and congregation to provide effective and compassionate care to individuals and their loved ones who struggle with their mental health.


Tim Levert In this workshop, participants will learn essential techniques to enhance their communication skills and become more effective disciple-makers. Through a combination of discussion and practical exercises, attendees will discover the power of thorough preparation, the art of interpretation and delivery, and the significance of creating space to engage their listeners on a deeper level and facilitate lasting learning experiences.


Susan Wanderer Today, the reality is church is one of many extracurricular activities for children vying for the attention of our busy families. For many families, gone are the days when families show up at church weekly much less multiple times a week. So now, how will our children be discipled? Join us for a discussion on meeting the modern-day needs and concerns of parents, kids and students. In this breakout, you will explore new ideas on how to help equip parents to be successful in their activities of daily living as they raise their families and follow Jesus.


Nick Blevins Every ministry and every church needs volunteers, and far too many ministries don’t have enough. There are tons of factors that impact volunteer recruitment in your church, both positively and negatively. However, not all of them are equal. Some matter more than others, and in this breakout, we’ll look at 6 of the biggest things you can focus on to boost volunteer recruitment every week, every month, all year long so you can have the team you and your ministry deserve.


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“Called to Be God’s People” Monday, November 13, 2023

Rev. Brooke Holloway Blake finds connecting with people and creation delightful and life-giving. Living into God’s call and paying attention to these things is why she has served as associate pastor for ten years at Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington. This delight is why you might think she’s wandered off when you find her taking a photo of something beautiful or interesting along life’s path. She finds delight in connecting with teens and young adults and letting juices flow in the life of God’s people. She considers that this is a gift which she gets to do in her vocation! The biggest loves of her life (and the most common subject of her photos) is her toddler son, Makai, and her husband, Jason. Brooke’s roots are in her beloved hometown of Uvalde, Texas, and in Howard Payne University and the George W. Truett Theological Seminary. She found a home which she didn’t know she was missing among Virginia Baptists who have fingerprints in her life through Uptick, the Virginia Baptist Executive Board, and many dear relationships. Her weekly refrain is “Christ before, beside, and behind us.”

“Called to Be God’s Servants” Tuesday morning, November 14, 2023

Dr. Fred Anderson is a layman and executive director, emeritus of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. He was the Society’s first full-time executive director and served for 38 years. He enlarged the Society’s library and archives, created a Heritage Gallery with changing exhibits, published resource materials, and even dramatized Virginia Baptist heritage through over 500 sermon monologues as preachers of the past. His favorite character portrayals were as “Dr. Hatcher” and “Elder John Leland”. He was the founding executive director of the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, where he planned convocations on issues of interest to Virginia Baptists, published numerous heritage resources, and began the Heritage Fellows program through which were appointed 25 Virginia Baptist collegiates. For 30 years, he wrote a weekly Virginia Baptist heritage column in the Religious Herald. He is the author of 25 books on Virginia Baptist history including the Virginia Volume in the series “Baptists of Early North America” published by Mercer Press and God’s Stories: An Illustrated History of Baptists in Virginia. For 15 years, he served on the Baptist Heritage & Identity Commission of the BWA. He served 36 terms as clerk of the BGAV. He earned his undergraduate degree at Berry College and master’s degrees in history from the University of West Georgia and library science from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Bluefield College awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. He is a Sunday school teacher of adults and historian for River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond where he and his wife, Nancy, are members.

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“Called to Be God’s Prophets” Tuesday evening, November 14, 2023

Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. is a popular teacher, preacher and writer. His contributions in all three areas have been recognized and honored with awards. He is professor of Christian Preaching and holder of the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University. Previously, he taught preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For 20 years, he was pastor of the New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati. His published works include Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life which in the year it was published was recognized with the Preaching Book of the Year Award; The Oasis of God: From Mourning to Morning; and Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary: Exalting Jesus in Joshua. He brought the closing message of the 22nd Baptist World Congress of the BWA which due to the worldwide pandemic was a virtual event. His research interests include the place of passion in preaching, the literary history of African-American preaching, and Christological preaching. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Dr. Wanda Taylor-Smith.

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Wednesday morning and evening, November 15, 2023

Dr. Wayne D. Faison is the executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. He was elected to the position by the messengers to the 199th BGAV Annual Meeting held last year in Hampton. Dr. Faison previously had served on the staff since November 2001, contributing especially in the areas of AfricanAmerican church development, evangelism, and church planting. At the time of his election as executive director, he was the leader of the Growth/Venture Team as well as the national coordinating officer for BGAV’s Ascent Team. A native of Florida, Dr. Faison and his wife, Carmen, were easily and enthusiastically welcomed into the life and work of Virginia Baptists and have found a home among them. He serves as senior pastor of the East End Baptist Church in Suffolk. Prior to going into the gospel ministry, he worked in the banking field. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree as well as a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also earned a “mini-MBA” from the University of Richmond.

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Program Personnel Stephen Adkins | Chief, Chickahominy Tribe; Member of Samaria Baptist Church, Providence Forge, VA Fred Anderson | Member of River Road Church, Baptist, Richmond, VA Barbara Bareford | BGAV Assistant Clerk; Member of Saluda Baptist Church, Saluda, VA Brooke Holloway Blake | Chair, BGAV Executive Board; Associate Pastor of Youth and Media, Memorial Baptist Church, Arlington, VA Jim Collie | Member of Wise Baptist Church, Wise, VA Scott Curtis | Chair, Committee on Program; Senior Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church, Farmville, VA Wayne Faison | Executive Director, BGAV/Ascent; Senior Pastor, East End Baptist Church, Suffolk, VA Darrell Foster | Chair, Committee on Resolutions; Member of King’s Grant Baptist Church, Virginia Beach, VA Mark Hughes | BGAV Second Vice President; Senior Pastor, West End Baptist Church, Dinwiddie, VA Bryon LePere | Senior Pastor, Gayton Baptist Church, Richmond, VA Gary Long | Chief Marketing Officer, BGAV/Ascent, Henrico, VA Darrell Mayo | Member of Smithfield Baptist Church, Smithfield, VA Becky McKinney | BGAV First Vice President; Member of Chatham Heights Baptist Church, Martinsville, VA Mark Mofield | Chair, Committee on Boards and Committees; Senior Pastor, Melrose Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA C. Diane Mosby | Senior Pastor, Anointed New Life Baptist Church, Henrico, VA Rusty Mullins | Member of Gayton Baptist Church, Richmond, VA Rachel Pierce | Member of the BGAV Virginia Baptist Executive Board; Member of First Baptist Church, Ashland, VA Herbert Ponder | BGAV President; Senior Pastor, Mount Tabor Baptist Church, Richmond, VA Robert Smith, Jr. | Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, AL Noel Schoonmaker | Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Richmond, VA Rose Mary Stewart | Member of First Baptist Church, Ashland, VA Samuel Tamayo | Pastor, Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, Alexandria, VA Nathan Taylor | BGAV Clerk; Member of River Road Church, Baptist, Richmond, VA John Upton | BGAV Executive Director Emeritus; Interim Preacher at Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond, VA David Washburn | Treasurer, BGAV/Ascent; Member of Second Baptist Church, Richmond, VA

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Music Personnel Anniversary Festival Choir | Richmond, VA; Steven Thomason, Director; David Hill, Organist; Betty Robertson, Pianist Phillip Brown | Huguenot Road Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Associate Pastor for Worship, Music, and College Ministries; Soloist Community Voices | Annesto Younger, Director; Joseph Robinson, Pianist Stuart Condra | Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Worship Pastor Gathering Praise Band | Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Katherine Phillips, Director Paul Honaker | River Road Church, Baptist, Richmond, VA; Organist First Ringers | Richmond’s First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Ruth Szucs, Director Robert Ford | Huguenot Road Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Organist Grant Frederick | Bonsack Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA; Organist GCBC Ringers | Grandin Court Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA; Melissa Fox, Director Piano Duo | Derbyshire Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; David Hill and Betty Robertson Rachel Pierce | First Baptist Church, Ashland, VA; Soloist Primera Iglesia Bautista Maranatha | Culpeper, VA; Ana Luisa Macias de Diaz, Director The Coventry Ringers | Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond; Shari Schneider, Director The Miller Family | Bill Miller, Choral Director, Berea Baptist Church, Rockville, VA; Alan Miller, Pastor, Orange Baptist Church, Orange, VA; and Brent Miller, Second Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; David Schwoebel, Pianist David Schwoebel | Composer of Sacred Music, Richmond, VA; Pianist Cheryl Van Ornam | Richmond’s First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Organist Virginia Agape International Baptist Church Choir | Springfield, VA; Kyungdong Min, Director and Sooyoun In, Pianist Virginia Baptist Male Chorale | Barry Green, Director; David Hill, Pianist; Grant Frederick, Organist Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale | Carol Hill, Director; Melissa Fox, Pianist Annesto Younger | Fairfield Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; Soloist

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BGAV 200th Anniversary Anthem “The Same Christ Calls” Words by Terry W. York and Music by David Schwoebel Dedicated to the Baptist General Association of Virginia which on its 200th Anniversary in 2023 continues to fulfill its constitutional objective to “advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom”. The Anniversary Anthem was gifted by the following: Allen and Charlotte Brown, Fred and Nancy Anderson, Paul and Linda Honaker, Tom and Peggy Ingram, the Virginia Baptist Male Chorale and the Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale.

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Dr. Terry W. York wrote the words to the BGAV 200th Anniversary Anthem, The Same Christ Calls. He retired in 2023 after 25 years as professor of Christian Ministry and Church Music at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He earned his B.A. from California Baptist College and the Master of Church Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He served in the Church Music Department of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) and his duties included coordinating The Baptist Hymnal. He has published more than 40 hymns including Worthy of Worship. He has published more than 80 choral anthem texts. He is the author of Let Our Words Become Flesh. David Schwoebel composed the music for the Anniversary Anthem. He earned a B.A. in voice and organ performance as well as the Master of Church Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a prolific composer of sacred music and has produced over 200 publications in 29 different publisher’s catalogs. For over 22 years, he was minister of music/composer in residence for Derbyshire Baptist Church, Richmond. Dr. Carol Wilson Hill is director of the Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale. A native of Lynchburg, she is a graduate of Lynchburg College and earned her Master’s degree in Choral Music as well as a Doctor of Music Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She also earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal performance at Shenandoah University. She and her husband, David, served from 1986-2002 as missionaries in Brazil through appointment with the International Mission Board, SBC. Carol served as a music missionary. She has served as a minister of music in several churches and currently is an elementary school music teacher in Hopewell. Barry Green is director of the Virginia Baptist Male Chorale. He has served as a minister of music for 40 years including at Northminster Baptist Church, Richmond and 21 years at Bonsack Baptist Church, Roanoke. He is a master of various forms and styles of music and performing arts. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Gardner-Webb University and a master’s degree in Church Music Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Rev. Paul S. Honaker is the Music Coordinator for the BGAV 200th Anniversary Meeting. He is a graduate of Georgetown College in Kentucky and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a master’s degree in church music. For 38 years he was associate pastor of worship and music at Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond. He directed the Jubilation Community Choir for six years and currently is the artistic director of the 80-voice Ovation Chorus, a community chorus for senior adults. In addition to serving as music associate at River Road Church, Baptist, he frequently serves as an organist and choir director for Richmond area churches. Kyungdong Min is the conductor of the Virginia Agape International Church Adult Choir. She was born and reared in Seoul, Korea. She earned Bachelor of Music degrees from the Seoul Presbyterian Seminary and the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For over 46 years, she has served as a music and choir conductor for churches in Korea, Argentina, and the United States. She is married to the Rev. Yong Bok Min, senior pastor of the Virginia Agape International Church, Springfield, Virginia. Steven Thomason has a passion for facilitating worship experiences. In his current role as Minister of Music at Derbyshire Baptist Church, he has the opportunity to lead in worship every week, both on Sunday mornings and in ensemble rehearsals. Previously, Steven led worship for the Traditional Service at First Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. While serving FBC, he had the privilege of leading multiple ensembles and programming the annual “Christmas at First Baptist,” one of the largest Christmas concerts in southeastern NC. Reverend Thomason holds a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music, both from Campbell University, where he worked closely with Dr. Larry Dickens to plan and implement many Chapel services and conferences, including the Oasis and Overture worship music conferences. Steven lives in North Chesterfield with his wife, Anna Moxley, the Minister of Faith Development at Derbyshire, and their dog, Abby. Dr. Annesto H. Younger serves as Executive Minister at the Fairfield Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. She previously served as Minister of Music at Fairfield for 20 years and Coordinator of Music for the Baptist Minister’s Conference Annual Metro Revival for 12 years. Currently, she serves as Coordinator of Music for the Tuckahoe Baptist Association as well as Praise and Worship Leader for the African American Fellowship of Virginia’s Preaching Camp.

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Theme Hymn “We Are Called to Be God’s People” We are called to be God’s people, Showing by our lives his grace, One in heart and one in spirit, Sign of hope for all the race. Let us show how he has changed us, And re-made us as his own, Let us share our life together As we shall around his throne. We are called to be God’s servants, Working in his world today; Taking his own task upon us, All his sacred words obey. Let us rise, then, to his summons, Dedicate to him our all, That we may be faithful servants, Quick to answer now his call. We are called to be God’s prophets, Spokesmen for the truth and right; Standing firm for godly justice, Bringing evil into light. Let us seek the courage needed, Our high calling to fulfill, That mankind may know the blessing Of the doing of God’s will.

ABOUT THE THEME HYMN “We Are Called to Be God’s People” was written by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Albert Jackson when he was pastor of the McLean Baptist Church in Virginia. In a newspaper interview, he once recalled that the words came to him “in a matter of minutes” while the AUSTRIAN HYMN tune by Franz Joseph Haydn was in his mind. Dr. Jackson considered that his hymn reflected what he believed was the theme of the Bible. Written in 1973, the hymn was published in the Baptist Hymnal (1975) and in Baptist hymn books in other countries. Dr. Jackson served as a member of the Virginia Baptist General Board, BGAV and as president of the Virginia Baptist Pastor’s Conference. He also served on the Ethics Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. From McLean, he was called as pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church in North Carolina. Dr. Jackson was a graduate of the University of Richmond, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University. He also taught Old Testament at Campbell University.

“We Are Called to Be God’s People” words by Thomas A. Jackson, music by Franz Joseph Haydn © 1975 Broadman Press Used by Permission. CCLI License #523768

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Musical Guests

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November 13, 2023

November 14, 2023



The Gathering Praise Band of Bon Air Baptist Church

Piano Duo by David Hill and Betty Robertson | 8:30 a.m.

Virginia Agape International Baptist Church Adult Choir

8:45 a.m. | Culpeper, VA | Ana Luisa Macias de Diaz, Director

6:30 p.m. | Richmond, VA | Katherine Phillips, Director

7:00 p.m. | Springfield, VA | Kyungdong Min, Director

Primera Iglesia Bautista Maranatha Worship Band

Anniversary Festival Choir

10:30 a.m. | Steven Thomason, Director


Virginia Baptist Male Chorale 7:00 p.m. | Barry Green, Director

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November 15, 2023


Virginia Baptist Women’s Chorale

The Community Voices

First Ringers from Richmond’s First Baptist Church

The Miller Family | 10:30 a.m.

7:00 p.m. | Dr. Carol Hill, Director

6:30 p.m. | Richmond, VA | Ruth Szucs, Director

Coventry Ringers from Bon Air Baptist Church

6:30 p.m. | Richmond, VA | Shari Schneider, Director

8:30 a.m. | Rev. Dr. Annesto Younger, Director

(l-r) Brent Miller, Bill Miller, and Alan Miller; David Schwoebel, Pianist

Phillip Brown | 10:30 a.m. Soloist | Huguenot Road Baptist Church | Richmond, VA

Handbell Choir from Grandin Court Baptist Church

6:30 p.m. | Roanoke, VA | Melissa Fox, Director

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Table of Contents An Historical Overview: “Called to Be…”


Addresses for the Ages



“Semi-Centennial” Meeting, “Struggles and Triumphs of Virginia Baptists” by J.L.M. Curry


Centennial Meeting, “The Virginia Baptist Temper and Tradition” by Robert Healy Pitt


125th Annual Meeting, President’s Address by Aubrey H. Camden


“The Church at Work”, President’s Address by Christine B. Gregory


“The Style of Virginia Baptist Tradition”, President’s Address by William Latane Lumpkin


“Just A Layman”, President’s Address by Carl W. Johnson


“Risk the Journey - To Live the Word”, President’s Address by Margaret B. Wayland

A Legacy of Servant Leadership


Servant Leaders


Presidents of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 1823–2023 Virginia Baptist Executive Board, Virginia Baptist Mission Council and BGAV Officers, 2023 BGAV Staff, 2023

Historical Timeline: How Virginia Baptists Have Felt “Called to Be…” Over 200 Years historical survey compiled by fred anderson

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Historical Overview

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“Called to Be...” written by fred anderson

The Baptist General Association of Virginia, 1823 - 2023 “ those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours...” 1 Corinthians 1:2 (NRSV) The Baptist General Association of Virginia began with a vision, continued across two full centuries with new visions, and arrives at its 200th anniversary assured that a vision will bring it to new and expanded ministries and missions for God’s Kingdom and for God’s good future. Across two centuries, year by year, moment by moment individual Virginia Baptists and the collective body of the BGAV have felt “called to be … a people, servants, and prophets.” There also have been a multitude of other callings: evangelists, preachers, missionaries or as Noah Baldwin, a leading figure among 19th century Baptists in Southwest Virginia called it, “missionating”; church planting; establishing

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schools, seminaries, colleges, and universities; teaching; religious journalism; social workers; disaster responders; children and youth ministries; collegiate ministries; prison ministries; creating hospitals; medical and dental ministries; religious freedom advocates; partnership missions; and on and on wherever the Spirit led Baptists. At this historic moment of reaching the 200th anniversary, let us reflect upon how Virginia Baptists felt “called to be…” long before the organizing of the General Association in 1823. Let us remember our past and renew ourselves in expectation of what is yet to be.

Virginia Baptists and the Vision of Religious Liberty


rom the founding of Jamestown, there was an established state religion, the Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church. Virginia’s governing body and the Established Church were one and the same. The state protected and promoted the preeminence of its church and every Virginian was required to support the Established Church and comply with the laws which upheld it.

From their first arrival in the early 1700s, Baptists were usually tolerated; and mainly because “they were viewed by men in power as beneath their notice.” It was commonly thought to “let them alone [as] they will soon fall out among themselves and come to nothing.” But by the mid-18th century, when a rapid increase in their numbers began to gain the attention of the ruling order, persecution happened across a wide swath of eastern Virginia. Virginia Baptist preachers were beaten, whipped and imprisoned for conscience’s sake. Worship services were violated with an intention to quell the Baptist movement. Basic human rights were denied. But the spirits of these dissenters called Baptists remained undefeated. Their preachers met violence with non-violence, believing that “a prison would a palace prove if Jesus dwells with me there.” Their worship services attracted more and more souls eager to receive the Gospel. Their basic human rights were eventually secured by peaceful petitioning and incredible influence; and even more remarkable, they insisted upon those same rights - freedom of conscience, full religious liberty - for all persons of all faiths or even no faith. To win those victories, Virginia Baptists - some known as Separate Baptists, some called Regular Baptists - organized. First, the scattered independent churches voluntarily joined hands through associations. In time, these became known as “district associations''. The early associations, through their meetings, developed a sense of community among the Baptist churches and often shaped early Baptist identity through debates and “circular letters” on various questions and queries. On the local and state levels, they were influencers as regards securing religious freedom for everyone. The first Baptist association for Separate Baptists was Sandy Creek (1758) in North Carolina which included the early Separate Baptist churches in Virginia. The first Baptist association founded in Virginia was Ketocton, organized in 1766, by Regular Baptists in Northern Virginia. Kehukee in eastern North Carolina was organized by 1765; and in 1772 it began admitting both Separate and Regular churches in southeastern Virginia. The instinct for fellowship and cooperation was sparked among Virginia Baptists; and in rapid succession 16 additional associations were organized before the close of the 18th century. In May 1771, the General Association of Separate Baptists in Virginia was formed at Blue Run Church in Orange County and an eyewitness estimated that between four and five thousand persons were present for the Sunday preaching. Churches and associations circulated petitions to redress grievances: to allow marriages performed by dissenters to be recognized by law and to remove the vestry law which

permitted the Anglicans to levy and disburse taxes for poor relief which meant taxation on all, including dissenters, without any representation. The General Association of Separate Baptists recognized that the Baptists, as stated by the first Virginia Baptist historian, Robert Baylor Semple, “could not make head against their powerful and numerous opponents, with any hope of success, unless they were united among themselves.” Semple continued: “In order for all to be of one mind…it was necessary they should all assemble. For these reasons, the General Association of Separate Baptists was kept up, as long as it was. Finding it however, considerably wearisome to collect so many from such distant parts, and having already secured their most important civil rights, they determined to hold only one more General Association, and … to keep a standing sentinel for political purposes.” The last meeting of the General Association of Separate Baptists was held in October 1783. The “standing sentinel” envisioned by the General Association of Separate Baptists was the General Committee. In 1783 the Baptist General Committee was formed, according to historian Garnett Ryland, “as guardian of the rights of Virginia Baptists in the struggle against remaining religious discriminations.” Ryland explained: “While the Revolution had produced a modified religious liberty, it had not settled the fundamental relations of church and state in the Commonwealth and it was yet to be decided whether the Revolution should be carried to its logical conclusion and the separation of Church and State completed.” Semple summarized the benefits of the new order: “Being a small number, [the General Committee] could act more promptly; they would have fewer local matters, and could therefore devote their attention more intently to those of general concern.” He saw it as a unifier of Baptists for a common purpose. A looming purpose was to object to the last stands of the Established Church and to encourage its disestablishment. One of the last hopes of the Anglicans was the Bill for General Assessment for Religion which would have provided a levy on all taxable property for the support of “teachers of the Christian Religion” and for providing places of worship with the provision that taxpayers could designate which “society of Christians” should receive his taxes. It was a plan whereby the Anglicans would have remained the Established Church while the various other “societies” might have been placated by receiving some of the tax money. The General Assessment Bill had support of Presbyterians who previously had cooperated with the Baptists in the attempt to change the laws respecting religion. Only the Baptists opposed the assessment. For them, they wanted disestablishment and all religions to be on an equal basis without government aid except in protecting their just rights. James Madison led the opposition to the General Assessment Bill with his “A Memorial and Remonstrance.” Madison’s statement was so important to the course

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of religious liberty for dissenters such as the Baptists that Robert Baylor Semple included the document in its entirety in the history of Virginia Baptists published in 1810.

from Orange for the Virginia Convention, in opposition to ratification of the Constitution as written, and, therefore, as a candidate against Madison, who favored it.

Baptists joined the chorus of petitioners who opposed the Bill. In August 1785, the General Committee met and resolved: “That it be recommended to those counties, which have not yet prepared petitions to be presented to the General Assembly against the engrossed bill for a general assessment for the support of the teachers of the Christian religion, to proceed thereon as soon as possible: That it is believed to be repugnant to the spirit of the gospel for the legislature thus to proceed in matters of religion; that the holy author of our religion needs no such compulsive measures for the promotion of his cause; that the gospel wants not the feeble arm of man for its support; that it has made and will again through divine power make its way against all opposition; and that should the legislature assume the right of taxing the people for the support of the gospel it will be destructive to religious liberty.”

Leland had ten objections to the proposed Constitution with the chief one being no guarantee of religious liberty, a crucial matter which should not be left to the whims of politicians. A story of long standing states that Madison met with Leland over the preacher’s objections; and the Baptist preacher was so convinced that Madison would work to amend the Constitution with an inclusion of religious freedom that he publicly endorsed Madison before a large outdoor assembly at Gum Spring in Orange County. And therein lies the assertion that Virginia Baptists helped secure the First Amendment with its guarantees of their most cherished hopes.

Reuben Ford of Goochland, an eloquent speaker and gifted writer, was frequently called upon by the General Committee to deliver the views of the Baptists to the legislature. In the protest over the Bill of General Assessment, Ford let the Baptist position be heard: “The Church of Christ is not of this world. … They cannot see on what defensible principles the Sheriffs, County Courts and public Treasury are all to be employed in the management of money levied for the express purpose of supporting teachers of the Christian Religion.” Ford maintained that the state should not “compel men to furnish contributions of money to support that Religion which they disbelieve and abhor.” In September 1785, representatives of Baptist churches assembled and adopted a remonstrance against assessment and the incorporation of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Madison wrote his neighbor, Thomas Jefferson, with the news that when the General Assembly met in October, “the table was loaded with petitions and remonstrances from all parts against interposition of the Legislature in matters of Religion.” Jefferson was familiar with the Baptists in his own county of Albemarle; and he was aware of their plight as well as their stand for full religious liberty which influenced his writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. The statute became law in January 1786, thereby establishing the separation of church and state in Virginia. It provided “that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall he be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall he otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion … “ The next challenge was to secure religious liberty in the Constitution of the new Republic. When the General Committee met in March 1788, it considered “whether the new Federal Constitution … made sufficient provision for the secure enjoyment of religious liberty.” The unanimous consensus was that it did not; and John Leland, a member of the General Committee and an influential itinerant preacher who lived in Orange County, came out as a candidate

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The General Committee also tackled the remaining vestiges of a state religion including the issue of vacant glebes. These were houses and farms which were acquired by taxation of the citizens and used as housing and support for the ministers of the Established Church. In many cases, these had become vacant and the Baptists maintained that they were public property “purchased by the People [and] should be put to a public use.” The legislature had given them to the Episcopal Church as the successor to the Established Church of England. In 1794, the General Assembly finally “repealed every prior act that had anything to do with religion” - except Jefferson’s Act for Establishing Religious Freedom - so that the glebe lands were returned to the state. In 1799, the General Committee, realizing that its vision of securing religious freedom had been accomplished, felt that it should dissolve. Yet there remained a need for some loose organization to retain the scattered Baptists and their churches in contact and communication with one another. Therefore, at the last gathering of those involved in the General Committee, a large majority favored the creation of the General Meeting of Correspondence of the United Baptist Associations in Virginia. The overarching principle - “the great jealousy” - of local church and association autonomy gave the General Meeting of Correspondence “almost nothing to do.” One of its founding principles was clear: “This general meeting of correspondence shall have no power to concern with any matter which may have a tendency either directly or indirectly, to infringe the liberties of the associations or churches.” Their primary principle was to “attend to any political grievance involving the rights of conscience, whenever any association may direct them so to do…” They were to correspond among the Baptists regarding matters “to promote the interest of religion, & the harmony of the Baptists.” The vision of the old General Committee was to secure and protect freedom of conscience; and in that, they were highly successful. Religious Liberty was the signal accomplishment of the Baptists of Virginia. For most of the period from the founding of the Republic to the early 20th century, religious liberty was considered secure in the United States. In the 1920s, Virginia Baptists in the BGAV felt compelled to reassert the fundamental right of religious freedom with a “hands-off” message to the Virginia General Assembly regarding compulsory Bible reading in Virginia’s public schools. Robert Healy

Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, and George Whtie McDaniel, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, became leading spokespersons for the traditional Baptist view of separation of church and state. On May 16, 1920, George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, and later a president of the SBC, spoke on “The Baptists and Religious Liberty” to a large group of Southern Baptists on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. In 1936, the Southern Baptist Committee on Public Relations began with an emphasis upon safeguarding religious liberty. The name changed to the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs and, today, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a coalition of several Baptist bodies including the BGAV. In 1948, Americans United for Separation of Church and State was organized and included a larger coalition of religious leaders focused upon religious liberty. In 1956, the BGAV established Religious Liberty as a standing committee “to report annually on the nature and importance of Religious Liberty and the separation of church and state, citing violations in principle and practice, and suggestions for correcting same.” The BGAV Religious Liberty Committee continues today as a watchman for mankind’s most cherished right.

Virginia Baptists and the Vision of Missions


he vision of the new order, the General Meeting of Correspondence, was restricted. Yet a new vision was emerging. It was sparked by the modern missions movement which dates to the English Baptist minister William Carey and his famous sermon in May 1792 from which the immortal lines come: “Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God.” In October 1792, his pleading resulted in the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society. By the early 1800s, news about Carey and other missionaries began to be circulated in America; and the vision of missions at home and abroad began to envelope the Baptists including in Virginia.

The vision was propagated by a visitor. In 1813, Luther Rice, a native of Massachusetts and himself called to be a missionary, made the first of several laborious journeys up and down the Eastern seaboard. He visited Baptist churches and homes, promoting missions. While in Richmond, on October 28, 1813, he organized the first general missions society for Virginia. It was called “The Baptist Mission Society of Virginia.” Two seasons earlier, in the Spring of 1813, the Richmond Female Missionary Society was organized within the First Baptist Church. The following year, women organized a similar one at the Fredericksburg Baptist Church and the movement among women spread across Virginia. Before the founding of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia in 1874, there were 104 individual female missionary organizations across Virginia. In 1814, Rice’s missionary efforts resulted in the first national denominational organization for Baptists in the United States: the General Missionary Convention or, popularly known, as the Triennial Convention since it met in gathered session once every three years. The first meeting was in Philadelphia and a Virginia Baptist was there: Robert Baylor Semple of Bruington Baptist Church in King and Queen County. From 1820 until his death in 1831, Semple was

the president of the Triennial Convention; and anyone who had business with the Baptists of America needed to come to “Mordington,” his home in rural King and Queen County, Virginia, or to his last residence in Fredericksburg. The missions seed had been planted and watered. Rice continued to make trips into Virginia and soon he was promoting not only missions but also denominational communication through a Baptist newspaper as well as education through a school in the District of Columbia led by Baptists. Missions, communication, and education were all part of that early Baptist vision. Rice found encouragement and support from Virginia Baptists of all walks of life. He stayed in homes; and often his hostess would wash and mend his clothes. There also were unexpected gifts of new clothes. He collected funds for missions, the newspaper, and the new college. His journal of 1819-20 remains a Virginia Baptist treasure and it records numerous gifts including “a gold & silver ring” from a Baptist woman in Salem with instructions to sell them for missions, a cash offering from Baptist women in Lynchburg, and even a sacrificial gift of .06 ¼ cents from a “woman of color” for the cause of education. On one of his visits to Virginia, Rice made friends with an engaging young Black minister, Lott Cary. Rice heard Cary preach “at candlelight” in the First Baptist Church of Richmond and loaned him money which Cary soon repaid. In 1821, Cary, along with another Black preacher, Collin Teague, formed in Richmond the Providence Baptist Church and the small congregation left Richmond for Liberia where the church was reconstituted and remains to this day a significant Baptist church. Cary was the first missionary to Africa. He was supported by the Richmond African Missionary Society and the Triennial Convention.

The Founding Vision of the Baptist General Association


hen the General Meeting of Correspondence held its gathering in Charlottesville, only three persons attended! Two of the three were friends: Edward Baptist of Powhatan and James Fife of Goochland. They also had traveled together to Philadelphia to attend a meeting of the Triennial Convention and shared the vision of what can happen when Baptists join hearts and hands in some great cause.

On their way home from the disappointing meeting in Charlottesville, they rode their horses, side by side, and talked. James Fife once recalled that it was somewhere along the banks of the Rivanna River that they caught the vision that a new statewide organization should be organized around the cause of missions and the need for supplying preachers where pulpits were vacant. Before they parted, they determined to share their vision with other ministers and laypersons. In 1822, a last meeting of the General Committee of Correspondence was held and approval was given for the new organization. Edward Baptist drafted a constitution which stated that the new organization’s purpose would be “to advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom” and that it would be known as the General Association, favoring the term

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“Association” which was familiar to English and American Baptists. The constitution also acknowledged local church autonomy. On Saturday, June 7, 1823, the first meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia was held at the new building of the recently organized Second Baptist Church of Richmond, a modest little meeting house which could easily accommodate the fifteen messengers who attended. Among the visitors was someone who already was a friend to Virginia Baptists: Luther Rice. The vision of an organization for Virginia Baptists centered upon missions became reality. The very first piece of business for the Board of Managers of the new organization was to appoint the first two state missionaries who were commissioned to tour Virginia for two years. They were to preach, determine the religious climate of Virginia, and consider where one day Baptist churches might be planted. The two missionaries were promising young preachers from Bedford County Jeremiah Bell Jeter and Daniel Witt - and they took the nickname of the Bedford Plowboys. In 1835, the missions spirit glowed in the hearts of Virginia Baptists when three married couples were set apart for foreign missions through the sponsorship of the Triennial Convention: Henrietta Hall Shuck and Lewis Shuck for work in China; Mary Frances Roper and Robert Davenport to Siam (now Thailand); and Elizabeth Davis and William Mylne to Liberia. It may be surprising to know that two of the women were teenagers: Henrietta was 17 and Frances was 16. They had been classmates. And the weddings of these two couples, the Shucks and the Davenports, were held only two days before their “setting apart” commissioning as missionaries. Risks were plenty and life was hard. Soon after their arrival in Liberia, the Mylnes became ill and Elizabeth died. William returned to Virginia and served as a pastor until his death. Henrietta started the first school for Chinese females and Lewis planted a church. Henrietta died at age 27 following the birth of her fifth child. She was buried in Hong Kong. Lewis returned to America and worked among the Chinese in California. Frances taught children in Siam while Robert operated a printing operation for religious publications in Siamese. When Robert became ill, they returned to America; and after his death, Frances became a writer especially for the WMU. In 1845, with the founding of the Foreign Mission Board of the new Southern Baptist Convention, Richmond became the headquarters of the mission-sending agency; and James B. Taylor, as its first “corresponding secretary” worked tirelessly promoting the cause and receiving potential missionaries. In 1845, Samuel C. Clopton of New Kent County was the first missionary to be appointed by the FMB. Almost immediately, the Board learned of the missionary calling by another Virginian, George Pearcy of Bedford County. In time, Keziah Turpin Clopton and Samuel Clopton and Frances Miller Pearcy and George Pearcy were set aside for mission work in China. Present at the commissioning service held at Second Baptist Church, Richmond was a visitor from China, the missionary assistant of Lewis Shuck, Yong Seen Sang. He was likely the first person from the Orient to visit Virginia Baptist churches.

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The early missionaries were the first of a long and neverending parade of Virginia Baptists who have considered themselves servants of God through a variety of missions both “foreign and domestic”. There were hundreds of state missionaries and numerous colporteurs who distributed Bibles and religious books in isolated places. In time, there were those called as ministry specialists in every imaginable facet of church life - Sunday schools, evangelism, music, missions - employed by the Virginia Baptist Board. These, too, were known as “state missionaries.” “Without a Vision the People Perish” The long history of Virginia Baptists gives story after story of how a vision captured the imagination of a people to overcome obstacles whether they were denominational controversies run amok or economic downturns threatening the very operation of an ambitious Gospel calling or the shifting sands of the larger society. It was the vision of the founders to share the Gospel and “advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom” and this remains the vision in our time of the people of the General Association. It is a vision which has transcended geography so that the General Association in our time can welcome churches of affinity wherever they may be located. It is a vision which has embraced a variety of entrepreneurial mission causes which are poised to serve in an everchanging world. It is a vision which has been energized by “partnership missions” that provides “handson” missions service for volunteers, both laypersons and clergy. It is a vision which reaches hands across denominational lines to those of other names who might partner to bring the Good News of God’s Kingdom. It is an ever-revitalized vision which unites and motivates a people called the General Association.

Addresses for the Ages

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compiled by fred anderson 1873 The BGAV Semi-Centennial Address Dr. J.L.M. Curry On May 29, 1873, the General Association assembled in a Tabernacle erected on the campus of “their school,” Richmond College, which occupied a city block at Grace and Lombardy Streets in downtown Richmond. Messengers and visitors had come from across the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. The BGAV clerk wrote: “The assembly, which was estimated at ten thousand persons, composed of representatives of every denomination, presented to the beholder a scene full of grandeur and inspiration.” For months, Dr. J. Lansing Burrows, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Richmond and head of the Memorial Committee, canvassed Virginia Baptist churches, visiting over 600 churches, promoting the event and raising funds for an endowment and construction of buildings at Richmond College. The goal was $300,000. The school had virtually died in the Civil War and its buildings had been used as a hospital. Its pre-war endowment was worthless. In their postwar poverty, Virginia Baptists gave; and the record book of their gifts showed amounts from 25 cents to $125 and more, sacrificial gifts from a people still recovering from the war’s devastation. In addition, the BGAV desired that a memorial to commemorate the services of early Virginia Baptists in securing the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty be erected on the college grounds. Instead of a monument, a stained glass window - a memorial to the Virginia Baptist ministers who were imprisoned and suffered for conscience’s sake was placed in the college’s Memorial Hall; and in 1955, it was removed to the present site of the University of Richmond and placed in the Virginia Baptist Historical Society’s building which ultimately was the fulfillment of the pledge of a memorial to those Baptists who secured religious liberty for all Americans to enjoy. At the 1873 meeting there was an in-gathering of the offerings as the 50th anniversary gift; and Jeremiah Bell Jeter, who had been appointed as one of the two first state missionaries in 1823, contributed his gift of $1,000. The main speaker for the Semi-Centennial was Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, one of the greatest orators of the age and a professor and author. He was in his second year of serving as president of the General Association. For two hours, he held the vast assembly spellbound; and at one point, he held aloft the lock and key from the Culpeper jail where Baptist ministers were imprisoned for their faith. When he turned the key, a low grating sound was heard; and eyewitnesses said that grown men and women wept. It had only been one-hundred years earlier that Virginia Baptists had struggled to secure mankind’s most elemental right of religious liberty. It is likely that many in that audience knew the stories of the trials and triumphs as they had heard them from their grandparents and great-grandparents. At the conclusion of Curry’s address, Dr. William E. Hatcher,

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known for his gift of “lifting offerings,” proposed that another opportunity be immediately given for those present to give. As baskets were passed, gold watches, jewelry, and cash were added to the fund. Curry spoke with passion and conviction. Without any means of amplification, he had to project his voice over that vast sea of people, each of whom listened attentively to every word. Curry’s address was not published in its entirety but he did produce a summary which follows: “Struggles and Triumphs of Virginia Baptists” A hasty recapitulation of what the Baptists of the Commonwealth - aided in many points by Quakers, Presbyterians, and other good citizens - accomplished, will place in a clear and apprehensible form ‘the connection of the Baptists with the religious history of the State, with special reference to their action in securing for themselves and the people generally perfect religious freedom.’ They obtained for Dissenters the right to preach to the soldiers in the Revolutionary Army without molestation or hindrance. They secured the suspension and afterwards the repeal of the laws for the support of the Episcopal clergy by taxation. They persevered until ministers of all denominations were placed on the same footing in reference to the celebration of the rites of matrimony. After a long and dreadful struggle, they defeated all attempts to tax the people for the support of any religious denomination. They secured the sale of the glebe lands, and the appropriation of the proceeds to public instead of to private ecclesiastical uses. They overthrew the Establishment, severed all connections betwixt the Episcopal Church and the civil government, and achieved the great New Testament principle of Voluntaryism as opposed to discriminations or coercion in religion. They contributed, in no small degree, to the incorporation into the Constitution of the United States of an amendment preventing any possible union of Church and State. Historians are slowly and reluctantly acknowledging the share which Baptists took ‘in shoring up the fallen liberties of England and in infusing new vigor and liberality into the constitution of that country. To them English liberty owes a debt it never has acknowledged; amongst them, Christian freedom found its earliest, and some of its staunchest, its most consistent, and its most disinterested champions.’ Locke, the philosopher, says: ‘The Baptists were, from the beginning, friends and advocates of absolute liberty.’ Sir James Mackintosh says: ‘The Baptists suffered more than any others under Charles II, because they professed the principles of religious liberty.’

In America, more than in England, has their influence been felt. Judge Story, the great lawyer, says: ‘In the code of laws established by them in Rhode Island, we read, for the first time since Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars, the declaration that conscience should be free.’ Soul-liberty is America’s contribution to the art of government, the science of politics. The cardinal features of our Constitution, the fundamental principles of civil liberty, guaranteed therein, were inherited from our British ancestors, Magna Carta, Right of Petition, Acts of Long Parliament, Principles of the Revolution of 1688, habeas corpus, trial by jury, distribution of power into independent departments, etc., all of English origin, furnish the warp and woof of our free institutions. Soul-liberty, embedded in the Federal and State constitutions, was not borrowed. Our governments, National and State, enjoy the proud distinctions of being the only governments on earth where there is no molestation of conscience, and where all enjoy in worship perfect immunity. The facts recited demonstrate that for this principle the world is chiefly, almost exclusively indebted to Baptists. Justice has never been done to the memory of our fathers, by whose wisdom and labours and sufferings a work was wrought in severing Church and State. A century ago, these far-sighted and good men were a forlorn hope in a movement, then denounced by an almost united Christendom, and still questioned by the foremost statesmen of Europe. Since that time, their principles, like leaven, have permeated all who are struggling for the establishment of the only sound basis of government, announced by our Saviour in those memorable words, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.’ No principle ever encountered, for centuries such persistent such malignant opposition - ever had arrayed against it so violently and truculently the passions and prejudices of men, the powers of ecclesiastical organization, the anathemas of Popery, the fierce enginery of governments. John Adams, speaking apparently for his colleagues from Massachusetts, said to the deputation of Baptists and Quakers to the Continental Congress, in 1774, ‘You may as well expect a change in the solar system as that we will give up our Establishment.’ The contest which our fathers began is still a living issue. Recent attempts to introduce an endorsement of Christianity into the Constitution of the United States, show that the principle of ‘hands-off’ is not recognized universally in public sentiment even here. In Great Britain, the dissolution of the union of Church and State is the absorbing question, and will be accomplished only through agitations and convulsions that have not been paralleled since the Revolution of 1688. Bismarck finds the religious complications of the North German Empire more difficult than to conquer Napoleon… The double government of Church and State keeps France in throes, arms Carlists in Spain, threatens to undo the work of Cavour in Italy. Papal Concordants

arrest progress in Austria, and civilization is barred out of Turkey, because the Sultan is the ‘Commander of the Faithful,’ and the Koran is his lawbook. The Centennial Celebration at Philadelphia is to give homage to those who achieved national independence and won our liberties. Is less honor due to men who hold principles in persecution that were not retracted when in power, whose garments are unstained by a drop of blood, who raised in two continents the first voice ever raised for religious liberty, founded the first Commonwealth that ever recognized freedom of conscience? It would not be difficult to prove that Baptists did not ‘stumble’ on this principle. It is of the essence, the basal idea, of their whole creed. … Our principles, by an inexorable logic, necessitate soul-freedom, individuality in religion, absolute personality of all religious duties, a converted membership, inoperativeness of sacraments without antecedent faith, independence of local, separate churches, make it impossible for a Baptist to favor State alliance, or for civil government to be united with the Baptist denomination. This ‘fundamental truth that the religion of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man,’ does not imply or teach unrestrained license, nor the breaking down the enclosures of churches, nor interference with the rights of every organization to hold its members in harmony with the creed. It means no such silly or absurd thing as to claim and believe and practice what one pleases within the fellowship of a society or denomination. Every organization, a Christian church, can insist that its members adhere to the basis of union. This is neither intolerance nor persecution. A Christian church, scripturally constituted, has its membership only of those who give intelligent and voluntary assent to its essential doctrines. No compulsion brings them into union. Preference is the motive that attaches, the tie that binds them together. It is shallowest prudery to claim, after such optional entrance, the liberty bread down rules, create schisms, disrupt organizations. Soul-liberty, in its true significance, is essential to catholicity, and ought to generate broadest and truest charity. While contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; while recognizing our obligation to obey God’s commandments, to do the very thing he has told us, and ‘to do nothing either more, or less, or different from what he has told us;’ while resisting strenuously, the imposition of all unscriptural tests, and any approach to State connection or interference with rights of conscience, Baptists should not emphasize or magnify unimportant differences, nor love their denomination better than their Master, nor build up themselves by cherishing animosities against others, but covet earnestly frequent opportunities of cooperating with the works of faith and labor of love of all who love our blessed Saviour, remembering that the unity of God’s elect is to be perfected only by having ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.’

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1923 BGAV Centennial Address Dr. Robert Healy Pitt For five days, November 12-16, 1923, Virginia Baptists from across the Commonwealth gathered in Richmond to celebrate the BGAV’s Centennial. Most of the day sessions were held at the Second Baptist Church on Franklin Street, which was the near neighbor to the Jefferson Hotel where messengers could stay. The impressive Greek temple with its stately columns still stands; and although the doors are locked and the interior empty, anyone can gaze from the sidewalk and imagine the crowd entering the grand building, thrilled to be present for such a significant occasion. Evening sessions were held at the City Auditorium, a large serviceable brick building along West Cary Street which also still stands and is used by VCU. The midweek session was held on the morning of Wednesday, November 14, at the University of Richmond. Only a decade earlier, with the aid and support of Virginia Baptists, Richmond College had relocated to the Westhampton site in the far west end, at the end of the streetcar line. They occupied a large acreage with a lake - a place which had been a farm and, most recently, an amusement park. On the other side of the lake from Richmond College was a brand new school for women, Westhampton College. Virginia Baptists were proud of “their school” and the University’s administration was pleased to host the session. On the program was an address by Dr. Frederic W. Boatwright, the visionary president of the University who had led the trustees to relocate the institution. The son of a Virginia Baptist minister and himself an active member of a Baptist church, Dr. Boatwright knew “his people” and titled his address “Virginia Baptists in Education - An Appraisal and a Prophecy.” At the conclusion of the session, the University hosted lunch on the campus for 5,000 guests. There were several other addresses across the week including “A Century of Evangelism” by Dr. W. Marshall Craig; “A Century of Church Growth” by Dr. R.A. McFarland; “A Century of Development Among Negro Baptists” by Dr. A.A. Graham Note: Dr. Graham’s address with its history of Virginia Baptist Black Baptists was reprinted by the VBHS in free indeed! published in 2011.) Other addresses were “The Spirit of Missions” by Dr. W.V. Savage; “The Spirit of Prayer” by Rev. E.L. Swift; and “The Spirit of Cooperation” by Dr. Samuel Chiles Mitchell. The annual sermon was delivered by the Rev. J.M. Shelburne, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Danville, and his message was both contemporary for the times and prophetic for the future direction of the General Association. It was “The Adequate Christian World View.” At the opening night session, an historical pageant was enacted. It was entitled “The Mirror of History” and was written by Ruby Buxton and presented by students of the University of Richmond. The ten scenes traced the history of Virginia Baptists from the arrival of the first minister in 1714, through the persecutions of the Baptists, the petitioning for religious liberty, and the introduction of missions through Luther Rice’s visits and the appointment of the first state missionaries at the founding meeting of the BGAV in 1823.

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The address which remained in the hearts and history of Virginia Baptists was given in the evening session on November 17 at the City Auditorium. Dr. Robert Healy Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald and dean of religious newspaper editors in the United States and a champion of religious liberty, delivered what became a landmark address entitled “Interpreting the Virginia Baptist Spirit” and later printed and reprinted under the title of “The Virginia Baptist Temper and Tradition.” Before he began his address, Dr. Pitt recognized those in the audience who had been present fifty years earlier at the Semi-Centennial meeting. Borrowing the same stage prop used by Dr. Curry in the 1873 BGAV address, Dr. Pitt held up the lock and key from the Culpeper jail as well as a brick from the Middlesex County jail in which John Waller, William Webber, and Robert Ware were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Dr. Pitt’s address has been reprinted several times including in Dr. Garnett Ryland’s history of Virginia Baptists and in Dr. Fred Anderson’s illustrated history of Virginia Baptists entitled God’s Stories. Portions have been quoted by Virginia Baptist leaders on numerous occasions. “The Virginia Baptist Temper and Tradition” There is a Virginia Baptist temper. Its characteristic qualities are by no means confined to Virginia, but there is ground for believing that they are found in our denominational history in larger measure, and are maintained with greater steadfastness than elsewhere. We may not be able to define it with complete accuracy, but we recognize it and rejoice in it. It is a tradition of courage: a quiet, faithful, fearless advocacy and defense of truths and principles which they have held to be precious. In those earlier heroic days, when our brethren suffered as well as labored, there was no whining, nor complaining. Their protests against injustice and their pleas for liberty was always sober, clear, restrained. One fails to find any intimation that the men who languished in jails or suffered other punishments ever sought to capitalize them. When they were released they went on their way praising God and preaching the gospel of good will. The great body of our people and their leaders have feared God and have feared no one else. Virginia Baptists have from the beginning cherished and cultivated a denominational consciousness. Theirs is a tradition of denominational self-respect. Even when our folk had to fight for elemental rights they went about it in an orderly way. They have been glad to enjoy the confidence and respect of the whole community, particularly of Christians of other names and communions. They have claimed no superiority in rank over their brethren, but have never been willing to acknowledge any inferiority on their own part. They have not allowed their denominational self-esteem to run into arrogance, or to degenerate into intolerance. A thoughtful Christian courtesy has marked the attitude of our brethren throughout their relations to one another. Our strong men, and there have been many of them, have often differed, sometimes seriously and sharply, about doctrine and duty.

Seldom have they allowed their zealous support of their own views to lead them to forget that the queen of all Christian graces is love. It has been found possible to maintain firmly, to promote steadily, and to press earnestly the great truths of evangelical religion without sacrificing Christlikeness of temper. The atmosphere of this State, so far as our brotherhood is concerned, has never been favorable to the development of doctrinal martinets who demand that we shall all pass in review before them. Even in our own day of doctrinal turmoil our people are thoughtful and considerate, claiming for themselves a reasonable personal freedom and freely granting to others what they ask for themselves. We cannot forbear to express the earnest hope that this quality, with its implications of justice, liberty, forbearance and kindness, may never disappear. A word may be added concerning the cooperative disposition of our people. In their earliest history their individualism was stressed. They were jealous of their personal rights and liberties and looked upon any common organization as a possible encroachment on their personal privileges. Yet, the Christian instinct for fellowship and the recognition of common tasks was buoyant and insubmergible. At length they found a way, and having found it they have walked in it. The Virginia Baptist tradition is one of constancy. A sobriety and steadiness, a loyalty to their brethren and to their own ideals, may surely be found in the history of the Baptists of our State. Our people have not always been swift, but usually they have been sure. Brethren from newer communities than ours would doubtless insist that conservatism is an outstanding feature of our Virginia Baptist life and polity. We would not deny the impeachment if by conservatism is meant the disposition to be taught by experience to be judicious in launching out on uncharted seas. Yet the spirit of adventure has never been lacking in our history. Doctrinal fads and novelties have little vogue among us but we remember that the ancient Word which bids us stand in the old paths also bids us walk. Courage, denominational consciousness, courtesy, considerateness, cooperation, constancy, conservatism. Something is yet lacking. No body of people, certainly no Christian brotherhood, can command our respect if it has not somewhere in its spirit the outward and upward look. The student of our history and life finds running through it a masterful purpose, a temper of conquest. All the records of the long, varied, troubled, joyful years; all that our brethren have achieved under the blessing of God, furnish the point of vantage from which if we are not unworthy of our sires, we shall go on to larger things, to nobler tasks and more enduring achievements.

1948 BGAV President’s Address at the 125th Anniversary Col. Aubrey H. Camden On November 5, 1948, Virginia Baptists convened in Norfolk at Freemason Street Baptist Church for the BGAV’s 125th annual meeting. In the opening session, Col. Aubrey H. Camden, president of the General Association, spoke about the past, present, and future of the BGAV. His title of Colonel came from his role as the president of Hargrave Military Academy, one of the BGAV educational institutions. A native of Bedford County, Camden was a graduate of the University of Richmond and joined the faculty of the Chatham Training School (later known as Hargrave Military Academy) in 1913. Five years later, he was elected to serve as president and remained in that office until 1951. Generations of boys became young men during his presidential service. He was a member of the Chatham Baptist Church and active in the Pittsylvania Baptist Association. He helped establish and served as president of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools; and he also served as president of the Southern Association of Independent Schools. There were present at the 125th anniversary meeting some of the “Old Guard” who had attended the 75th anniversary meeting in 1898. The entire event was bathed in history. Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia presented the BGAV with a commissioned oil portrait of its first president, Robert Baylor Semple. (Today the painting is on view at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society.) “In the Mirror of History”, the historical pageant presented at the Centennial, was updated by Blanche Sydnor White, the missions historian and leader of Virginia WMU, and Mrs. Guy K. Herr. The pageant was staged at the Center Theater in Norfolk by a huge cast in period costumes. The emphasis was on the Virginia Baptist contribution to religious liberty. The meeting was held in the immediate postwar years following the Second World War. Virginia Baptist women had responded through the WMUV to provide relief for European Baptists following the war. They shipped 100,000 pounds of clothing to Italian Baptists and purchased and sent nearly 100 sewing machines to Baptist women in Germany, Austria, and Italy. It was a time for United States military personnel to return home, establish families, and join churches. It also was a time of supply chain shortages and economic rebuilding. Even the BGAV president’s school, Hargrave, had to delay building construction because of lack of supplies and money. The following are excerpts from Col. Camden’s address: It may prove beneficial for us to take an inventory of our Baptist assets. Let us view them from the past, the present, and the future. As a denomination, we have a rich heritage. The pages of Virginia Baptist history are replete with the hardships, sacrifices, sufferings, and accomplishments of those who labored… The deeds and faith of our forefathers are sources of value to us only if we use them as stepping stones to greater achievements. Let us not substitute their

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achievements for our present day responsibilities. It is imperative that we be busy in the Kingdom’s work. Amid their perplexing difficulties and frequent bewilderment, it was their untiring efforts and simple faith that enabled them to accomplish so much. The assets of the past can best serve our generation as a great stimulus to go forward.

to realize the need of deep, abiding convictions. … The hour has come for us to coordinate our own individual conviction with the equally strong convictions of our brethren for the common interests that we have in the advancement of the Kingdom. To this end let us stress the doctrine of the New Birth and the value and competency of the individual soul. …

Let us look at the present. We find much to encourage us. While we are not satisfied with the results, we greatly rejoice that the individual churches, through the leadership of a host of consecrated pastors, … are accomplishing much.

If I understand the Master’s program, He placed great emphasis upon work and service. If our leaders could convince the [members] of our churches that there is an absolute need of their cooperation in so great a program, then they will accept the challenge. … We should speedily realize that a new age is upon us. It is time to launch a challenging program, a program that will convince the [laity] that God’s program is the greatest movement in the world. … God has abundantly blessed us with material resources. At the same time He has also said: ‘Occupy till I come.’ Virginia Baptists need not ask of God more physical power to do the world task that Christ has assigned us. He has already given it. It resides in the host of [persons] who have their names on our church rolls. …

We have every reason to claim the past and present as tangible and valuable assets in making our plans for the future. In a sense the latent power that resides in the lay membership of our churches represents what we might term our ‘intangible assets.’ I would recommend that Virginia Baptists inaugurate a program that will convert these intangible assets into religious activities. While the past and present are important, it is the future to which our generation must look. In this realm we must of necessity give attention to these intangibles. Accomplishments and failures of the past must be considered if we plan wisely for the future. It is a recognized fact that our ladies have a far better understanding of our missionary program than men do, and that through their organized work and vision, they are accomplishing much. While I do not think that we should divide our work, as men versus women, I do feel that our men are far behind the ladies in a realization of our opportunities and responsibilities. … I have endeavored to impress pastors and other leaders with the obligation of challenging this vast group of enlisted men. In order to plan effectively for the future, it is necessary that we give due appreciation and value to those who succeeded despite obstacles. Today we celebrate their progress, but give even greater consideration to the manner and dignity with which they attempted to solve their difficulties. It is what they attempted and did that made them heroes of the faith. While they had visions, and dreamed dreams, it required sacrificial service to lay the foundation for so great a work. I need not remind you that our generation is living in a period of transition. It is almost trite to say that problems are confronting us. Our generation has the opportunity to furnish leadership for readjustment in a chaotic world. Leaders in governments, politics, Business, and social orders do not hesitate to cry aloud for Christian leadership. … Will Virginia Baptists individually and collectively endeavor to furnish the Christian leadership that is so badly needed? … The call is for individuals who will unite under God’s plan of conquest. This is an hour when the rugged individualism that has been our bulwark of strength through the ages should re-assert itself in the lives of each church member. As church members we need

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In the political, business, and social world we are continually confronted with divisions, dissensions, and confusions. In short, we live in a chaotic world. … Christianity is the answer. Although we face barriers and difficulties, this is no time for hysterical defeatism. Instead, this is the opportune moment for caution and careful planning. We must learn to overcome our difficulties, translating them into positive Christian service. Virginia Baptists should welcome the opportunity to dedicate its constituency to a definite and positive Christian program. While there are many things to discourage, there are more to encourage. Let us not spend our time in bickering and criticizing. The day is far spent. It is time for work. It is time for each individual to do his [and her] part. It is time for each church to make its contribution. It is time for our denomination to furnish a wholesome, sober, and truth-bearing program which, in turn, will develop the type of leadership so badly needed in our generation. … It is my hope and prayer that Virginia Baptists may have a clear vision of the task; that we may know our duty and possess courage to attempt great things in our program. Let us understand the task in faith, believing that the same grace God has vouchsafed unto Virginia Baptists during the past 125 years may be our portion if we humbly confess our sins and seek His guidance. With contrite hearts let us approach the tasks that await us.

1983 BGAV President’s Address Mrs. Christine Burton Gregory At the BGAV annual meeting held in November 1982 at the First Baptist Church, Alexandria, Christine Burton Gregory became the first woman elected as president of the General Association. She was nominated and there were no other candidates. The Virginia Baptist presidency was one more in an impressive string of leadership positions for a woman who characterized herself as a “Plain Jane”. She had advanced through the ranks of the Woman’s Missionary Union, serving in her home church - the First Baptist Church, Danville and as WMU director for the Pittsylvania Baptist Association. She served as WMUV Mission Action chairman, 1967–71, president of WMUV, 1971–75, and as the president of WMU, SBC from 1975–81. During her tenure as president of the national WMU, the organization reached a budget in excess of five million dollars and its goals for the two offerings, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, totaled some $70 million. She served as vice president of the SBC, 1981–82, at the height of the Controversy; and was one of two Virginians who served on the SBC Peace Committee which sought valiantly to bring a healing to the relationships within the Convention. Christine Burton was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and she credited her mother, Bessie H. Burton, with setting the example of missions. “She saw to it that we went to the missionary meetings.” In the post-Depression years, her parents sacrificed so that their daughter could attend summer mission camps and participate in all the activities. Christine received her collegiate education at Winthrop College; and while a student, she was active in the Baptist Student Union, serving in a state BSU office. She married A. Harrison Gregory and the couple were active in the First Baptist Church of Danville. Soon after joining the church, they came under the good influences of Marion and L.D. Johnson. The popular pastor and his wife “took us under their wings,” as Christine termed it; and they encouraged the couple to keep an open mind, examining all sides to a question and accepting individuals at odds with their own particular viewpoint. Another pastor, Luke Smith, made a significant impact upon Christine’s life. “He had the capacity to stretch your mind and he could do it without your ever being really aware of it.” Christine Gregory had a short but highly effective tenure on the staff of First Baptist Church, Danville. From 194850, she served as Director of Religious Education. Pastor L.D. Johnson commended the young woman for producing “the best Vacation Bible School the church has ever had.” She touched nearly every area of church life in her staff position; the youth and BTU received her help and the Sunday school reported her “fine job” with educational films, slides, and Christmas activities. Her short-lived staff position showed creativity and vitality for church causes and signaled the future usefulness she would have in Baptist work. She served as president of the church’s WMU, 195759, and of course her state and national offices in Baptist organizations reflected the same level of devotion and duty

which were indicated much earlier in her service as director of the church’s educational programming. As for her own personal goals, she once shared with a reporter for the Baptist Press that she had “never set a personal goal.” “God always has worked in my life for me to do what He wanted without my having to set goals. Most of the things I’ve done I never dreamed I’d do.” She also observed: “Looking back to my earliest involvement in mission action, things like literacy and race relations, I doubt seriously that had I not been involved in WMU I would have been involved in those things.” She encouraged everyone to use their God-given gifts. She often cited 1 Corinthians 14:1 KJV as her favorite Bible verse: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” “It is about the Holy Spirit,” she explained, “asking Him to help you know how to use your gift. Using your gift for the Lord is an important distinction. Too many young women who have realized their power in helping change laws by influencing legislatures aren’t influencing the church to recognize its responsibilities.” Christine Burton Gregory - perhaps as few others - was able to witness Baptist life and work up close and personal from the local church to denominational service. She reflected: “Even at our worst, I am glad that I am a Baptist because I have the freedom to fuss and say and do what I think is right. No one has ever made me feel that [a certain way] is the way I have to believe. As a Baptist I still have the choice of freedom.” “The Church at Work” There are three primary reasons why I am glad that I am Southern Baptist. First, I believe in what Dr. E.Y. Mullins called the mother principle of all religion, soul competency, the right, the privilege and the responsibility of standing before God. The second one is the recognition of the individuality and spiritual gifts in Christ’s body, the Church, and exercised through the most well-balanced mission program in the world. The autonomy of the local church is the third one and the one to which I wish to address my deepest feelings. In this year’s time [as president] I have seen Virginia churches at work. I have seen tiny, very old, rural churches, large metropolitan churches, a very new church dedicating its first building, churches celebrating important milestones [which] called people back to their roots and reminded them once again that they were the baptized body of Christ and were to do His work in the world. Each church was so different from the other and within each church there was such a difference in personalities. Many times I wondered, “How does this body ever come together in community?” and then I remembered that it was the same as in that strange little band that Jesus gathered around Him. There were power plays - “Who shall sit on the right hand?” There were the skeptics, the idealist, the realist and the betrayer. Yet, it was the biggest talker of all who,

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though he seemingly fell the hardest, was the one on whose confession of faith Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not overcome it. As Hans Kung has said, “Since for believers Jesus is the decisive call of God, His final word, His definite revelation from time immemorial, the conviction of the believing community has been: That God will always continue to find faith through this Jesus Christ. That consequently there will always continue to be human beings who come to believe in Him; that there will always continue to be also a community of believers, that is, a Church of Jesus Christ in the broadest sense of the term.” (The Church Maintained in Truth, pgs. 12-13). … Now, what are we [who are] going to go back [from this annual meeting] to Norfolk and Danville and Fredericksburg and Richmond and Alexandria and Bristol and Wytheville and Wise to do? How are we who are the Church going to exercise the freedom for which Christ set us free? We should leave this place never to be the same again.

a senile, unhealthy senior adult population. … It does say that this large segment of our Baptist constituency needs not so much to be entertained but to exercise their gifts in new forms of ministry. In this group are not only lay persons but persons of church-related vocations. With the fragmented families of today’s society, no persons are more badly needed than strong, role-model grandparent images. We’ve heard much about the adopta-grandparent idea but the Baptist senior adult adopting a grandchild would be equally fitting. Grandparents are such strong teachers and affirmers. While the fourth and last challenge is related to our churches, it is almost as a dare that I address my Virginia Baptist fellowship. Are you ready? Let’s do something about the crisis of ministry instead of talk about it 365 days a year! These are a few ideas. 1.

Instead of each of our Baptist colleges and universities having a separate, general pastor’s school each year, I dare you to put your collective heads together and plan highly specialized, highly stimulating training and mentally refurbishing schools planned for a specific age group. Needs do vary by age and by planning together more specific needs could be met.


Sponsor a wide exchange of pulpits by matching associations in Virginia. We need to know each other as Virginia Baptists and only by walking in each other’s shoes can we do this.


Set up a talent “tank” into which church staff people could place their gifts and skills at the disposal of churches other than their own. Many of the needed gifts of these persons could be used for edification and reconciliation. For examples, the older, more mature minister might offer his gift of healing broken spirits and mending church fences.


Provide some quiet, rustic retreat place where the distraught may escape to find new answers and commitments between themselves and God. Surely some good Virginia Baptist lay people could find and underwrite such a haven.

Allow me to present what I consider some of the greatest challenges my and your church face. 1.



Biblical Education. One half of all Southern Baptist churches [in 1983] report an average attendance of less than 70 in Sunday school and two-thirds report an average of less than 100. The challenge says to me that quality education is needed in Bible study on a personal level. Current data shows that there is an increasing lack of knowledge among Americans in basic Bible knowledge. Most of these see no relation with what the Bible says and what it means. (Training teachers surely must be a #1 priority and I do not mean anything but in serious class sessions.) … Vacation Bible School units and specialized materials can be used to cross cultural and economic barriers. Seeing the church in light of the present economy. … We may continue to have a healthy rate for solicitation of funds, but we need more neighborhood churches doing the whole ministry of Christ. Economics must be tied in with social concerns, if the church is to be the body of Christ in the community. … The church must furnish religious education that is practical in its application - therapeutic; that the need for professionally trained Christian counselors, at least on a part-time basis, is a must on church staffs and that no assumption must be made that my church does not have abused children and/or hostile parents. Parenting classes from marriage forward may help reverse present day trends. The Graying Revolution. Seeing that four million persons, age 65 or older, are living in poverty or spending $300 billion in health care in 1982 does not mean that we have

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In the words of another layman, an Old Testament character in II Chronicles 20, Jahaziel, I remind us and our churches - “The Lord says that you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this large army. The battle depends on God, not on you.”

1984 BGAV President’s Address, 161st Annual Meeting Dr. William Latane Lumpkin In November 1984, when Dr. William Latane Lumpkin delivered the president’s address before the BGAV annual meeting, the General Association was experiencing the moaning and groaning of the wrenching SBC Controversy which would only intensify in the following years. There was a long and standing tradition of the president delivering an address at each annual meeting. The addresses often reviewed the issues of the times, set the tone for the meeting, and projected a vision for going forward. Dr. Lumpkin skillfully created an address which spoke to the uneasy times of a fractured denomination. As a well-known and highly-respected scholar of denominational history, Dr. Lumpkin’s understanding of the Baptists captured the attention and interest of the audience. As a seasoned minister who had served in many denominational roles, Dr. Lumpkin’s knowledge of the Baptists was unquestioned. William L. Lumpkin was a native son of the Northern Neck of Virginia, born at Irvington; and as the son of a waterman, he was a man of the people. As a scholar and published historian, he was at home in academia. He was a graduate of the University of Richmond, Class of ‘37, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Master of Theology. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh where he returned with a pleasant, distinct speaking voice which was a unique combination of Olde Virginia and a Scottish brogue. He served the country churches of Holland and South Quay in the Blackwater Association and as pastor of Manly Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington. He taught religion at his alma mater, the University of Richmond, 1948-49, and at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1954-59. He became pastor of Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church, Richmond; and his crowning pastorate was at Freemason Street Baptist Church, Norfolk. He also taught at Old Dominion University and the Budapest Baptist Seminary in Hungary. Dr. Lumpkin was a prolific author. Two of his landmark treatises were Baptist Foundations in the South which traced the Separate Baptist influence in the 18th century and Baptist Confessions of Faith which gathered numerous early Baptist confessions. For the BGAV’s Sesquicentennial, Lumpkin and a fellow minister-historian, John S. Moore, wrote a significant and captivating historical overview entitled Meaningful Moments. In addition, the Lumpkin pen wrote several church and district association histories. Lumpkin was a denominationalist. He served as a Virginia representative on the Historical Commission, SBC. He served as a president of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and a contributor to its annual journal. He served 14 terms as clerk of the BGAV, as its first vice president, and, in 1984, as its president. The President’s Address delivered by Lumpkin built upon the one delivered in 1923 by Dr. Pitt, concerning the distinctives of Virginia Baptists, and Lumpkin offered

a further assessment of the Virginia Baptist Tradition in the latter half of the 20th century. It, too, was an address for the ages. The Style of Virginia Baptist Tradition At the Centennial of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in 1923, Dr. Robert H. Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, delivered an historic address on ‘The Virginia Baptist Temper and Tradition.’ In that address Dr. Pitt characterized the Virginia Baptist tradition as being a tradition of courage, of denominational consciousness, of thoughtful Christian courtesy, of cooperative disposition, of constancy, of conservatism, and of ‘masterful purpose.’ He held that while Virginia Baptists had by no means exclusive claims on these characteristics, they held them ‘in larger measure’ and maintained them with ‘greater steadfastness’ than others. That was the picture some 60 years ago, but what of Virginia Baptists today? Have they continued as the same people? To be sure, powerful forces have played upon them, powerful enough to have changed their character. As life has grown more complex and the mobility of people has greatly increased, external influences have reached and affected this constituency. … It may be profitable for Virginia Baptists to ask once more who they are and to inquire of the style of their culture and tradition… It may not be necessary for us to pass over or to deny items in Dr. Pitt’s list of qualities belonging to the Virginia Baptist temper and tradition, but we would state our understanding in terms consistent with the speech and thought life of the fourth quarter of the 20th century. Perhaps our statement will gain strength, also, if it is made after an antithetical rather than a simple narrative style. Without claiming to exhaust the subject, we seek to illustrate it in five points. 1.

Virginia Baptists are loyal to the Bible, but they are open to truth from any source. The Bible for Baptists is the touchstone of truth. The Baptist faith is solidly based upon the Scriptures. Indeed, it was the New Testament which dictated and guided the Baptists in their thoroughgoing reformationism of the 17th century. It was the New Testament which made them radical reformers. The earliest Baptist confession of faith to speak definitively on the subject of the authority of Scripture was the London Confession of 1644. It declared, in its seventh article, that the ‘Rule’ of our ‘Knowledge, Faith and Obedinece, concerning the worship and service of God, and all other Christian duties, is not mens inventions, opinions, devices, lawes, constitutions, or traditions unwritten whatsoever, but onely the word of God contained in the Canonicall Scriptures.’ Article VIII adds that ‘In this written Word God hath plainly revealed whatsoever he hath thought needful for us to know, beleeve

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and acknowledge, touching the Nature and Office of Christ, in whom all the promises are Yea and Amen to the praise of God.’ These statements will speak for Baptists both in a traditional and in a doctrinal sense, and are regarded as descriptive of current Baptist faith. It is therefore grossly inaccurate to divide Virginia Baptists into parties on the basis of their loyalty or disloyalty to the Scriptures. On methods and matters of interpretation there will be differences, but on loyalty to the Scriptures we are agreed. Our understanding is that the private right and duty of interpretation is inherent in our Christian calling and is an essential evidence of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Questions of inerrancy or errancy of text, a legacy from early 20th century American Fundamentalism, cannot be allowed to become a source of division among a people who are always committed to the authority of Scripture and to have no thought of challenging that authority with ‘mens inventions, opinions, devices, lawes, constitutions or traditions unwritten whatsoever.’ At the same time, we have no intention of elevating the written Word to the approximate status accorded the Virgin Mary in Catholicism or the Eucharist in High Church Anglicanism, the status of ‘a visible, human symbol involved in salvation’ (in the language of Professor James Barr of Oxford). The Scriptures, of course, do not exhaust the truth of God. The universe is full of His truth. The latest word of science may not be fully explicated in Scripture, which has little or nothing to say, for example, about robots, space travel and computers. Neither do we seek in the Scriptures, as ancient Judaism did, rules of conduct to apply to every life situation. Principles we have, and the Spirit’s guidance, not multitudinous laws. God has spoken in Christ, and He still speaks to His people who ask, seek and knock in His Name. 2.

Virginia Baptists believe in personal and local freedom, but they are committed to voluntary cooperation. Freedom is seen as a God-given right and is closely identified with individual competency. By ‘freedom,’ Baptists have usually meant the liberty to follow where God leads. He leads Christians into community; therefore, Virginia Baptists are free to cooperate and are willing to submit their opinions and convictions to free discussion within the community of faith. Voluntary cooperation is no mere option with them, it grows out of their understanding of the doctrine of the Church, and it is regarded as a requisite of the Gospel. Enthusiasm for particular institutions and undertakings of the General Association fellowship will vary

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from person to person and congregation to congregation, but the will to cooperate in common tasks strongly persists. In its main stream, the Baptist denomination has never been a movement of independency. Local autonomy lives in constructive tension with congregational interdependence. Virginia Baptists are a connectional people who base their own connectional style on the voluntary principles. Their churches claim a positive familial interest in one another and in the enterprises of one another. 3.

The Virginia Baptist tradition claims denominational integrity, but it rejects sectarianism and party-spirit. Our is, as Dr. Pitt stated, ‘a tradition of denominational self-respect.’ Virginia Baptists do not reckon themselves the only true Christians. They see themselves, however, as custodians of sacred truth and as an important unit in the divine program of Christian witnessing. They wish to enjoy the respect and confidence of the Christian community and of the community at large. They are careful lest their denominational self-esteem run into arrogance or on the other hand, sink into intolerance. The same concern is exercised to avoid party-spirit within their own ranks. Differences of understanding and outlook are inevitable even among brethren. We come from different backgrounds; many forces shape our opinions. Sometimes what we regard as a matter of conscience is in fact only a matter of inheritance and of opinion. Some days, I find myself standing in a Regular Baptist heritage, from which my maternal line sprang over 200 years ago. On those days, I value most the doctrinal strength and the churchly order of Virginia Baptists. On other days, I am in the Separate Baptist heritage, from which my paternal line came over 200 years ago. Then I am an enthusiast for the Gospel, an evangelist and a person of venturesome mind. On yet other days, I remember that I am a debtor to the General Baptist heritage which ever insisted that the Gospel be shared with all, because Christ died for all men and every man. Occasionally, when institutional problems are a burden, I may feel an impulse toward Primitivism, in which there was, and is, no place for effective church-related institutions beyond the local congregation. But, I am a Virginia Baptist! History has taught me to integrate my heritage and to appreciate the marvelously varied and complete life which the Spirit of God has included in one communion of saints. Then, when differences arise in the fellowship, I think of consulting, persuading, reasoning with and praying for my brethren, accommodating to their positions, compromising on nonessentials, but never of schism from them.

The use of party-spirit and power blocs is not the Virginia Baptist way. … 4.


It follows that the Virginia Baptist tradition is the way of zeal not for one’s own views, but of the practice of fraternal courtesy and trust in their expression. It is indeed possible to urge the great truths of evangelical religion without sacrificing Christlikeness of manner. It is, moreover, reasonable for individuals to claim for themselves a good measure of personal freedom while granting to others what they ask for themselves. Baptists have always insisted that the Bible be recognized as the sufficient authority for faith and practice. Some of them, however, have tried to use the Bible as a creed. Practically, they have meant, as Robert G. Torbet suggests, ‘You must believe everything that we think the Bible means and says.’ But the Bible is unlike a creed. It contains a record of concrete and experienced religious life; while a creed contains well-defined and abstract theology. A creed addresses the intellect, but the Bible appeals to the whole person. Nineteenth century thought gave many an exaggerated idea of individualism, but the New Testament puts prior emphasis on the believing community in which individuals hear their witness to one another and to the world. The central tradition of Virginia Baptists balances the right of private judgment with the judgment of the Christian community as a correcting influence. The Virginia Baptist tradition insists on organizational autonomy but also demands commitment to the Christian world mission. Not only are churches autonomous under Christ their Head, but so also are district and state associations and national conventions. Each body representing the churches is responsible for its own integrity and to the world mission of Christianity. So also, are those benevolent and educational institutions related to the churches, although their ministries may be more particularized and limited than those of churches. Their sympathies should ever be alied with interest of the churches, for they are co-workers in common tasks. The churches regard their related institutions as instruments of ministry and extenders of outreach of the churches to the world. Freedom and partnership characterize their relations, and the mutual use of suasion regarding policies and procedures is not regarded as being out of order.

Virginia Baptists are partial to the name “Baptist General Association of Virginia’’ as the designation of their organization. More than sentimental attachment to the name is involved. ‘Association’ more naturally carries the idea of a continuing and functioning fellowship of churches than does the name

‘Convention.’ The latter term means a coming together; the former suggests a staying together. It is natural to speak of ‘associated’ churches, but it is awkward to speak of ‘conventioned’ churches. A covenant relationship is the result of a union based upon voluntary and fraternal principles, and that relationship is well-called an ‘association.’ … The Virginia Baptist tradition is thus one of freedomwith unity, autonomy with cooperation, consensus with courtesy and tolerance, mutuality with caring, conservatism with openness, and, above all, obedience to Christ’s call to mission to the ends of the earth. … 1987 President’s Address 164th Annual Meeting Dr. Carl W. Johnson On the evening of November 10, 1987, some 2600 messengers - which at the time was the largest number of messengers at an annual meeting in the BGAV’s history - were present in William and Mary Hall on the campus of the College of William and Mary. Dr. Carl W. Johnson delivered the president’s address; and its message certainly resonated with the audience since the vast majority, like the speaker, were laypersons. Among Baptists, laity and clergy are on level ground as there is no hierarchy among Baptists who espouse the priesthood of the believer. A native of Richmond, Carl Johnson grew up in a Baptist family which was active in Webber Memorial Baptist Church. He earned his undergraduate degree as well as a Master of Commerce degree from the University of Richmond. He was a trustee, deacon, and treasurer of Bon Air Baptist Church and, later, as a member of First Baptist Church, Richmond, he was the chair of its Endowment Board which is a leading philanthropy in Richmond. In his career, he was vice president of administration and treasurer for Morton G. Thalhimer, Inc.; and he left that position to become treasurer of the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention. He served as a trustee of the University of Richmond and was active in the Richmond Baptist Association, serving as moderator in 1985, and the Baptist World Alliance. He shared his business acumen and his Christian social conscience with the Virginia Baptist Board and twice as the president of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 1987 and again in 2013. When elected in November 2012, he became the first person since 1944 to serve more than one term as president. The 1987 president’s address reminded the laity of their responsibility in the life of the denomination. He urged them to be more proactive in seeking information about the work of denominational missions in and beyond their local church. It was the beginning of partnership missions and he strongly encouraged more laypersons to volunteer for service. Johnson’s message was timeless: Become a personal friend of your pastor; Let your pastor

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know that you are open and available for responsibilities beyond your church; Be actively engaged in the life of your church. The address was delivered during a perilous time for Baptists as the SBC Controversy raged. The resolutions adopted at the 1987 annual meeting spoke to various concerns produced by the Controversy: the upheaval at one of the SBC seminaries, Southeastern, which provided theological education for many Virginia Baptist ministers; a statement of support and commendation for Julian H. Pentecost, editor of the Religious Herald, “for his strong stand for Baptist principles of freedom and liberty”; a statement against a perceived strategy to control the BGAV by those who “would seek to categorize pastors, staff members, churches or any entity by theological position and voting stance” thereby threatening the BGAV’s “long history of openness and unity in diversity”; condemnation of action by the SBC’s Public Affairs Committee which promoted SBC withdrawal from support of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs (now “for Religious Liberty”) as well as endorsed a candidate for a federal judicial office; and a reaffirming of the principles of the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church in the wake of the withdrawal of associational fellowship in Memphis over a church’s choice of a female pastor. “Just A Layman” Text: Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10 I am just a layman. How many times have I said that!? Sometimes in jest. But not always. Sometimes I was very serious. It’s a handy excuse, it’s a crutch, it’s a way of saying, ‘Let the professionals (ministers) do it.’ Please don’t ask me to pray, preside, serve, lead or be responsible. In reading the two biblical accounts of Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s servant, I could not help but be impressed with the example set by the centurion. Who was this centurion? What can we glean from his brief encounter with Jesus? A centurion was a minor Roman army officer, a career man who commanded one hundred foot soldiers. It was the highest office to which an ordinary soldier might aspire and might be compared to today’s noncommissioned officer. He was responsible for discipline and was considered the backbone of the army. Since Jews were exempt from military service, he would have been a Gentile. Polybius describes centurions as good leaders, steady with prudent minds. He would have been battle tested, perhaps scarred, and probably physically impressive. He would have attained his rank the old fashioned way - he earned it. But we learn that in other ways this centurion was different. He was not the typical, generic centurion. He might have been expected to despise the conquered Jew. But instead he loved their nation; and out of his own personal funds, he built them a synagogue. In fact, the Jewish elders in Luke 7:5 refer to it as ‘our’ synagogue which poses the possibility of its being the (only) synagogue in Capernaum.

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He could have been brutal to his servants. Certainly, his long army career would have exposed him to a life of conflict and harsh discipline. But he had affection and compassion for and sought help for this servant who was paralyzed. He could have been insensitive to Jewish traditions and teachings. He, no doubt, was aware that a Jew believed himself defiled by entering a Gentile home, and this very well may have been at least partly the reason why he said in Matthew 8:8: ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.’ But we miss the primary point of the story if we overlook the faith and humility of this centurion. He understood the true nature of the authority of Jesus. He had confidence in the sufficiency of Jesus’ word alone. And what a tremendous reaction the centurion’s plea received from Jesus! This was Jesus’ first confrontation with a Gentile. How impressed Jesus’ followers must have been when Jesus immediately indicated His willingness to go and heal the servant. But the centurion, in effect, said, ‘No, don’t come.’ It must have been sheer amazement to His followers when Jesus permitted the perception that the centurion had changed His plans. The centurion was saying his faith was so strong that he believed Jesus could heal without being present. Nowhere among the Jews had Jesus found anyone willing to believe this. Jesus used this teachable moment to tell His followers that this Gentile centurion had greater faith than He had found among the Jews. What does this story say to me, a layman? First and foremost, it strengthens and encourages my faith. Certainly, I have had more opportunities to learn about Jesus than did this centurion. And yet, his unquestioning faith has to set an example for me to follow. The centurion’s humility and sensitivity remind me to be more aware in my relationships with others. Listen more. Try to understand better. The compassion the centurion demonstrated for his servant is yet another reminder to me to be aware of the needs of those with whom I work, to inquire of them, to pray for them. My fellow treasurers would be disappointed in me if I did not point out the strong stewardship exhibited by the centurion. He personally paid for the cost of the synagogue. This he did of his own conviction and on his own initiative, not because he was approached by a member of the synagogue building committee. He was responsible and accountable and didn’t wait to be asked. In fact, he would never have been asked. No Jew would have asked a Gentile centurion to build a synagogue. And what of Jesus’ example. Even with His authority, He was willing to be perceived as having His plans changed by the amazing faith of a Gentile centurion. In my daily dealings, negotiations and persuasions

with others, am I secure and open enough in and with my faith to be flexible and amenable? My own personal journey as a layman has been an extraordinary experience. Richmond Baptists, Virginia Baptists, and Southern Baptists have been most generous in the opportunities they’ve given me to serve. I am deeply grateful for to a long list of friends who have provided prayer support, encouragement, counsel and, when I needed it, a big push. My first churchwide responsibility came soon after I finished college when my home church elected me financial secretary. My responsibilities were to post the weekly offering envelopes and prespare the quarterly mailouts. That experience was certainly an eye-opener. In fact, during that period I postulated Johnson’s law: ‘One’s degree of participation in a church business meeting is inversely proportional to one’s financial contribution.’ There are, of course, exceptions. There followed assignments of increasing responsibility which eventually led to my election as church treasurer. That was the assignment that taught me the importance of and the benefits of regular informative financial reports to the church body, to be prepared at any time to explain any expenditure of church funds, and not take personally any of the questions raised. Other opportunities came related to ‘Together We Build’ and bond campaigns, Richmond Baptist Association, the University of Richmond, and Virginia Baptists. Then in 1979 I was asked to join the Foreign Mission Board staff where I now serve as the chief financial officer. What appeared to some as a significant midlife career change, leaving the excitement of the commercial real estate field for a life of denominational service, actually was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, it was easy because I was being prepared for that decision and that responsibility for at least twenty years. With deep appreciation and love for the pastors and others in denominational service, there are several remarks I’d like to address to laymen. I hope you have taken the opportunity to become a good friend of your pastor. If you have, you are familiar with the benefits that can come to you, the pastor, and the church. If not, I encourage you to take the initiative to get to know your pastor on a more personal level. Learn even more about and teach your children and grandchildren about our Virginia Baptist heritage and history. Has your worship service ever been disrupted by hooligans throwing live snakes and hornets nests into the sanctuary? Have you had to go to the county jail to hear your pastor preach? Virginia Baptists can be instrumental today as we were two-hundred years ago in providing leadership on a number of issues, including church-state matters. Be grateful for the accountability that is available

to you routinely on how your gifts to the church have been spent. At a time when many others are asking for greater disclosure and accountability, you have been kept informed at every level in Virginia Baptist and Southern Baptist work by published, audited reports, by the opportunity to attend board and associational meetings and to write to any agency for even more information if you desire. Beyond the very important work that we are about in Virginia, we need to take more seriously our partnership opportunities and responsibilities related to Tanzania and New England. Virginia Baptist volunteers fall short when compared either with the needs or with the number of volunteers from many of our sister state conventions. Let your pastor know that you are open and available for responsibilities beyond the church, such as the local association and the Baptist General Association of Virginia. It is important that laymen be well represented on our committees and boards. In closing, I covenant to make a conscious effort to avoid using the word ‘just’ with reference to being a layman. I am a layman. I am accountable. I am responsible. I will take initiative. 1995 President’s Address 172nd Annual Meeting Margaret Buck Wayland Margaret James Buck Wayland of Danville was the third woman to be elected as president of the General Association. Like the two earlier women presidents - Christine Gregory and Jean Woodward - she had come through the ranks of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia which by example taught women the fundamentals of presiding over a meeting as well as the nature of servant leadership. Her strongest teacher was her mother. Although her mother died when Margaret was a teenager, she never forgot the impressions and the advice which she instilled within her daughter. She held fast to some early advice: “Margaret, there are three things in life that you need to think about. First, always consider your commitment to God. Next, your family and church and third your community, because there you will find a fellowship that you will not find anywhere else in your life.” A native of Danville, Margaret Buck looked no further than the Baptist school in her hometown to begin her collegiate education. She attended Averett College (now University), receiving her associate degree. She then followed the lead of other Baptist young women and enrolled in the senior college for women, Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950. It was while a Westhampton student that the young woman was selected along with others to participate in 1949 in the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia. She was one of several who were “heralds” to introduce each episode in the Diamond Jubilee pageant.

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Little did the young woman know that forty years later she would be president of the WMU of Virginia. Margaret married Lee Wayland of Danville and the two became active in community and denominational life. Lee served as a member of the Virginia Baptist Board. Margaret began her leadership path in WMUV as its Mission Action chairman, as parliamentarian from 1979-87, and as first vice president in 1986-87. The following year, 1988, she was elected as president of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia. Earlier, she had served as a trustee of Hargrave Military Academy, the first woman to join the Board of Trustees of the Baptist school. She also had been president of Church Women United of Danville; president of the Danville YWCA; chairman of the Danville Chapter of the American Red Cross. In 1980, she was ordained as the first female deacon of West Main Baptist Church in her hometown. On the state denominational level, she served on the Virginia Baptist General Board, 1986-90, and as president of the BGAV in 1995. In vocational life, she was a teacher and guidance counselor in the Pittsylvania County Schools and as an instructor in Continuing Education at the Danville Community College. In an interview for the Religious Herald when she was elected as president of the General Association, she shared her hopes for the organization. “I am a strong advocate of local church ministry because I am a product of it. It is in your local congregation that you find identity, support, and encouragement. But you’ve got to look beyond that local church. As Virginia Baptists we’ve got to think globally and not just about Virginia Baptist work. We have to look at the whole world and make a commitment to stay focused as God’s people.” She encouraged “hands-on missions,” seeing it as “one of the greatest things we as Virginia Baptists have done.” She said that she had seen “spiritual renewal in the life of people who have been on these partnership missions trips [which] makes a difference in their lives.” Margaret also was visionary upon her presidential election in November 1994 when, long before the emerging Ascent emphasis, she observed: “I would like to see Virginia Baptists be more inclusive by cooperating with other denominations. Baptists will never win all the people in Virginia to Jesus Christ. It is going to take all Christians working together.” She based part of her ecumenical view to her life experiences as president of the Danville YWCA and chair of its religious committee: “It was that experience in being in an ecumenical group of Jews, Roman Catholics, other Protestants, Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians that I really felt my spiritual life was enriched. Virginia Baptists can cooperate without fear of compromising any conviction. If you are deeply entrenched in what you believe, you can accept others’ beliefs without endangering your beliefs.” The theme of the 1995 BGAV annual meeting was “Risk the Journey - Live God’s Word”; and in her presidential address she underscored, explained, and enlarged upon the theme. It was indicative of her own life story and the fulfillment of her mother’s sound advice.

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“Risk the Journey - To Live the Word” The making of history is related to yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We must know our past in order to fully appreciate the present and to plan wisely for the future. Virginia Baptists have a rich heritage, and we must remember that those who are privileged to enjoy such a legacy, by the same token, must pass it on, enriched by their own contributions. We, as Virginia Baptists, must prepare to Risk the Journey - To Live the Word. We must prepare as individuals, as local churches, and as the Virginia Baptist family. The Scripture for our theme is the familiar passage we know as the Great Commission. Those words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples at the post-resurrection appearance following very closely the Journey of all times - the three years of journeying with the Son of Man. What an intense journey it must have been! The responsibility given by Jesus in this mandate is the greatest command ever given by the greatest commander to the greatest army concerning the greatest task that the world has ever known. This commission has sent more persons into the frontiers of service than any other single statement. It was Jesus’ outline for the ages - a positive command, a personal challenge, a powerful mission! Along with His command, Jesus promised His power and presence to go with His followers. It was in the knowledge of His power and His presence that He sent them to a task impossible for man alone. Those early followers were a small minority living in an age of injustice, gloom, and persecution. Yet, despite the hostile environment, their faith grew and the gospel triumphed. Gibbon, the historian, accounts for the rapid spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire as being due to the enthusiasm of Christians telling their friends and neighbors about Christ. Christianity dispelled the gloom of paganism not just with leaders like Paul and Peter, but through ordinary people, working at everyday occupations but losing no opportunity to live their faith. The message of the Master has not changed! There were no barriers in the Great Commission; it was a command to be obeyed by every believer. Each follower of Jesus Christ has a part in God’s great mission enterprise. These are crucial days; we are at a critical juncture. Will we surge ahead, level off or lose our momentum? Always there have been in the mighty moves of God those people not in position to receive from Him and those persons who would listen and hearken to His instructions. The choices we make indirectly reveal how we define the mandate of Jesus to go and to tell. This year in crisscrossing our great Commonwealth, I have been reminded anew of the numerous blessings bestowed upon Virginia Baptists. I hope that I can pique your interest in a new appreciation of the Virginia Baptist Journey by sharing some thoughts garnered during my journeys this year.

I have chosen to use an acrostic, formed by the letters of the word RISK. Relevance Dr. Robert H. Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald from 1906-1937, speaking on the centennial anniversary of Virginia Baptists talked of the Virginia Baptist temper: courage, courtesy, considerateness, cooperation, constancy, conservatism - all of which he says leads us to a temper of conquest. He reminded the people of that day that Virginia Baptists must have an upward and outward look; we can never rest until the whole world is brought to the feet of Christ. He urged that Virginia Baptists stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; that we not be entangled with any yoke of bondage. Words spoken many years ago, yet today have a relevant message for Virginia Baptists. … Could it be that God is calling Virginia Baptists to help create a new paradigm of church renewal, of deeper commitment to His command as we restore fully what it means to be a part of the fellowship of Jesus Christ where God has called us to serve? We must move beyond being just mere caretakers of tradition to becoming active builders of the Redeemer’s Kingdom. With 1.3 billion lost persons in our world; our own country being the 3rd largest unsaved country in the world; one-half of the population of our beloved state of Virginia unchurched; and with over 70% of our Virginia Baptist churches plateaued or declining, there is a clarion call to revitalize our sense of mission. Missions is the heartbeat of God. Ralph Winters of the U.S. Center for World Missions has said that the future of the world hinges on what we make of the word mission. Our Baptist history is saturated with accounts of mission efforts. Someone has said that without missions and evangelism Baptists lose their justification for existence. Virginia Baptists will need to utilize creative, innovative approaches to win the lost in the days ahead. Missions education is a must for all ages within our churches. Partnership missions has been an entry point to meaningful involvement in mission opportunities for many volunteers serving in our state, our country and around the world. We must continue to provide hands-on missions opportunities for all of our Virginia Baptist family. … Virginia Baptists must continue to be vigilant in their efforts to help local churches build a strong sense of community. People are longing for acceptance and fellowship. Churches should establish real community where people gather together to worship, to encourage one another, to truly love and care for each other, and to learn to give meaningful expression to their beliefs through serving others. Someone has said that there is no other organism than the local church that is capable of restoring the soul of America to a place of life and health.

Initiative Ministering in an age of spiritual, cultural and technological revolution, we can easily become helpless in this emerging new creation. We must stand strong and resolute in His strength. The time demands that we be knowledgeable of our Baptist heritage and polity as we forge ahead to create a positive, proactive response to the changing world. Dr. Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, has said that “Baptist identity is going to be a crucial question facing Baptists in the next millennium. This includes the historic tradition of soul freedom, separation of church and state, call for individual conversion and mission and evangelism, believer’s baptism, local autonomy and relationships with one another on a world level.” We must recruit the best leadership in our churches. We need to assist churches in customizing resources to their local needs. Laity must become actively involved with the clergy in laboring together as God’s ambassadors to a lost world. Training needs to be provided for laity to learn how to best utilize contemporary approaches to ministry and mission involvement. We will have to be serious about nurturing and encouraging our youth to seek God’s will for their lives by providing opportunities for experiential learning. The rapid growth of other nationalities within our state demands that we be open to assisting those persons in establishing new congregations. The time is NOW for us to work alongside other Great Commission entities as colaborers and partners in the endeavor to make a world of difference for Christ. The churches of our age must be channels of God’s love. We must seek diligently to strengthen the family - the nursery of humanity. We, as believers having received the gift of salvation, will continue to commit ourselves to share daily the Good News, to nurture others, to become creative risk-takers for God, to reach out in faith to a new day and to watch for the wonders that God will perform. Servanthood Albert Schweitzer said: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know. The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found out how to serve.” God is looking for servants to carry out His command, not superstars, pompous, powerful leaders. There is a need in our churches for members who believe deeply, speak boldly, and serve sacrificially. Believers cannot remain passive and do the work God assigned us. God’s prophetic people in any age must be prepared to face opposition when they stand boldly for the truth. We must be not only good stewards of financial resources but of all our gifts in order to maximize our influence for God’s glory. … The church leaders for today and for tomorrow must move from the role of authoritarian leader to being

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a servant leader. Rulers tell, a servant shows. A ruler is above the people, a servant is among the people. A servant leader takes care to make sure that others’ needs are being met. Servant leaders are willing to risk to help followers achieve their goal. We must model servanthood by exhibiting deep commitment, unquestionable integrity and a strong, abiding faith in God. Kerygma A kerygmatic ministry - the preaching of the Gospel must be our first priority. Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of Christian authority and when His authority is applied to the totality of our lives, we are given integrity and unity to our Christian purpose, strength for our Christian commitment, and motivation for our Christian loyalty. In our churches we must have strong, focused godly leaders who model righteousness - a righteousness that will not be compromised by the world. There are many in our world desiring the fruits of Christianity without knowing the Christ. We must be Christian in its fullest meaning - anointed by His Spirit to tell and living with integrity His Word as we inculcate Christ’s precepts into our daily living. … To address the spiritual crisis in our own garden of Virginia and in the field of our world will take a concerted effort of each member of our Virginia Baptist family to make God’s mission OUR MISSION. … We have had a challenging and fulfilling journey as Virginia Baptists and the journey ahead should be equally as challenging and promising.

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A Legacy of Servant Leadership BGAV 200th Anniversary | 53

written by fred anderson


cross two centuries, the Baptist General Association of Virginia has profited from its legacy of leadership. In a religious society known for its equality and freedom, the Baptists do not have bishops or an ecclesiastical hierarchy. Although the ground is all level in Baptist churches and in denominational organizations, someone needs to coordinate the ministries.

Within the General Association, the title of a coordinator has changed over the long years. John Ivins researched the history of the office and identified the persons who served in the coordinating position were variously known as corresponding secretary, executive secretary and executive director. Regardless of title, the individual was charged with “getting things done” for the General Association. Ivins found that the earliest corresponding secretaries were David Roper, 1823–26, and Eli Ball, 1826–35. Both were ministers who were instrumental in the founding years of the General Association. In 1820, Roper was the founding pastor of Second Baptist Church, Richmond, and served until his health declined in 1826. A Northern pastor, Ball had only arrived in Virginia in June 1823 when the General Association was organized and he was present at its first meeting. Another minister who was present, Jeremiah Bell Jeter, later recalled that Robert Baylor Semple, the Association’s first president, and Luther Rice, the visiting missionary, “and other fathers of the day, cordially welcomed” the stranger “into the wide and inviting gospelfields spread before him” in Virginia. From the very first meeting, the General Association was welcoming and including newcomers to Virginia. Ball preached and led Bible classes widely across Richmond’s nearby counties and beyond, traveling by horseback to meet his religious engagements. By his own reckoning, during just four of his years as the coordinator for the fledgling BGAV, he traveled enough miles to have gone three times around the world! And all to visit among Virginia Baptists! Blanche Sydnor White, an intrepid Virginia Baptist historian and missions leader, thought of those early coordinators as “desk secretaries,” implying that they chiefly provided a mailing address for the General Association and answered correspondence. These “desk secretaries” were William Sands, 1834-42, James C. Crane, 1842-43, Robert Ryland, 1843-44, and, once again, Eli Ball, 1845-47. These men had many other demands upon their time: Sands with the Religious Herald, Crane - an active and involved layman who had a business to run, Ball in teaching young ministers, and Ryland as president of Richmond College. In 1848, a period of longevity in leadership began when Henry Keeling Ellyson, an active layman at Second Baptist Church, Richmond, became corresponding secretary of the Board of Managers of the General Association. He began his remarkable tenure at the young age of 24; and even more unusual, he was elected to the executive position the very first time he had attended a BGAV meeting! Afterwards, he never

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missed a meeting of the Board or the BGAV! One more believe-it-or-not fact: Henry Keeling Ellyson was born in Richmond the month after the founding meeting of the BGAV so 2023 is also the 200th anniversary of his birth! At age 14, Ellyson was apprenticed to a Richmond printer; and while learning the trade, his father died so the teenager became the supporter of his family. He soon began a printing business of his own. He never went to college but became an astute businessman and accumulated several business interests. At age 18, he joined the Second Baptist Church and was baptized in mid-winter in the James River. In 1843, he married Elizabeth Barnes and their wedding was at Second Baptist Church. In 1855, the work of Virginia Baptists was enlarged with the creation of the State Mission Board and Ellyson became its corresponding secretary. He looked to his newspaper, the Richmond Daily Dispatch, for his support and gave his time to Virginia Baptists without compensation. When one reads his annual reports to the BGAV, it is evident that Ellyson’s generous gift of time and talent produced mighty results. In his period, Virginia Baptists employed a small army of state missionaries, ministers, and colporteurs (Bible and religious book distributors) and these were boots-on-ground for preaching the Gospel, doing missions, and planting churches. When he began his work with the BGAV, the state missionaries were largely located in the region east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ellyson pushed the missionary work into the western and far southwestern parts of the state; and as a result, under his watch, new district associations were formed: the Shenandoah, Augusta, Blue Ridge, Clinch Valley, New Lebanon, and New River. It was Ellyson’s vision which offered the plan of planting a church wherever the railroads established a depot. It was under his watch that the BGAV went from several independent societies to become boards reporting to the BGAV which made for a more efficient state operation. Besides the newspaper, Ellyson was on the corporate boards of a railroad, steamboat company, and insurance company. He served as a sheriff and a mayor of Richmond. H.K. Ellyson served without pay until his death in 1890. H.K. Ellyson was followed in the corresponding secretary’s office by his son, William Ellyson, who like his father refused any material compensation as he served until his death in 1919. William was long remembered by the members of the large Sunday school class which he taught at Second Baptist Church, Richmond. William Ellyson and his wife, Mollie Johnson Ellyson, supported the decision of their daughters, Elizabeth and Louise, to serve, with their husbands, as missionaries in China. Elizabeth Ellyson Wiley and Louise Ellyson Westbrook chose to work at the Thomas Christian Service Center, a ministry started by Virginia WMU, which helped the Chinese servants who lived beyond the gates of the University of Shanghai. The Ellysons served a combined 71 years!

It should be noted that Henry Keeling Ellyson’s other sons were notably involved in the life of the BGAV. His eldest, H. Theodore Ellyson, served 43 years as the assistant recording secretary of the BGAV; and his second son, James Taylor Ellyson, served 46 years as secretary of the Virginia Baptist Education Board. He also was elected president of the General Association from 1890-93, as a vice president of the SBC, and as president of the Baptist Convention of North America. James was active in politics, serving twelve years as lieutenant governor of Virginia and twice was a candidate for governor. He also served three terms as mayor of Richmond. It also should be remembered that Henry and Elizabeth Ellyson had a daughter, Bettie, who devoted her life to helping the poor and needy of her city. In 1920 Robert Garland of Keysville - who had been William Ellyson’s assistant - became the first paid officer of the BGAV. Two years later, in 1922, the State Mission Board changed its legal name to the Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education. Garland’s title was also changed to secretary of missions. Robert Garland was a traveling salesman by trade who became an effective evangelist. A committed layman - never ordained and never answering to “Reverend,” Garland just changed jobs and became a salesman for the Lord. He earned the nickname “drummer evangelist,” recalling the old-fashioned name for salesmen. While engaged as a traveling salesman, he spent his free time memorizing the New Testament. It was said that Bob Garland was known by Baptists “from Accomac to Cumberland Gap” and seemed happiest when he was out among the Baptist folk rather than in his office. When he delivered reports before the Board or in an annual meeting of the Association, in his “rapid” style of talking, he would intersperse his address with “laughable illustrations” and had “the rare power to produce laughter from his fun and tears from his pathos.” It was during his tenure that Virginia Baptists participated in the SBC-wide 75 Million Campaign and his responsibilities were doubled yet he never complained. He was supportive of every phase of the Virginia Baptist mission program but his heart was centered on the Buchanan Mountain Mission School and the children and families which it served. In the fall of 1928, George T. Waite, who had grown the Barton Heights Baptist Church of Richmond (later named Northminster) into one of the largest and most active churches within the SBC, was elected to the same coordinating office under a new title - executive secretary. A native of Caroline County and a graduate of “the Baptist school,” Richmond College, Waite completed his theology studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a pastor, he was keen on stressing the need for parents to train their children for Christian citizenship and to establish a family altar. Obviously he and his wife, Mildred, practiced what he preached because when it was announced that he was leaving the pastorate to take the lead executive position at the BGAV, his son exclaimed: “Great! Now we won’t have to say morning prayers and devotionals!” George T. Waite brought the robust leadership which helped lift the BGAV out of the mires of the Great Depression. He served on the Foreign Mission Board and the Board of Trustees of the University of Richmond.

He also took a firm stand opposing the national denomination - the Southern Baptist Convention - when it wanted to set how much of a state Baptist organization’s income should go beyond the state to the SBC. Waite was a dedicated and hard worker and Virginia Baptists were shocked and saddened when he suddenly died in 1936 at the relatively young age of 52. Following Dr. Waite’s death, Frank T. Crump, a layman who had served as BGAV treasurer since 1920, became executive secretary. He was born and reared in Richmond and owned and operated a company prior to his election as BGAV treasurer. Crump married into the Ellyson family - the family which supplied 70 years of executive leadership for the General Association - which also meant that he was actively involved in the life of Second Baptist Church, Richmond. Crump’s wife was Nancy Ellyson, the daughter of James Taylor Ellyson and Lois Effie Hotchkiss Ellyson. James was a son of Henry Keeling Ellyson. When called upon, Frank Crump stepped up to leadership in his church, serving as church clerk for a while and as superintendent of the Sunday school for thirteen years. A Virginia Baptist minister, Dr. Carrington Paulette, once noted that “in 1930, when the whole denomination was deeply in debt, he proposed a plan of liquidation of debt which would have prevented the crippling of the current work of the denomination.” Paulette also cited Crump’s ardent support of the Cooperative Program and credited him with creating the visuals which promoted the CP within the churches, such as the once familiar lighthouse, the balance scales, and the encircled world. He resigned as executive secretary in 1944 but continued as treasurer until 1949. He died two years after retirement at age 84. James R. Bryant, a layman who had served on the staff of the First Baptist Church, Roanoke, was Frank Crump’s assistant from 1937-44. The affable Jim Bryant, who once was urged to run for mayor of Roanoke, succeeded Crump in 1945 and held the position of executive secretary for ten years, resigning at the end of 1954. He then became the first executive of the Virginia Baptist Foundation. The executive leaders of the BGAV work closely with each year’s elected officers, especially the current president. Pictured are the officers of 1967 including the president, M. Hunter Riggins, Jr. (front center), and Lucius M. Polhill (on the far right front), who had the title of executive secretary.

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Lucius M. Polhill was elected executive secretary of the BGAV and the Board in 1955. A native of Georgia, following service in the First World War, he entered “the Baptist school” for Georgians, Mercer; and he completed a master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He taught Bible at another Georgia Baptist school, Bessie Tift College. He was pastor of the Vinton Baptist Church near Roanoke, 1934–36, and he returned to Georgia as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Americus. In 1943–55, he was pastor of Deer Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky; and it was from Kentucky that he came as executive secretary of the BGAV. Polhill served during a time of rapid growth and prosperity. The giving of Virginia Baptists to state missions doubled in the period to nearly $4 million while overall gifts increased from $16 million to $35 million. The number of church members grew by 150,000 to reach the half-million mark. He served as president of the SBC state executive secretaries. He received honorary degrees from his alma mater, Mercer University, and from the University of Richmond. He concluded his service to Virginia Baptists in 1968. Richard M. Stephenson, then pastor of the large Columbia Baptist Church, Falls Church, followed Polhill in 1968. In 1979 the title changed once again to executive director. A native of Southampton County, Stephenson’s home church, Millfield Baptist Church near Ivor, ordained him to the Gospel ministry. He received his undergraduate education at Hampden-Sydney College and earned a master’s degree in theology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fort Myers, Florida, he met and married Noralee Mellon. She took a supporting role as a pastor’s wife; and, in his denominational service, she continued as his helpmate. In his 17 years as pastor of Columbia, he grew the membership from 700 to 2,600 and led in building programs. He learned the inner-workings of the General Association as a member of its Board for a decade and as president in 1964. He also served as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He came to know many of the Virginia Baptist ministers and was president of their conference which included a large meeting usually preceding the BGAV’s annual meeting. The executive director works closely with the treasurer. Pictured are Richard M. Stephenson, executive director, and James Todd, treasurer. Both came to their respective positions in 1968.

During his almost twenty years as the chief executive for the General Association, 1966-87, he built upon the earlier growth of the Fifties and enjoyed a period of continued advancement in church growth which passed the 1500 mark and in finances with gifts to state missions alone reaching ten million annually. The Board’s staff was enlarged and encompassed a myriad of specialities. Near the close of his tenure as executive director, he helped lead the BGAV to purchase its present headquarters building. 56 | “Called to Be”

The executive director depends upon the assistance of an executive secretary. Since 1948 only three individuals have held the position: Page Taylor (1948–1980), Hazel Mallory (1980–2006), and Marilee White (2006–) Pictured are Richard M. Stephenson, executive director, with Hazel Mallory who came in 1975 to work as receptionist and office secretary in the executive director’s office and was mentored by Page Taylor. Hazel died in June 2006 and a tree was planted in her memory on the grounds of the BGAV headquarters building on Emerywood Parkway in Richmond.

Richard Stephenson was honored among his peers by serving as president of the Association of Southern Baptist State Executive Directors and playing host when their meetings were held in Virginia. He was also recognized with an honorary doctorate from the University of Richmond. He retired in 1987 and died in 1997 at age 75. His widow and adult children were active in their local churches as well as in BGAV life. At the 1986 annual meeting in Richmond, as the messengers saluted Stephenson for his service, they also affirmed the Board’s choice of his successor. A search committee recommended a denominational executive with extensive experience in the Southern Baptist Convention. At the time, Reginald M. McDonough was executive vice president of the Executive Committee, SBC. Earlier, since 1964, he had served on the staff of the Sunday School Board, SBC where he was a department director. The messengers to the 1986 meeting affirmed McDonough who would begin his service on March 1, 1987. A native Texan, McDonough and his wife, Joan, quickly became adopted Virginians. Like many transplants, he soon began to dig into his own family history to discover an early ancestor who came from Virginia. He also never forgot a statement which Julian Pentecost, editor of the Religious Herald, had made to him at the beginning of his tenure: “To be a Virginia Baptist is not where you were born but a way of thinking.” Early in his administration, McDonough delivered a landmark address before the Board that sought to give renewed impetus to Kingdom work in Virginia. He said, in part: “If Virginia Baptists are to move forward, it will be because we understand our identity as a people called of God to achieve the mission He has put before us, not because we react negatively to the actions of persons who violate what we believe to be proper and valid practices of Baptist life and work.” McDonough added: “Because of our humanity and free church tradition, there will always be significant differences in belief and practice. During these years of denominational controversy, Virginia Baptists have struggled to affirm our identity, to adhere to historic Baptist principles as we interpret them, and to set a principled course for our future life and work. We are at a crossroads. We can be consumed with the negative energy that

seems to surround us on every hand or we can seize the opportunity that God has given us to focus our energies on our mission.” McDonough was skilled in organizational management; and during his tenure, there were reorganizations and redirections. As the age of computer technology arrived, McDonough was ready to embrace it and employ its benefits to help the Virginia Baptist mission. He also became involved in the life of the Baptist World Alliance as it faced a critical time with a historic partner, the SBC. He met the myriad challenges of the SBC Controversy and its impact upon state conventions. In his calm and discerning way, he navigated ways for Virginia Baptists to continue, even enhance, their mission, remain true to their heritage and time-honored principles, while attempting to maintain “a place at the table” for all who were willing to be cooperative. He also reminded Virginia Baptists of the bedrock principle of “Church First”, which meant that whatever the General Association did must benefit the local churches and that within the Baptist sense of denominationalism, each individual church was important while from them and their messengers came the direction of the BGAV. With the astute skill and savvy of the BGAV treasurer, Nat Kellum, it was during the McDonough administration that giving options and tracks provided just that large umbrella under which anyone could stand if so inclined. McDonough offered an inclusive approach for all the varied BGAV agencies, institutions, and shared ministries. He instigated summertime meetings for the chief executive officers of the various Virginia Baptist ministry partners. He led the BGAV to rename its Board from “General” to the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and its headquarters building from merely “the Baptist Building’’ to the Virginia Baptist Resource Center which in both cases more clearly defined their overarching purpose. It also was under McDonough’s leadership that the BGAV established “partnership missions,” offering for the first time many opportunities for individual Baptists to have “hands-on” missions experiences while reaching out their helping hands to people around the world. The Tanzania Partnership was the first fruit of this new approach to “doing missions” and many other partnerships would follow. McDonough tapped into the experiences of Charles Bryan who when he retired from the Foreign Mission Board was brought into the Virginia Baptist Board staff to develop and lead in the early partnership missions work. In 1995 John V. Upton, Jr., who with his wife, Deborah Wyatt Upton, served as Foreign Mission Board missionaries to Taiwan, was called to serve as Group Leader of the Mission Mobilization Group, the area of the Board staff which oversaw partnership missions. At the 2000 annual meeting, the BGAV program and its budget were designed to follow a new emphasis known as “Acts 17” which would place Virginia causes and Virginiainitiated missions in a higher priority. Inspiration for the new approach came from Acts 17:1-15 with the Gospel to be

carried first to Jerusalem and then to the uttermost parts of the earth. When McDonough announced his intentions to retire, a search committee was appointed; and at the 2001 annual meeting held at Woodbridge, Ray Spence, chair of the search committee, reported that it had received 27 names for consideration and narrowed its list to six individuals who were interviewed. The committee decided to look no further than in the Virginia Baptist Resource Center with their choice of John Vincent Upton, Jr., who was group leader of the Board’s Mission Mobilization Group. In this position, Upton had guided and expanded Partnership Missions, World Missions Initiatives, Disaster Relief, Impact Virginia!, Mission Opportunity Points, and the Co-Missioner relationship with WMUV. The BGAV messengers affirmed the choice of the committee and the Board and Upton became the new executive director-elect, immediately entering into a time of intense transition with McDonough. During the interval, McDonough served as treasurer until the election of a new treasurer, Eddie Stratton. John Upton would be the first to admit that in nearly every significant area of his life, Virginia Baptists played a part. He often recalled his parents’ experience in Central Baptist Church, Norfolk, and how he was influenced in his spiritual growth and development at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, Chesapeake, under the good influences of the Rev. Paul D. Moore and his wife, Miriam Keller Moore. Some 20 or more ministers credited Paul Moore as their inspiration for entering the clergy. Upton received his collegiate education from a Virginia Baptist school, Averett College (now University); and while a student, he participated in the Baptist Student Union led by Kirk Lashley. He and his wife, Deborah Wyatt, were married at West Main Baptist Church in Danville. While enrolled at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in pursuit of a master’s degree in divinity, he and Deb worked at Eagle Eyrie in the summer of 1976. As a couple, the Uptons served as FMB missionaries to Taiwan from 1986-91, and John became skilled in the language as well as committed to the people where he served. It was his first introduction to another people group and it initiated what became a lifetime pursuit of embracing people of all ethnicities and nationalities. And John came to serve Virginia Baptists from one of their own member churches as pastor of the Urbanna Baptist Church. The Upton administration started with his travels across the Commonwealth to meet and listen to Virginia Baptists who expressed their concerns, hopes and dreams for the BGAV. On May 10, 2002, the BGAV held a special called meeting at First Baptist Church, Charlottesville. Over 2,000 messengers attended; and only in his third month as executive director, Upton used the meeting to cast a new vision for Virginia Baptists called Kingdom Advance. Using the passage in Ezekiel 37, Upton declared that many Virginia Baptists had confided in him that they did not feel like “the living body of Christ” but more like “disjoined dry bones.” He emphasized that God put a question in Ezekiel’s mind: “Can these bones live?” He stated that God said

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to pray for the bones, preach to the bones and tell them “you shall live.” He reminded the Baptists that Ezekiel was told to call upon the four winds and a spark came into the bones. He added that this was the same wind found in Acts 2. John Upton called upon the four winds to blow through the sanctuary of the Charlottesville church so that a spark could come into the eyes of Virginia Baptists, causing the General Association and its purposes to be more alive than ever before. He called for a mission “big enough to include all of us” and for “engaging in deeper ways and expanding.” He referred to the original document from the founding of the BGAV in 1823 with the following statement from the constitution which reads: “To propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom.” He offered a contemporary statement of that same founding vision: “To courageously proclaim and live the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus Christ.” He asked the messengers if they were ready to be courageous: “For what purpose has God preserved Virginia Baptist heritage and tradition?” He emphasized the two overarching themes at the beginning of the General Association, “missions and religious freedom,” which the executive director called “wings to soar.” In his presentation, the executive director enumerated several approaches to reorganization, as follows: “Empowering leaders, courageous churches, emerging leaders, ‘glocal’ (a new word coined to combine global and local) missions, and the power of partnership.” As the messengers embraced the vision, these areas became watchwords. In time, the Board staff and the Board’s standing committees related to each of the areas highlighted in the Kingdom Advance presentation. In early 2003, the VBMB underwent a strategic reorganization to follow the Kingdom Advance program and to meet financial realities. A new staff structure and its leaders were as follows: Emerging Leaders Team, Susan McBride; Glocal Missions and Evangelism Team, Jerry Jones; Empowering Leaders Team, Jim White; and Courageous Churches, John Chandler. Glenn Akins came to the staff as congregational transformation and church growth consultant and, in short order, an assistant to the executive director in the areas of information and research. In the relationships with ministry partners, covenant agreements were made with each partner institution and a partnership agreement stated the specific ways in which the partner was working towards the goals of Kingdom Advance. In 2005, the Board staff began to consult with Lyle Schaller, “the dean of church consultants,” who expressed that the BGAV with its large number of churches and, respectively, the large number of church members, was as large and even larger as most denominational bodies. Schaller reminded the Board staff that they could exert a tremendous influence upon the spiritual life of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia and even far beyond. The expert opinions from “the dean” were shared with the VBMB and took root as Virginia Baptists began boldly moving forward into new missions directions. While historically the BGAV had included a few West Virginia churches near its border, the BGAV began to receive inquiries from churches far beyond the geographic borders

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of the Commonwealth. Two Georgia Baptist churches were among the early ones to join: the First Baptist Church of Rome and Dalton. In time, there were churches scattered across the United States and even internationally. It also was in 2005 that Virginia Baptists were enthused and honored when John Upton was elected to a five-year term as president of the Baptist World Alliance. Long active and supportive of the BWA, the General Association even increased its involvement as international Baptist figures began to visit the BGAV and more and more Virginia Baptists served on committees and commissions of the world organization. When the COVID-19 pandemic called for a creative approach to the BGAV annual meeting, both in 2020 and ‘21, the meeting was held virtually and messengers used the internet to access the proceedings. It was at the 2021 virtually-held meeting in November that John Upton announced his intention to retire after over 20 years of service as executive director and seven years earlier as team leader for Partnership Missions. In his statements, he observed that when he arrived on staff, it was before the world-wide internet and office secretaries preferred to continue using their IBM Selectrics typewriters rather than those new computers. It even was before cell phones! Upton shared: “Over these years, the Biblical text that has really come to mean a great deal to me and my guiding text is Acts 2. It’s not because of the pyrotechnics of the text, with fire over all the disciples’ heads. What has attracted me is what happened to the disciples in Acts 2. They were changed. Here you have this group cowering in an upper room one minute and the next minute they are out boldly proclaiming the Gospel everywhere they could go. They were no longer timid. They were crossing boundaries. They had a new vision, a new expression of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. They spoke a new language and something in that language was fresh to them. I’ve seen that in you, [Virginia Baptists], for twenty years. I’ve watched you do the same thing. I’ve watched you learn new language together. I watched you create language together. Language like Uptick, Fresh Expressions, Missio, Kairos. Language such as field strategist. We even created two new language words today in our meeting, Ascent and Axis. You have been about creating a language together and it’s been fresh. You’ve even embraced new possibilities. You are finding a new way of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.” John Upton announced that he would retire effective July 31, 2022. A search committee was formed; and after much consideration, the committee placed its recommendation before the Executive Board. On August 31, 2022, the Board accepted the recommendation and, once again, a current staff member had been selected. The Rev. Dr. Wayne D. Faison was the executive directorelect. He had come to the Board staff in November 2001 as a Mission Resource Specialist in the area of African American Church Development. In that role, he had been instrumental in the increase of Black churches which

joined the BGAV and in assisting them in various phases of their own growth and development. He served as a strategist in the areas of evangelism and church planting on the Courageous Churches Team; and in 2007, he began service as the Team Leader. Among the innovative plans which he offered for seeking and saving those who were without Christ was a plan known as “670”, a state-wide evangelism strategy which was projected for a five-year period. “As in Acts 6,” reported Faison to the Mission Board, “we would like to begin looking among Virginia Baptists in order to discover 670 Virginia Baptists who have a passion for lost people.” Another was the Virginia Church Multiplication Initiative with a mission to start 300 new “Gospel communities” by 2016. He gave leadership to the annual 21-C Evangelism Conference. He summarized the mission of Courageous Churches as “evangelism, church planting, revitalizing and supporting existing churches, deepening discipleship, and worship.” In the restructuring of staff in 2015, Faison became the leader of the Growth/ Venture staff. He had been a staff member throughout the long and dynamic administration of John Upton. At the November 2022 annual meeting held in Hampton, the messengers approved a new title for Upton as executive director emeritus and they elected Wayne Faison as executive director. For the Floridian turned Virginian, it was a high point in a long ministerial career. He had earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida; and after practical work experience in the banking field, he felt led to fulltime Gospel service. He came to the BGAV staff just at the time of the transition between McDonough and Upton. He quickly and easily established friendships among those active in Virginia Baptist life and shared his management skills and ideas with his fellow staff and the members of the VBMB. He early envisioned new ways to be about evangelism. Along the way, he added to his knowledge through earning a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as a master of divinity degree in missions, evangelism and church growth, also from the SBTS. He also earned a “mini-MBA” degree from the University of Richmond. On his entire spiritual journey and career growth, he could count upon the presence, support and encouragement of his wife, Carmen Clark Faison. After having served in several positions within the BGAV organization, he came to the executive position from his role as coordinator of the Growth Venture staff. At the time, he was serving as the national coordinating officer for the BGAV’s Ascent Team. He also possessed the practical experiences of a Baptist pastor, having served at the time of his election as executive director some 13 years as pastor of East End Baptist Church, Suffolk, an active BGAV church which was willing to share its pastor with the BGAV. Across two full centuries, 1823-2023, Virginia Baptists have experienced a legacy of leadership in the executiveservant role by whatever title was in vogue. The legacy of leadership likewise is far broader as it has included thousands of individuals who have served on Boards and committees and as officers of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, an organization which one old-time Virginia Baptist, Alfred Bagby of King and Queen County,

called “the greatest deliberative body in the world.” Every “deliberative body,” especially one with a Gospel mission of “advancing the Redeemer’s Kingdom,” needs servant leadership such as that which has blessed the General Association for 200 years. The Treasurers Across Two Centuries


here are only two executive positions which are elected by the messengers to the annual meetings of the General Association: the executive director and the treasurer. These serve until a successor is elected.

The General Association has experienced several changes in its official structure of organization. In 1823 there was a Board of Managers which oversaw the work of the General Association in between annual meetings. The treasurer of the General Association was not the treasurer of the Board. In addition, for the first thirty years of the General Association, there were several independent societies and each one concentrated on some phase of concern such as education, Sunday schools and publications, foreign missions, or Bible distribution. Each society had its own treasurer. When the General Association was restructured in 1855, the societies became boards with their own officers; however, churches were encouraged to send all of their gifts directly to the treasurer of the General Association who would distribute them according to the designation of the donor. The treasurer of the General Association would receive the funds, account for them, and distribute them to the treasurers of the various societies or however the church had indicated. Over the last century, the duties of the BGAV treasurer have remained fairly constant. As provided in Article IV of the BGAV Constitution/Bylaws, the treasurer “shall receive all funds contributed to the General Association, pay over such amounts as are specified by the contributors for particular uses according to their directions (provided that, in the opinion of the treasurer, said uses comply with accepted General Association causes), distribute any amount not specified according to the instructions of the General Association, and make an annual report of all receipts and disbursements. All checks for paying of funds of the General Association shall be signed by the treasurer and countersigned by such other persons as may be designated by the Executive Board. The treasurer shall serve under the direction of the executive director and shall perform such other fiscal and management duties as may be assigned by the executive director.” Since 1979, the treasurer has also served as the business manager for the General Association with oversight of its properties. The general area of “support services” came under the supervision of the treasurer which included printing and mailing; insurance; personnel employment; and administering investments. During the tenure of Edward Stratton, the treasurer oversaw the General Association’s first endowment campaign. The treasurer also was expected to develop conferences for local church treasurers, provide stewardship education, and promote the budget’s support within the churches. Throughout the first 100 years or more of the General

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Association, the position of treasurer was an office to which someone was elected but unpaid. It was a responsibility which a devoted layperson felt as an obligation. The treasurers of the BGAV from 1823 to 2023 are as follows: 1823–

Anthony R. Thornton


Robert Semple


William Crane


James C. Crane


Silas Wyatt


Royal Parrish


James C. Crane


J.B. Wood


George B. Steel


Norvell Ryland


B.A. Jacob


Frank T. Crump


Kenneth E. Burke


James T. Todd


Doyle Chauncey


Nathaniel W. Kellum


Edward Stratton


David Washburn

The following survey of those who held the office begins with the period of the greatest growth in the BGAV and continues to the present. George Boardman Steel grew up in the Second Baptist Church where his father was one of its charter members in 1820. For twelve years, 1870–1882, he gave his services as treasurer without any financial compensation. When he resigned, he transferred the same sense of devotion to the Baptist school, Richmond College, which he served as a trustee from 1882 until his death in 1916. He remained a member of Second where he served as chairman of the deacons. Steel also was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1891–1893. Norvell Ryland was a member of the distinguished family of Rylands from King and Queen County. The Rylands contributed generations of leaders to Virginia Baptist churches and organizations; and as treasurer, Norvell was no exception. At age 16, he was baptized into the fellowship of the First Baptist Church, Richmond. He was the son of Robert Ryland, the president of the Virginia Baptist Seminary and the first president when the seminary became Richmond College. While Norvell was a student at the college, the Civil War ceased the school’s operations and he enlisted in Major John R. Bagby’s company from King and Queen. He was wounded twice and captured at Sailor’s Creek. After the war, Norvell’s father did not return to Richmond College but served as a city missionary and as an instructor in the Richmond Theological Seminary, a school to train Black ministers. Norvell moved to Louisiana

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to manage a cotton plantation, but he soon returned to Richmond. In 1874 he was a part of the group who joined Venable Street Baptist Church on Church Hill to lend “strength and wisdom to the young church.” When George Steel resigned as treasurer, Ryland began his service. George Cooper, pastor of First Church and a member of the State Mission Board, observed that Norvell’s “relationships with the churches were careful, exact, and helpful to their better and more systematic benevolence.” During his term as treasurer, 1882-1897, the BGAV’s receipts increased from $26,000 to $66,000. In the year 1899, Ryland reported the receipts through October as $52,653; and of that amount, the State Mission Board received only $12,087 while the Foreign and Home Mission Boards received over $25,000 with the remaining distributed to the Sunday School and Bible Board, the Education Board, and Minister’s Relief. Even accounting for the difference in the worth of a dollar, it is incredible how the State Mission Board was able to operate on such limited funds. Benjamin Aylwin Jacob, Sr. followed Ryland and served for 22 years, 1897-1919. He was a member of Grace Street Baptist Church and, later, Grove Avenue Baptist Church, both in Richmond. When he resigned, he moved to Augusta County where he lived with his son. Frank Thomas Crump claimed that he was “drafted” on January 1, 1920, to serve as treasurer by two persuasive and powerful leaders: Robert Healy Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, and George W. McDaniel, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Richmond. Both men were presidents of the BGAV at the beginning of Crump’s tenure. As mentioned in the above historical sketch of BGAV executive leaders, Crump had married into the Ellyson family whose positive influence within the BGAV spanned some seven decades. Despite his family relationship, Crump was a highly capable financial administrator in his own right. He had managed his own lumber and box business, F.T. Crump Company, prior to his servant leadership as treasurer. Frank Crump was a balanced treasurer in that he knew finances yet he possessed a heart for missions. Jim Bryant, who was trained by Crump as he prepared to be executive secretary, said that Crump “knew the value of a dollar but he never failed to appreciate the spiritual value.” Bryant added: “He recognized that monetary values were good only when they were a complement and supplement to the spiritual.” When Crump came to the office, Virginia Baptists were raising their share of the SBC’s Seventy-Five Million Campaign. It also was the beginning of the Cooperative Program, an SBC-wide and Baptist state conventions supported plan of performing denominational and missions service through an organized support of a unified budget. At the end of Crump’s first decade of service, the nation was plunged into the Great Depression; and the mission boards of the denomination and many of the churches found themselves “crippled with heavy debts.” Reuben E. Alley, editor of the Religious Herald, credited Crump with leading Virginia Baptists to adopt a plan of liquidation which extended over a period of years so that the institutions and boards “would not suffer too seriously by a curtailment of their operating expenses.” Alley explained: “The Debt Commission, which came into

existence to direct this difficult plan, was successful under his able leadership. After the last debt was paid, Crump proposed and Virginia Baptists accepted an arrangement for the establishment of a reserve fund which could be used if another financial emergency should arise.” Little by little the reserve grew until by the close of Crump’s service it was $100,000, a considerable sum in 1950. Crump also took on the added responsibilities of serving as the treasurer for the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia without added compensation. He performed the extra responsibility for 29 years. “It was not always easy to balance the relationship between Mr. Crump, treasurer of the General Association, and Mr. Crump, treasurer of the WMU,” wrote Blanche Sydnor White, longtime executive leader of Virginia WMU. “There were times when policies seemed to be leading these two bodies in separate directions. A less devoted man might have been harassed; a less gentle man might have become antagonistic to one group or the other. Mr. Crump, tactfully and cheerfully, worked out the double relationship and, more than any other man, kept the two organizations working in harmonious and complementary cooperation.” When Crump began his service, the BGAV had its headquarters in the Grace-American Building at the corner of Fourth and Grace Streets. When the building was purchased some twenty years later by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverages Commission, the Baptists felt that they could not maintain their headquarters in a building owned by liquor interests. Instead they purchased a three-story old mansion at 1 West Franklin Street. Crump lived just across the street from the Virginia Baptist headquarters. He reported for work at 8:15 every morning and never missed a day until April 1949 when he broke his leg. Even while confined to his bed, his office assistants would cross the street and bring him whatever papers he required to continue his work. The accident did hasten his longdelayed decision to retire and he reached that milestone on his 83rd birthday, January 6, 1950. He died on September 26, 1951. His tombstone in Hollywood Cemetery states the record: “30 Years Treasurer, Baptist General Association of Virginia - 14 Years Executive Secretary, Baptist Board of Missions and Education.” Kenneth Edison Burke was Crump’s successor and he held the position for 17 years. Born in North Carolina, he came to Richmond as a young boy. He attended the University of Richmond and earned his master of theology degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1960 the University of Richmond bestowed an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He began his pastoral career on “a field of churches,” serving Sycamore, Courtland, and Sedley in Southeastern Virginia. For twenty years he was pastor of Burrows Memorial Baptist Church in Norfolk. He served as president of the interdenominational Norfolk Ministers Association and as treasurer of the Norfolk Baptist Council. He also was president of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. Burke understood and valued the traditionally held principles of Virginia Baptists including religious liberty. In his memorial in the BGAV annual of 1985, it was stated: “He affirmed that he did not believe in religious tolerance because nothing short of religious freedom and liberty

was acceptable.” His first wife, Pearl Nunnally Burke, was active in the WMU and involved in interracial relations. She was instrumental in the development of Camp Carey, the Virginia WMU camping experience for Black children and youth. After her death, Kenneth Burke married Mary Blevins. James Turnley Todd followed Burke as treasurer. A native son of Orange County, Todd grew up in the Wilderness Baptist Church where at age 12 he accepted Christ and at 18 he was teaching an adult Sunday school class and serving as superintendent of the Sunday school. At age 20, he was a deacon of the church. Later, as a member of Orange Baptist Church he taught a men’s Bible class. Other area churches in which he was for a while a member were Gordonsville and Zoan. While BGAV treasurer, he and his wife, Orene, were active in Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond. Jim Todd studied accounting at the Richmond Business College; but upon completing his study in the Great Depression, he could not secure an accounting position so he worked a variety of jobs including at a dairy as well as in a gold mine where he was paid two dollars a day. And that is when he began the practice of tithing. At age twenty, his work prospects improved when he was hired as deputy treasurer of Orange County. The oft-repeated story was that when he was hired, he didn’t even know where the treasurer’s office was in Orange! In 1947, he was elected treasurer of Orange County and held the position for 29 years. In 1957, he served as president of the Treasurers Association of Virginia. He also gave his services to his district association, the Goshen, where he served various times as moderator and treasurer. In 1966, he began serving as treasurer of the BGAV. Earlier he had served on the Virginia Baptist General Board and in 1959 as first vice president of the BGAV. He also served seven years on the Foreign Mission Board. He was well acquainted with the mission of the General Association and certainly had mastered the field of financial accounting. Julian H. Pentecost, editor of the Religious Herald, described Todd as “a pacemaker for other laypersons in the 1950s and 60s,” encouraging others “to become involved in denominational leadership.” Pentecost also characterized Todd as “a warm friend and confidant of the preachers, in general, and his pastors, in particular” and added: “He was never too busy to make himself available to those who needed him, often taking time to listen, and when asked, to offer counsel in the areas of his expertise. Jim Todd was equally comfortable with those in exalted positions of power and influence and with those of limited ability and meager resources. His primary concern focused on what a person was, not title held or resources possessed.” Orene Dickinson Todd valued missions and family. As a Sunbeam, she first learned about the missionary Lottie Moon and her “interest and admiration grew from one mission organization to the next.” She was pleasantly surprised to learn of a connection between Lottie Moon and her husband’s family. She discovered that Lottie

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Moon and Jim’s great-grandmother were classmates and friends at the Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville. Orene also was a good ambassador for the BGAV as she frequently served as a hostess for visiting Baptists. Doyle Chauncey followed Jim Todd as treasurer. A native of Tennessee. Chauncey completed his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It was while working as an accountant that he felt called to enter the Gospel ministry. He and his wife, Sharon Collier, and their small children relocated to Fort Worth where Doyle entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and pursued his studies leading to a master of theology degree. While a student, he served as business manager for Travis Avenue Baptist Church where he was ordained. The Chauncey family moved to Virginia for Doyle to serve as pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Appomattox. From Liberty, he was called to serve on the pastoral staff of First Baptist Church, Norfolk. In 1979 he began service as treasurer of the BGAV; and in 1981, he felt called to return to pastoral ministry. While living in Richmond, he served as pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church. In 1996, he became the first fulltime executive director-treasurer of the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBCV). Nathaniel Warren Kellum was reared in the marshes of Gloucester County at Guinea. He was the son of a waterman and he enjoyed fishing. In a childhood summer, he jumped aboard a church bus and began attending Vacation Bible School at Union Baptist Church at Achilles. In time, he came under the good influences of the pastors, George Kissinger and Charlie Jones, as well as a caring layman, John Starnes, who was head of the church’s youth department. Starnes took the youth from the coast to the mountaintop of Eagle Eyrie where Nat Kellum was introduced to the excitement of an auditorium full of youth, singing and praising. When as valedictorian of Gloucester High School, Nat dared to dream of college, his parents knew that those ideas came from the folks over at Union Baptist Church and they were right! His parents thought that their son should head to the shipyards and get a job. John Starnes influenced Nat to enroll at his alma mater, the Baptist school in eastern Tennessee, Carson-Newman. John Kellum and John Starnes drove the young man to Richmond where he boarded a bus with a one-way ticket to Jefferson City, Tennessee. It was the beginning of a new world for Nat Kellum. After graduation, he taught briefly in the Hampton City schools and then became a manager for the Shenandoah Life Insurance Company in Roanoke. He and his wife, Doris, served as houseparents at the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home in Salem. They became active in the Ridgewood Baptist Church. When Doyle Chauncey resigned, Virginia Baptists began looking for a new treasurer. A search committee learned about a dedicated man, a business executive in Salem who was compelled to find a way in which his background and training could be put to Kingdom use. In 1982, the position had found the man; and Nat Kellum began sharing his

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management style, his expertise, and his big heart with the people of the General Board and the General Association. With the arrival of Dr. Reginald M. McDonough as executive director, the organization had a team with its two top officials. McDonough soon found Nat to be “closer than a brother, personally and professionally.” He considered him “a man of great wisdom and deep compassion.” Kellum came into the position just as the SBC Controversy was at its height. He helped the BGAV with creative ways in presenting its story and structuring its budgeting so as to offer a large enough tent for those of all persuasions to find a home. He presented “the Virginia Plan” in budgeting which became a model for other states. When division came, he was a skilled spokesman to go to Baptist churches and present the BGAV story. He had a heart for each agency and institution within the General Association and his heart was evident in his supervision of the Board staff. Nat and his family were active in the Cool Spring Baptist Church where he served as chair of the deacons. He also served two terms on the Foreign Mission Board. With the national tragedy of September 11, 2001, there was another great loss for Virginia Baptists as Nat Kellum suddenly died the following day of the terrorist attacks. The loss also came just at the time when the executive director position was changing from Dr. McDonough to John Upton so Dr. McDonough remained for an interim as treasurer. In 2002, a search committee recommended Edward S. Stratton, Jr., of Waynesboro to become the treasurer-elect. Eddie, as he was known by all, grew up learning about the General Association through his mother, Emma Mantiply Stratton, who in 1972 became the first woman to hold the office of BGAV first vice president. Two years earlier, she had been nominated for the office of president but lost on the second ballot. She had served as president of WMUV from 1964-71. Eddie Stratton attended Wingate College and High Point University. He served in the United States Marines. From 1970-83, he was president and general manager of a family-owned business, Augusta Interiors and Augusta Dry Cleaners and Tailors, Inc. From 1983-89, he led just Augusta Interiors, a residential and commercial design firm. In 1988, he began serving as executive director of the United Way of Waynesboro-East Augusta. As a local businessman, he was active in numerous civic organizations, serving as president of the Rotary Club, on the Board of Directors of the local Chamber of Commerce, president of the Retail Merchants Association, and chair of the local school board. He was equally involved in the life of First Baptist Church, Waynesboro. He was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher. When he and his wife, Susan Haynes, came to Richmond, they became members of the First Baptist Church, Richmond. Susan was supportive of her husband in his decision to devote his gifts in service to a denominational mission. The couple’s many associates and friends rallied to their side during Susan’s health crisis and death. A new executive team was forged with Upton-Stratton; and

while John Upton cast the vision for Kingdom Advance, it was Eddie who played a key role in the restructuring of the staff and in implementing the new missional strategy. In time, Eddie also guided the renovation and modernization of the various Virginia Baptist properties and facilities including Camp Piankatank and Eagle Eyrie. A crowning achievement at the latter was the major renovation of the hotel. In 2007 Eddie assumed responsibilities for development and fundraising. An assistant to the treasurer position was authorized and former BGAV president Walter Harrow managed the day-to-day operations of the treasurer’s office which enabled Eddie to give attention to development. The following year of 2008 saw the Great Recession and brought more challenges to a treasurer and business manager.

has the capability to represent Virginia Baptists to churches, denominational entities and partners; but the person also must understand the finances and communicate them in a clear way. It is an unusual combination.” John V. Upton, Jr. also realized the uniqueness of the position: “It is as much about relationships as it is about finances.” Across the long years, the treasurers of the General Association have been persons who not only kept a close eye on receipts and expenditures but also understood the mission of the organization, were active participants to “advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom”, and possessed a caring heart.

There were years of declining receipts yet the treasurer remained confident and grateful to the Virginia Baptist constituency for support. With the denominational division, the treasurer alongside the executive director sought creative ways to be proactive in managing finances while enlarging the tent to new ministries and ministry partners. When confronted with great challenges, the treasurer was honest with the messengers to the annual meetings and reminded them that “it is what it is.” Stratton’s successor also came to the BGAV from Waynesboro. A native of Kingston, North Carolina, David Washburn was serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Waynesboro when he was selected as treasurerelect and formally elected in 2013. He served the church from 20052013. Previously, he had served as pastor of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in Albemarle. Washburn was a graduate in economics from the University of North Carolina. He entered banking, serving as an assistant vice president of First Union Bank in Cary and Wilmington. He increasingly felt the call to the ministry and decided to enter Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, declaring that the new seminary attracted him both because of its outstanding faculty as well as its “sense of family and community.” While a seminary student, he served as associate pastor and youth minister for Chestnut Grove. His wife, Paula, was by his side in each transition; and today she is the statistical data specialist for the General Association. David Washburn had opportunities which aided in the transition to treasurer. He had been chair of the BGAV Budget Committee which certainly schooled the young minister in the complexities and challenges of the budget and its process. He also served as chair of the critical Committee on Boards and Committees which introduced him to the entire structure of the General Association and to colleagues from across the Commonwealth. He served on the coordinating councils of both the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the CBF of Virginia. Carl W. Johnson, twice elected as president of the BGAV and the former treasurer of the International Mission Board, SBC, once remarked that the title “treasurer” is “almost too narrow a word to describe the responsibilities of the job.” He explained: “It’s very important that this person

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Servant Leaders

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Presidents of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 1823–2023

Robert B. Semple, 1823–25, 1830 John Bryce, 1826 John Kerr, 1827–29, 1831–34 James B. Taylor, 1835–53 Jeremiah Bell Jeter, 1854–57 Thomas Hume, 1858–59 William F. Broaddus, 1860 Daniel Witt, 1861 Robert Ryland, 1862 R.L. Montague, 1863–64, 1869–70 Richard H. Bagby, 1865–66 J. Lansing Burrows, 1867–68 Thomas W. Sydnor, 1871 J.L.M. Curry, 1872–74, 1878–79 J.H.C. Jones, 1875–77 James G. Field, 1880–81 J. Lansing Burrows, 1882–83 Henry R. Pollard, 1884–85 John H. Wright, 1886–87 William E. Hatcher, 1888–89 James Taylor Ellyson, 1890–92 Thomas S. Dunaway, Sr., 1893–96 A. E. Owen, 1897–98 W.R. Barksdale, 1899–1900 George W. Beale, 1901–02 W.W. Moffett, 1903–04 William Ellyson, 1905–06 J.T. Henderson, 1907 T.H. Ellett, 1908–09 John Mason Pilcher, 1910–12 Robert D. Garland, 1913–14 Westwood Hutchinson,1915–16 Robert Healy Pitt, 1917–19 George W. McDaniel, 1920–21 Robert Edwin Gaines, 1922–23 Charles A. Johnston, 1924–25 R.A. McFarland, 1926 J.L. Rosser, 1927–28 T. Clagett Skinner, 1929–30 Sparks W. Melton, 1931–33 B.F. Moomaw, 1934–35 Solon B. Cousins, 1936 Frederic W. Boatwright, 1937–39

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R. Aubrey Williams, 1940–41 Burton J. Ray, 1942–43 Walter Pope Binns, 1944 Floyd W. Putney, (1944 (Feb/Mar) Clyde N. Parker, 1945 Raymond F. Hough, 1946 Edward V. Peyton, 1947 Aubrey H. Camden, 1948 Henry W. Tiffany, 1949 Ralph C. McDanel, 1950 Wade H. Bryant, 1951 Robert Edward Loving, 1952 John H. Garber, 1953 Raymond F. Hough, 1954 Robert F. Caverlee, 1955 Charles L. Harman, 1956 W. Curtis English, 1957 M. Jackson White, 1958 Jesse M. Johnson, 1959 Albert E. Simms, 1960 Edward G. Ayers, 1961 R.P. Downey, 1962 Charles H. Ryland, 1963 Richard M. Stephenson, 1964 William J. Haygood, Jr., 1965 H. Cowen Ellis, 1966 M. Hunter Riggins, 1967 Julian H. Pentecost, 1968 R.L.T. Beale, Jr., 1969 Ernest L. Honts, 1970 John J. Bryan, 1971 W. Barker Hardison, 1972 James H. Rayhorn, 1973 Charles G. Fuller, 1974 Joseph C. Smiddy, 1975 William J. Cumbie, 1976 Ken McFarlane Smith, 1977 Chevis F. Horne, 1978 Emmet C. Stroop, 1979 V. Allen Gaines, 1980 Norman P. Gillum, 1981 M. Vernon Davis, 1982 Christine B. Gregory, 1983

William L. Lumpkin, 1984 Earl A. Scott, 1985 Sherrill G. Stevens, 1986 Carl W. Johnson, 1987 Neal T. Jones, 1988 Jean Woodward, 1989 Raymond L. Spence, Jr., 1990 Michael J. Oblinger, 1991 W. Jerry Holcomb, 1992 Walter A. Harrow, 1993 Ronald W. Crawford, 1994 Margaret B. Wayland, 1995 R. Clint Hopkins, 1996 Mary B. Wilson, 1997 William C. Wilson, 1998 William E. Watson, 1999 Thomas R. McCann, Jr., 2000 J. Darrell Foster, 2001 M. Reginald Warren, 2002 Elizabeth Cumbie Fogg, 2003 Don Davidson, 2004 Richard E. Smith, 2005 Herbert O. Browning, Jr., 2006 Boyce E. Brannock, 2007 Joseph T. Lewis, 2008 W. Jeff Bloomer, 2009 Timothy N. Madison, 2010 Robert B. Bass, 2011 Mark A. Croston, Sr., 2012 Carl W. Johnson, 2013 Thomas R. McDearis, 2014 Ann Fitzgerald Brown, 2015 Nancy Stanton McDaniel, 2016 E. Stuart Crow, 2017 George H. Fletcher, III, 2018 L. Richard Martin, Jr., 2019 J. Adam Tyler, 2020-21 Ron Gravatt, 2022 Herbert L. Ponder, 2023

Virginia Baptist Executive Board, 2023 Rev. Brooke Holloway Blake, Chair Ms. Roberta Anderson Rev. Dr. David Eugene Benjamin, Secretary Rev. W. Michael Bradley Mr. B.E. Brannock Ms. Shirley Cobb Rev. Dr. Wayne D. Faison Rev. Lora Gravatt, Vice Chair Dr. Ronald Eugene Gravatt Rev. Carlton Gunter Rev. Dr. Mark Hughes

Rev. Wayne Jenkins Rev. Dr. Allen Jessee Mrs. Tamara McBride Mrs. Rebecca McKinney Rev. Rachel Pierce Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Ponder Rev. John B. Sawyer Mr. Oscar Bryan Taliaferro, Jr. Rev. David B. Washburn Mr. Pete Wills

Virginia Baptist Mission Council, 2023 Ms. Dianne Altizer Rev. Andre Amaral Rev. Phil Bailey Rev. Ben Boyd Rev. Leroy Bradshaw Rev. Kevin Branham Rev. Danielle Bridgeforth Rev. Tim Brown Rev. Jim Bunce Rev. Brian Burdett Ms. Pam Chambers Rev. Danny Collins Ms. Patricia Craft Rev. Josh Crews Rev. Connie Cruze Rev. Chris Davis Rev. Michael Edwards Mrs. Joy Eure Ms. Brenda Evans Rev. Dr. Wayne D. Faison Rev. Lee Foster Rev. Dr. Josh Franklin Ms. Laura French Ms. Mary Garrett Rev. Dr. James George Rev. Margarete Gillette Rev. Bob Gordon Dr. Ronald E. Gravatt Mr. Steve Hagan Ms. Denise Harcum

Rev. Greg Harrell Rev. Chad Harris Rev. Bill Hartsfield Ms. Brenda Hastings Mr. Ron Hatcher Rev. John Huelskoetter Rev. Dr. Mark Hughes Ms. Lynette Johnson Rev. Jeremy Ketron Rev. Tommy Larson Mrs. Melanie Lassiter Rev. Kelly Lindquist Rev. Lynn Marstin Rev. Sam Maxwell Rev. Randy McCollum Rev. Greg McCormick Mrs. Rebecca McKinney Rev. Alan Miller Rev. Mark Miller Rev. Ryan Mills Ms. Anne Mitchell Ms. Molly Moore Rev. Rodney Morrison Rev. Darrell Naff Rev. Steve Nethery Rev. Jeff Noble Rev. Leslie Park Rev. Matt Parron Rev. Troy Pearson Ms. Cindy Phillips

Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Ponder Rev. John Robertson Rev. Rupert Rose, Jr. Rev. Jake Roudebush Rev. Richard Sandberg Mr. Thomas Saunders Rev. Tiffany Slaughter Rev. Allan Smith Mrs. Brenda Smith Mr. Joshua Snead Ms. Marilyn Snoddy Rev. Greg Soultz Ms. Janett Southall Rev. Jerry Stanfield Rev. Carter Tan Rev. Stephen Taylor Rev. Dr. Nathan L. Taylor Rev. Wes Taylor Rev. Jack Thomas Rev. Hector Velasquez Rev. David B. Washburn Rev. Catherine White Rev. Kristin Adkins Whitesides Ms. Brenda Wilkinson Rev. Tom Williams Mr. McWayne Williams Rev. Keith Williams Rev. Andy Wood Rev. Patrick Wood Rev. Steve Zimmerman

Officers of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, 2023 Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Ponder, President Mrs. Rebecca McKinney, First Vice President Rev. Dr. Mark Hughes, Second Vice President Rev. Dr. Nathan L. Taylor, Clerk Rev. Dr. Wayne D. Faison, Executive Director Rev. David B. Washburn, Treasurer

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BGAV Staff in the 200th Anniversary Year Wayne D. Faison, Executive Director Glenn Akins, Assistant Executive Director David B. Washburn, Treasurer Marilee White, Executive Director Assistant IMPACT MISSIONS TEAM Dean Miller, Team Coordinator Kristen Curtis, Resource and Training Coordinator Travis Gallahan, Fleet Coordinator for Disaster Response Glenn Maddox, Impact Missions National Director Butch Meredith, Disaster Response Charles Meredith, Construction Coordinator Liahna Muentes, Child Sponsorship Coordinator Travis Tyler, Team Operations Administrator Craig Waddell, Partnership Missions KAIROS Welford Orrock, Team Coordinator Chelsea Anderson, Associate Campus Minister, James Madison University Scott Anderson, Campus Minister, James Madison University Kallie Berry, Campus Minister, University of Virginia - Wise Jeffrey Buffkin, Campus Minister, College of William & Mary Darrell Cook, Campus Minister, Virginia Tech Laura Cook, Administrative and Projects Assistant, BCM, Virginia Tech Becca Covington, Director, Center for Faith and Leadership, BCM, University of Mary Washington Susan Edquest, Administrative Assistant, BCM, College of William & Mary Haley Gillespie, Associate Campus Minister, James Madison University Ryan Goude, Collegiate Minister, University of Richmond Emma Hammond, Associate Director, Center for Faith and Leadership Brandess Holmes, Associate Campus Minister, Old Dominion University Abigail Kramer, Associate Campus Minister, Radford University Chris Leeper, Campus Minister, Radford University Maty McGuire, Associate Campus Minister, James Madison University David Petty, Collegiate Minister, University of Virginia Cadance Tyler, Collegiate and Young Adult Minister, Longwood University David Wade, Campus Minister, Virginia Commonwealth University Zeko Wezah, Associate Collegiate Minister, College of William & Mary

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UPTICK Paul Maconochie, Team Leader John Chandler, Associate Leader Artemia Bates-Mendoza, Catalyst Director Sonya Habimana, Strategic Lead Laura McDaniel, Network Catalyst Minda Templeton, Administrative Assistant FRESH EXPRESSIONS Chris Backert, National Director of Fresh Expressions Kathleen Blackey, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives J.R. Briggs, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Wendy Chinn, Coordinator of Communications Jon Davis, Central Florida Regional Coordinator with Abbey Mission Verlon Fosner, Director of Dinner Church Collective Heather Jallad, Mission Strategist and Planner Shannon Kiser, Director of Training and Coaching Jane Linton, Administrator Mitch Marcello, Mission Strategist and Innovation Specialist Cheryl McCarthy, Coordinator of Intercession and Ananias Project Chris Morton, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications Morgan Solorzano, Coordinator of Training and Special Projects Jeanette C. Staats, Coordinator of Operations MISSIO ALLIANCE Lisa-Rodriguez Watson, Missio Alliance, National Director Sarah Schepens, Operations and Events Strategist Gabriela Viesca, Director of Strategy and Partnerships V3 J.R. Woodward, National Director Jessica Cruickshank, Movement Leader (Executive) Emii Phillips-Kim, Executive Administrator Michael Pumphrey, VA Regional Church Planting Coordinator and V3 Development Eun Strawser, Movement Leader Apprentice Dan White, Movement Leader NATIONAL MINISTRY TEAM Habacuc Diaz Lopez, Latino Churches Coordinator Jerome Lee, African-American/African Churches Coordinator Julie Lukas, Team Logistics and Operations Sang Shin, Asian Churches Coordinator CONGREGATIONAL FIELD STAFF Susan McBride, Team Coordinator Andy Barnes, Field Strategist, Southwest Virginia Region Steve Collins, Minister in Residence, Evangelism Jeff Cranford, Minister in Residence, Church Finance and Ministry Match Jody Faig, Field Strategist, Northern Region

Christy Foldenauer, Minister in Residence for Discipleship and Spiritual Formation Craig Harwood, Minister in Residence, Leadership Development Eddie Heath, Transitional Facilitator, Tidewater Region Karl Heilman, Field Strategist, Capital Region Angela House, Administrative Assistant Karen Rackett, Administrative Assistant Cynthia Shackelford, Minister in Residence for Congregational Care Thomas Stocks, Field Strategist, Southside Region Skip Wallace, Field Strategist, Valley Region Brian Williams, Field Strategist, Tidewater Region CHAPLAINCY Todd Combee, Director of Chaplain Relations COACHING NETWORK Ken Kessler, Coaching Network Director EAGLE EYRIE Ron Miller, Director Jonathon Acosta, Assistant Director Montez Anderson, Food Service Sandra Bond, Director of Guest Services Dean Campbell, Groundskeeping Glenn Campbell, Water Operator Meagan Cunningham, Housekeeping Barry Davis, Maintenance Daniel Davis, Security Rhonda Davis, VCC Hostess Andy Dean, Retail Services/Security Hannah Dean, Retail Services Alysha Dolce, Housekeeping Richard Duff, Security Daniel Elliott, Groundskeeping Monica Farmer, Director of Housekeeping & Retail Services Tony Farmer, Director of Wastewater Operations Amiya Ferguson, Food Service Tianna Ferguson, Food Service Catye Forrester, Retail Services Caelyn Forrester, Retail Services Lexie Friess, Housekeeping Ashley Garland, Food Service Dawn Goff, Housekeeping Steve Gunter, Food Service Lilly Hall, Retail Services Tyra Hancock, Food Service Barbara Harvey, Food Service

Alexia Harvey, Food Service Amelia Harvey, Food Service Laura Honeycutt, Retail Services Dakota Jarels, Food Service Elisha Jarels, Food Service Chaz Lepley, Guest Services and Coffee Shop/Ice Cream Sylvia Anne Martin, VCC Hostess Juanita Mitchen, Housekeeping Mary Myers, Retail Services Adam Overstreet, Retail Services Carlos Payne, Food Service Jeff Poff, Water Operator Patty Portnoy, VCC Hostess Mike Ramsey, Water Operator Jeffrey Reed, Food Service George Saunders, Director of Food Service Jim Scranton, Director of Accounting Daniel Shuck, Wastewater/Linen Logan Tate, Groundskeeping Sandy Townsend, VCC Hostess CAMP PIANKATANK Steve Gourley, Director Joe Bridgforth, General Maintenance/Groundskeeper Nicole Gourley, Director of Social Media Jacob Ryan, Retreats Director Kristen Ryan, Summer Camp Director James Turner, Property Manager INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Kirk Walker, Chief Information Officer Melody Fowler, Data Entry Specialist Paula Washburn, Database Manager MARKETING Gary Long, Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Law, Marketing Associate Meghan Wilson, Creative Director SUPPORT MINISTRIES Leslie Straw, Team Coordinator Jacqueline Anderson, Receptionist Cathleen Aplin, Accountant Beth Barth, Administrative Assistant Donna Carlson, Accountant Gail Mickey, Receptionist Noah Rogers, Properties Manager Martha Washington, Administrative Assistant Tammy Williams, Payroll/Benefits and Accounting Specialist

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Ministry Partners

Agencies and Institutions Aligned with BGAV in its 200th Anniversary Year Averett University | Tiffany Franks, President Baptist Extension Board | David Washburn Bluefield University | David Olive, President Fork Union Military Academy |David L. Coggins, President Gardner-Webb University | Dr. William M. Downs, President GraceInside | Randy Myers, President Hargrave Military Academy | Eric Peterson, President HopeTree Family Services | Jon Morris, President Oak Hill Academy | Michael Groves, President Leland Seminary (formerly The John Leland Center for Theological Studies) | Kenneth Pruitt, President EverBless (formerly Virginia Baptist Foundation) | Todd Fuller, President Virginia Baptist Historical Society and The Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies | Nathan L. Taylor, Executive Director LifeSpire of Virginia (formerly Virginia Baptist Homes) | Jonathan Cook, President Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia | Valerie Carter-Smith, Executive Director Baptist House of Studies, Duke University | Curtis Freeman, Director Campbell University Divinity School | Andrew Wakefield, Dean Northern Seminary | Karen Walker Freeburg, Acting President McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University | Dr. Gregory DeLoach, Dean Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty | Amanda Tyler, Executive Director Baptist News Global | Mark Wingfield, Executive Director Ministering to Ministers Foundation and Center for Lifelong Learning, Columbia Theological Seminary | Israel Galindo, Associate Dean Baptist Ministers Relief Fund of Virginia | William Thurston, Trustee Baptist World Alliance | Elijah Brown, General Secretary

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Historical Timeline

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History Highlights

When & How Virginia Baptists Were “Called to Be...” by fred anderson

“Let us mark the means by which our [Virginia Baptist] success has been attained, that we may continue their diligent use. The history will demonstrate that success has been due to a humble, affectionate and faithful presentation of the gospel to perishing sinners. The degree of prosperity enjoyed by our denomination in the State should fill us with gratitude to God, not self-confidence, with humility, not pride.” – Jeremiah Bell Jeter, 1859


John Smyth (c1570-1612) founded the first identifiable Baptist church in Holland; and in time, these believers became identified as General Baptists with the name “General” coming from their belief in a “general atonement,” that Christ’s death was for all who voluntarily believed in Christ. Smyth had been an Anglican, Puritan, Separatist and eventually a Baptist. He published books critical of the established state church, the Church of England or known as the Anglican Church. In 1606 he and a layman, Thomas Helwys, became associated with a group of English Separatists. Members of the group of non-conformists were so harassed by King James I that they fled to Amsterdam where they were baptized.


Thomas Helwys led a group of baptized believers to return to England and establish a church in London which is considered the first Baptist church on English soil. While in Amsterdam, the group had drawn a Declaration of Faith which included that baptism applied to believers only.


Helwys published his A Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity, “in which he upheld universal religious liberty, freedom of conscience for all, and declared that whether men be heretics, Turks, Jews, or whatever, the earthly power had no power to punish them for their views or to be intolerant of them.”


Long before any known Baptists arrived in the Colony of Virginia, Henry

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Jacob, an English Separatist, arrived in Jamestown where he died in 1624. Jacob (1563-1624) figured in the origin of Particular Baptists. Around 1603 he was among those who called for reforms in the Church of England. In 1616 he gathered an independent Separatist church in London which became known as “the JLJ Church” after its first three pastors: Jacob; John Lathrop; and Henry Jessey. By the 1630s, out of its membership came the first Particular Baptists in England, a group which held to a “particular atonement” or the belief that Christ died for “particular” persons or the “elect”.


Banished from Massachusetts, Roger Williams took refuge among the Indians, learning their language, and established a settlement at Providence which became the nucleus of the future state of Rhode Island. He was baptized in 1639 and founded a Baptist church yet later he became a Seeker. He determined that Rhode Island be a haven for persecuted persons of every religious persuasion.


A non-conforming independent church formed in Nansemond County at the home of Richard Bennett, a Puritan. While not Baptist by name, there may have been some Baptists within the independent church.


Some few Baptists may have lived in Old Rappahannock County (now Essex).


A journal of an early Baptist leader in Rhode Island recorded that on April 2 a ship “came from Furgeny [Virginia]”

with “26 souls - 5 of them baptized.” Those from “Furgeny” were of like order with the Rhode Island Baptists but perhaps their ship had just been blown off course and accidentally were “from Furgeny.”


London Confession of Faith became a standard.


On January 23, Thomas Story, an English Quaker, attended a meeting in “York City” Virginia “at the house of one Thos. Bonger [or more likely Benge or Benger], a Preacher among the General Baptists…” The first documented evidence of some Baptists in the Colony of Virginia. The Quaker visitor also noted that the locals treated the Baptist preacher in a rude manner but that, in time, “he brought them pretty nigh over.”


Philadelphia Baptist Association formed. In time, several early Virginia Baptist churches joined the Philadelphia which became a model for numerous early associations.


A letter arrived in Canterbury, England from Baptist settlers in Prince George County, Virginia requesting that ministers be sent to preach the Word. The Kentish Baptist Association elected two “messengers”: Robert Norden, an elder of Warbleton Church in County Sussex and Thomas White of Sevenoaks Church in County Kent. In May, 1714, the General Assembly of the General Baptist Churches in England endorsed the action of the Kentish Association and commissioned the two ministers as

“messengers” with duties “to preach the Gospel where it is not known; to plant churches where there is none; to ordain Elders in churches remote, and to assist in dispensing the Holy Mysteries.” They were urged to go to Virginia with “all Convenient Speed.” Funds to support the “messengers” were to come from churches in the Kentish Association. Thomas White died on the ocean voyage.


On June 14, Robert Norden took the prescribed oaths before the Prince George County Court. On the same day, a Baptist layman, Matthew Marks, petitioned the court “that his house be entered as a publick meeting house for these persons called Anabaptists.” The following month, the court also licensed the home of another layman, Nicholas Robertson, as a “publick meeting house for the Sect of Annabaptists.” With two meeting locations, Norden gathered the transplanted Baptists and constituted what is traditionally regarded as the first known Baptist church in Virginia. Some have referred to the church as “the Prince George Church” while others have called it “Burleigh (or Burley)” which was a place location in Isle of Wight County. Jay Worrall, Jr. in his book The Friendly Virginians: America’s First Quakers states that, at first, Norden “arranged with the Quakers of Burleigh Meeting on Ward’s Creek to hold Baptist meetings in their meetinghouse on Sunday afternoons.” About 1716, Norden wrote back to England “of the promising prospect to plant the Gospell in those parts” and reported that he had baptized 18 persons. He traveled across a wide area by horseback, holding “great Meetings” for which “they come many miles.”


At least two other ministers came from England to assist Norden but they fell ill and returned. Norden continued to appeal for his replacement but the English Baptists seemed to have lost interest in “the Virginia mission.” Norden chose not to desert his congregation and even confined to his bed, he would “preach to ye people.” He died in Virginia in 1725 “in a good Old Age.” In 1727, a replacement, Richard Jones, came from England and became pastor of the church which Norden had planted.


Philadelphia Confession of Faith became a standard for many Baptist churches in America and it included hymn singing and laying on of hands. The Kehukee Association of North Carolina (1765), which in time included some Virginia churches and the Ketocton of Virginia (1766) adopted the Philadelphia Confession.


Mill Creek Church (sometimes called Opekon) organized by General Baptists in Frederick County, Virginia (site now in Berkeley County, West Virginia). Related to the Philadelphia Association and, in 1751, designated Regular Baptist.


Ketocton Church constituted in Loudoun County, Virginia and admitted into the Philadelphia Association.


Martha (Stearns) and Daniel Marshall of New England migrated south and were baptized at Mill Creek Church and soon joined by Martha’s brother, Shubael Stearns, who had become a Baptist minister in 1751. The Marshalls, Stearns and others in their group became known as Separate Baptists. They encouraged preaching by both men and women. Indeed, Martha Stearns Marshall was described as “a lady of good sense, singular piety, and surprising elocution [who] in countless instances, melted a whole concourse into tears by her prayers and exhortations.” In 1755, Shubael Stearns and others relocated to Guilford County, North Carolina (now Randolph) where they constituted Sandy Creek Baptist Church. The Marshalls settled in Georgia. The Sandy Creek Separate Baptists sent preachers into Southern and Central Virginia who held evangelistic services and churches were planted.


Smith’s Creek Church constituted in the Shenandoah Valley with Lynville’s Creek MH as an “arm” of the church.


Sandy Creek Baptist Association organized at Sandy Creek Meeting House in North Carolina and all of the early Separate Baptist churches

constituted in Virginia joined the Association. In 1770-71, the Association divided and the Virginia churches formed the Rapidann Baptist Association.


Daniel Marshall and Philip Mulkey constituted Dan River Baptist Church, Pittsylvania County, the first Separate Baptist church in Virginia.


Broad Run Baptist Church, Fauquier County, constituted with David Thomas as pastor. A minister of classical education, Thomas was eloquent and influential. He promoted the cause of religious liberty and experienced violent persecution for conscience’s sake. He penned the following plea for liberty:

“‘Tis all one voice, they all agree, ‘God made us, and we must be free.’ Freedom we crave, with every breath, An equal freedom, or a death. The heav’nly blessing freely give, Or make an act we shall not live. Tax all things: water, air, and light, If need there be: yea, tax the night; But let our brave, heroic minds Move freely as celestial winds. Make vice and folly feel your rod, But leave our consciences to God.” Pungo (later named Oak Grove) Baptist Church, Princess Anne County (now Virginia Beach) also was constituted in 1762.


Kehukee Baptist Association organized about 1765 in Halifax County, North Carolina and in 1772 began to admit southeastern Virginia churches, both Regular and Separate.


Ketocton Baptist Association formed in Northern Virginia by four “Regular Baptist” churches.


First imprisonments of Baptist ministers in Virginia for preaching the Gospel. In Spotsylvania County, John Waller, Lewis Craig, James Read, James Chiles and William Mash were accused as “great disturbers of the peace [who] cannot meet a man upon the road but they

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Daniel Marshall, Persecuted in Pittsylvania

Virginia Baptists Whose Persecution Helped Secure Religious Liberty

William Marshall, Arrested in Fauquier

John Afferman, Beaten in Middlesex

Thomas Mastin, Persecuted in Orange

William Mash, Imprisoned in Spotsylvania

John Alderson, Imprisoned In Botetourt

Thomas Maxwell, Imprisoned in Culpeper

Thomas Ammon, Imprisoned in Culpeper

Edward Mintz, Attempt made to drown him in Nansemond

Joseph Anthony, Imprisoned in Chesterfield

Anderson Moffett, Imprisoned in Culpeper

Elijah Baker, Imprisoned in Accomac

Jeremiah Moore, Assaulted by mob, imprisoned three times in Fairfax

Adam Banks, Imprisoned in Culpeper David Barrow, Attempt to drown him in Nansemond John Burrus, Imprisoned in Caroline Thomas Chambers, Imprisoned in Orange Rane Chastain, Endured threats in Chesterfield James Chiles, Imprisoned in Spotsylvania Bartholomew Choning (Chewning), layman imprisoned in Caroline Eleazar Clay, Escaped whipping in Chesterfield John Clay, Imprisoned John Corbley, Imprisoned in Orange and Culpeper Elijah Craig, Imprisoned in Orange and Culpeper Joseph Craig, Persecuted in Spotsylvania and Orange Lewis Craig, Imprisoned in Spotsylvania and Caroline John Delaney, Imprisoned in Culpeper Augustine Eastin, Imprisoned in Chesterfield for preaching Richard Elkins, Threatened in Pittsylvania Richard Falkner, Arrested in Middlesex Daniel Fristoe, Threatened with a gun in Stafford William Fristoe, Threatened with a gun in Stafford James Goolrich, Imprisoned in Caroline James Greenwood, Imprisoned in King & Queen and Middlesex Thomas Hargate, Imprisoned in Amherst Samuel Harris, Imprisoned in Loudon, arrested in Culpeper, assaulted in Orange Edward Herndon, Imprisoned in Caroline James Ireland, Imprisoned in Culpeper where attempts were made to kill him Martin Kaufman, Beaten in Shenandoah John Koontz, Beaten and arrested in Shenandoah Dutton Lane, Threatened in Pittsylvania John Leland, Threatened with a gun in Orange, threatened for baptizing a woman in James City County against the will of her husband Iverson Lewis, Arrested in Essex, threatened in Gloucester William Lovall, Imprisoned in King & Queen for preaching Lewis Lunsford, Threatened across the Northern Neck William McClannahan, Imprisoned in Culpeper Richard Major, Threatened in Fairfax and Fauquier

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Elijah Morton, Removed as a Justice because he was a Baptist Williams Mullins, Brought to court for failing to attend Anglican Church Joseph Murphy, Carried before a magistrate John Picket, Imprisoned in Culpeper and Fauquier Hipkins Pitman, Arrested and threatened with whipping in Caroline James Pitman, Imprisoned in Caroline Younger Pitts, Arrested, abused and released in Caroline James Reed, Imprisoned in Spotsylvania Nathaniel Saunders, Imprisoned in Culpeper John Shackelford, Imprisoned in Essex Joseph Spencer, Imprisoned in Orange Philip Spiller, Imprisoned in Stafford Henry Street, Whipped in Middlesex John Tanner, Imprisoned in Chesterfield, shot in eastern NC for baptizing a woman against the will of her husband John Taylor, Threatened by mobs in Hampshire County (now WV) David Thomas, Threatened with a gun in Orange, with beatings in Stafford, physically removed while preaching in Stafford and in Fauquier David Tinsley, Imprisoned in Chesterfield for preaching Andrew Tribble, Present in court for preaching in Orange Thomas Waford, Layman beaten with whip in Middlesex, arrested in Essex Jeremiah Walker, Imprisoned in Chesterfield, opposed by the Anglican parson in James City County John Waller, Imprisoned in Caroline, Essex, Spotsylvania and Middlesex; whipped with 21 lashes by sheriff in Caroline, hauled about by the hair of his head in Hanover James Ware, Imprisoned in Caroline Robert Ware, Imprisoned in Essex and Middlesex John Weatherford, Imprisoned in Chesterfield jail where he continued to preach to crowds from the window of the jail; hands slashed by a knife while he was preaching from the jail William Webber, Imprisoned in Middlesex and Chesterfield Anderson Weeks, Arrested in Stafford Allen Wyley, Imprisoned in Orange for preaching John Young, imprisoned for five or six months in Caroline for preaching List originally compiled by Lewis Peyton Little and published in his landmark study of the struggle for religious liberty entitled Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia (1938).

must ram a text of Scripture down his throat.” In Fredericksburg, on their way to jail, they sang a hymn, “Broad is the Road that Leads to Death” by Isaac Watts. Over the next ten years, 17681778, some 40 Virginia Baptist ministers were imprisoned or otherwise severely persecuted for their faith. Virginia Baptists faced all manner of social pressures, ridicule and ostracism for following their conscience as nonconformists. They engaged in an effective campaign of non-violent opposition to the enforcement of a state religion; and through perseverance, petitioning and persuasion they were able to secure religious liberty in Virginia and in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.


After having been warned to cease preaching or face imprisonment, James Ireland reckoned: “I counted the cost and believed, through Christ’s strengthening me, I could suffer all things for his sake.” While in prison, he won a convert who became his bodyguard. In April 1770, Ireland was released. He went to Williamsburg with a petition asking Governor Botetourt to permit a Baptist meetinghouse in Culpeper. The governor passed Ireland along to the Anglicans for examination and ultimately the governor and council granted the request.


Virginia Baptists began petitioning for fundamental religious rights and these petitions were sent to the House of Burgesses. The first petitioning concerned the bearing of arms by ministers for common protection and the limitations placed upon Baptist clergy as to where they were allowed to preach. The House of Burgesses did not act upon the petitions.


In May, the Rapidann Baptist Association was formed at Blue Run Meeting House, Orange County, with churches from eleven counties. It was the first Separate Baptist association in Virginia. From it was formed the Strawberry Association in 1776. Rapidann dissolved in 1783 upon division into districts which became Dover (1783), Middle District (1784), and Orange (1789) associations. For a while, Dover was considered the largest district association among the Baptists

Petition of 1772 from Baptists in Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Sussex and Caroline counties: “[S]etting forth that the petitioners, being of the society of Christians called Baptists, find themselves restricted in the exercises of their religion, their teachers imprisoned under various pretences, and the benefits of The Toleration Act denied them, although they are willing to conform to the true spirit of that act, and are loyal and quiet subjects; and, therefore, praying that they may be treated with the same indulgence, in religious matters, as Quakers, Presbyterians and other Protestant dissenters enjoy.” in the United States. Other associations organized in the 18th century were, as follows: Red Stone (1776) in what became West Virginia; Salisbury (1784) which included churches on the Eastern Shore; Holston (1786) in far southwest Virginia; Roanoke (1788) (later called Pittsylvania) which included much of southern Virginia; Chappawamsick (1789) which included churches in the lower end of the Ketocton; Portsmouth (1791); Albemarle (1792) and Goshen (1792), both in central Virginia; Culpeper (1792) (later called Shiloh) in the central part of northern Virginia; New River (1794) west of the Blue Ridge; Mayo (1798) largely composed of churches in Henry and Patrick counties; and Mountain (1799) which encompassed Grayson County.


On September 20, John Waller wrote a letter from his prison cell to the justice of Middlesex County explaining that he could not agree to stop preaching the Gospel “for fear of sinning against God.”

Morgan Edwards’ statistics on Baptists in Virginia indicated dramatic growth since 1714 and the arrival of Robert Norden. In 1772, Edwards showed 67 churches with 3,692 members. Virginia Baptists in several counties began to circulate petitions to be sent to the House of Burgesses. An excerpt from one is shown in the nearby box and it was from Baptists in Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Sussex and Caroline counties. The Amelia County version added for the first time a plea for “liberty of conscience.”


Separate Baptists introduced into Virginia Baptist polity the office of apostle which held for a brief time. Samuel Harris was chosen as apostle for the Southern District. Historian Robert Baylor Semple explained that the

apostle “was to pervade the churches to do, or at least to see, to the work of ordination, and to set in order things that were wanting.” The Northern District appointed John Waller and Elijah Craig as apostles for the north side of the James River. Semple explained the short-lived office: “Either the spirit of free government ran too high among the churches, to submit to such an officer, or the thing was wrong in itself; and not being from God, soon fell. … [It] did not belong to ordinary times.”


Separate Baptists met at DuPuy’s Meeting House in Powhatan County on August 12 and undertook the first organized action in Virginia for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The petitions were to be widely circulated and sent to the Virginia Convention or General Assembly. The DuPuy’s petition stated “that the church establishment be abolished, religion left to stand upon its own merits and all religious societies protected in the peaceable engagement of their own religious principles and modes of worship.” Some 10,000 dissenters including Baptists and Presbyterians and even a dissenting Anglican dared to sign the petition. The large document is in the collection of the Library of Virginia. Petition of 1775 circulated at and beyond DuPuy’s Meeting House: “Your petitioners therefore having long groaned under the burden of an Ecclesiastical Establishment beg leave to move your Honorable House that this as well as every other Yoke may be broken and that the Oppressed may go free; that so every religious Denomination being on a Level, Animosities may cease, and that Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity, may be practiced towards each other, while the Legislature interferes only to support them in their just Rights and equal privileges.”

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Easter Sunday. Elijah Baker arrived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and preached “at the end of a horsing tree” the first Baptist sermon on the Shore. Through the influence of the Established Church, the authorities had Baker deported yet he returned. He was imprisoned at Accomack for preaching the Gospel.


On August 15, Hannah Lee Corbin Hall a daughter of the notable Lee family of Virginia who had left her Anglican roots to become a Baptist - dared to open her home on the Rappahannock River as a preaching site for two Baptists who on the previous day had been threatened with guns simply for preaching the Gospel. In September, another prominent Virginian, “Councillor” Robert Carter of “Nomini Hall” in Westmoreland County, was baptized in Totuskey Creek and joined Morattico Baptist Church, serving for a while as church clerk. At the time Carter was the wealthiest planter in Virginia. Likely under the influence of Virginia Baptists and especially the evangelist John Leland, Carter took the unusual step of freeing some 500 of his slaves.


John Leland noted that “the first Camp Meeting that I ever heard of was attended in Caroline county” in June and, by August, eight or ten Baptist preachers held the meeting three days and nights…” Camp Meetings became popular gatherings for evangelism and fellowship in the late 18th century and throughout much of the 19th century. In 1831, Jeremiah Bell Jeter organized the first Baptist camp meeting for the Northern Neck, preaching alongside two other noted Virginia Baptist preachers, John Kerr and James B. Taylor. The meeting was held near Lancaster Courthouse at a place called “Ball’s Wood” and there a young woman, Henrietta Hall (later Shuck), made her confession of faith. She would become the first female Baptist missionary from America to China.


“Negro Lewis” preached before racially mixed gatherings for at least 13 years across the Northern Neck of Virginia. In the journal of Richard Dozier there are

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accounts of Lewis’ preaching before 300 and 400 people with “his gift [which] exceeded many white preachers.”


General Committee formed as successor to the General Association of Separate Baptists with the function of addressing political grievances of Virginia Baptists. In 1785 the General Committee opposed a proposed bill for general assessment whereby taxes would be collected to support all Christian churches thereby maintaining a union between church and state. Baptists were the only organized group which consistently opposed the bill. Under the leadership of James Madison and faced with so much opposition, the General Assessment Bill did not pass. The Baptist concept of separation of church and state was largely achieved in the defeat of this bill.


John Leland spent 15 years of his ministry in Virginia. After a brief pastorate of Mount Poney Baptist Church (now known as Culpeper Baptist Church) he concentrated on itinerant preaching which took him across Virginia and even into the Carolinas. About 1785 he preached “at the royal pavilion” of a Virginia Indian “king” named John Tohon in Eastern Virginia “in the bend of Pamunky [sic] river, a little below New Castle [where there was] an Indian town… [with] about seventy-five proprietors.” Leland wrote: “After preaching, I baptized two persons, and then heard the king preach; for, like Melchizedeck, he was priest as well as king. I ate a good dinner with the king, slept in his apartment the following night, and left the town in the morning.” Philip Montague of Essex County, ordained in 1809, also was another Baptist minister said to have been “one of the very first ministers to preach to the Virginia Indians.”

“The Great Revival” began and spread across Virginia until about 1792. “Thousands were converted and baptized.” It moved through most of the Christian denominations. The Baptist associations which were “most powerfully marked” included Dover, Goshen, Culpeper (which included a wide area from Orange into the Shenandoah), and Ketocton.

Hymn singing was part of the Great Revival which spread through Virginia. Among those lured by the singing to attend Baptist meetings was Andrew Broaddus of Caroline County. He likened Baptist singing to that of “choirs of angels.” He compiled two hymnals used by Virginia Baptists: The Dover Selection of Spiritual Songs (1828) and The Virginia Selection of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (1836).


Act for Establishing Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson endorsed by the General Association of Separate Baptists in 1779 which agreed that it “puts religious freedom upon its proper basis, prescribes it just limits on the power of the state, with regard to religion, and properly guards against partiality towards any religious denomination.” The Act was approved by the Virginia General Assembly on January, 19, 1786. In part, it states: “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever…nor suffer on account of religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion…”


Realizing how the mighty hand of God had worked among His people, the General Association of Separate Baptists called for a written history of Virginia Baptists. The following year, the General Committee appointed five leaders among the Baptists to collect materials for compiling and publishing a history. By 1790, two men - John Leland and John Williams - were to undertake the project but ultimately the project fell upon Robert Baylor Semple who published History of the Rise and the Progress of Baptists in Virginia in 1810. Semple’s History was “revised and extended” by G.W. Beale in 1894.


The General Committee of Baptists in Virginia felt that religious liberty was not sufficiently secured in James Madison’s draft of the United States Constitution. John Leland, an influential Baptist minister, sent ten objections to Madison including the tenth which stated: “What is clearest of all - Religious Liberty is not sufficiently Secured…” Madison visited Orange County and called upon his

neighbor, Leland, and promised to work for amendments to the Constitution if it was adopted. On March 23, Leland stood before a crowd chiefly composed of Baptists in Orange County at a place called Gum Spring and shared that Madison would work for an amendment on religious freedom. Baptist support helped elect Madison to the first Congress. In 1789 Madison proposed the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It was adopted and thereby secured religious liberty into the governing document of the new Republic. Today the Goshen Baptist Association maintains the Leland-Madison Park in Orange County six miles east of Orange on Route 20 which contains an historical marker on Leland’s influence.


Jacob Bishop, a slave belonging to the Baptist preacher Elijah Baker, learned his own preaching skills and religious knowledge from Baker and occupied the same preaching platform with him on some of Baker’s preaching journeys including on April 27, 1789, at Farnham MH in the Northern Neck. A white man present at the preaching wrote his impressions of Jacob: “A most wonderful preacher. Oh see God choosing the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty.” In 1791, Elijah Baker freed Jacob Bishop “to act for himself.” In 1795, Bishop began preaching in Norfolk where “his preaching was much admired, both by saints and sinners, for some time wherever he went.” For a while he was the preacher for the Portsmouth and Norfolk Church (later known as Court Street Baptist Church). First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protected religious liberty.


The General Committee of Baptists opposed slavery. On May 8, the General Committee adopted the following resolution written by John Leland: “Resolved, that slavery is a violent deprivation of the rights of nature, and inconsistent with a republican government, and therefore recommend it to our brethren, to make use of every legal measure to extricate this horrid evil from the land; and pray Almighty God

that our honorable Legislature may have it in their power to proclaim the great Jubilee…”


While most Black Baptists were members of mixed-race churches in Virginia, there were a few independent Black churches in early years. “The Dover Association admitted a church ‘of people of color’ in Williamsburg in 1791. Gillfield was a member of the Portsmouth Association since 1810 and the ‘African Church in Petersburg’ (Harrison Street) since 1828. The withdrawal in 1818 of its white members to form Cumberland Street (later called ‘First’) left the First Church of Norfolk (organized in 1804) to its Black membership.”

John Asplund’s Register indicated further growth of Virginia Baptists despite the period of heavy persecution. He counted 204 churches with 20,443 members.


On October 16, the Roanoke (now Pittsylvania) Baptist Association paid the owner of Simon, “a negro man slave … in order to set the said negro Simon free as we think him ordained of God to preach the Gospel.” The modern missions movement was dawning in England with the clarion call from a shoe cobbler, William Carey, who published a book on the “Obligations of Christians to use means for the Conversion of the Heathen.” Also in the same year, he preached “the deathless sermon” which provided the turning point in Baptist history towards missions. His famous words were “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” Nearer year’s end, at the home of the widow Martha Wallace in Kettering, the Baptist Missionary Society was formed. Carey accepted appointment as a missionary to India. In time the missionary spirit would take hold of Virginia Baptists.


Eleazar Clay, who had supported the imprisoned Baptist ministers in the Chesterfield jail, himself became a minister; and in 1793, he published Hymns and Spiritual Songs which, as cited by hymnologist Paul Richardson, was “the first of his denomination in

America to publish ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound.’”


Ketocton Association took a stand against hereditary slavery and even drew up a plan for gradual emancipation. Dover Association also considered the slavery issue and recommended that “our Brethren unite with the Abolition society, proposing a petition to the General Assembly, for gradual emancipation, upon some rational and benevolent plan.”


The General Committee’s main purpose was to influence the complete separation of church and state and once that had been assured, the Committee dissolved. Some felt that the Committee had exercised authority which belonged only to the churches and district associations yet there was agreement that some organization was needed to succeed the Committee. In 1800, at Lyles MH in Fluvanna County, the General Meeting of Correspondence was formed to promote interest and harmony among Virginia Baptists. In the spirit of autonomy, the General Meeting had no power over churches or associations. William Webber, who was one of the imprisoned preachers during the struggle for religious liberty, was the first moderator and served until his death in 1807.


Virginia Baptists from several associations met at Lyle’s Baptist Church in Fluvanna County to attempt the adoption of a Confession of Faith. Earlier, most had followed the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. Delegates attempted over four years to revise the Philadelphia Confession but were not successful. In 1806 the Ketocton Association published its revision of the Philadelphia entitled The Baptist Declaration of Faith, Revised and Adapted by Several District Associations of the United Baptists of Virginia. It was the last attempt at the adoption of a general confession of faith by all Virginia Baptists.

The Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes was organized in America “two months before William Carey [the English Baptist who launched

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the modern missions movement] baptized his first convert in India.” The missions movement gained a toe-hold in America and soon would spread to Virginia.


Throughout the 19th century numerous new district associations were formed as growth dictated. Some associations merged and some left the “missionary Baptists” to become “anti-missions” or Primitive Baptists. The following associations first appeared in the 19th century: Accomack (1809); Appomattox (1804); Augusta (1876); Blue Ridge (1858); Broad Run (1835) (WV); Clinch Valley (1856); Columbia (1820); Concord (1833); Dan River (1839); Ebenezer (1828); Greenbrier (1801); Hebron (1857); James River (1832); Jefferson (1848); Judson (1847) (WV); Lebanon (1846); Meherrin (1804); Mt. Pisgah (1854) (WV); Northwestern Virginia (1850) (WV); Parkersburg (1812) (WV); Patterson’s Creek (1827) (WV); Pig River (1825); Potomac (1856); Powell River (1894); Rappahannock (1843); Salem Union (1833); Shenandoah (1882); Teay’s Valley (1812) (WV); Valley (1841) became Roanoke Valley (1961); Washington (1811); Western Virginia (1843) (WV); and Zion (1848).


The Portsmouth Association sparked missions interest in Virginia by joining with the Kehukee Association to promote missions. Historian Garnett Ryland called it “the beginning in Virginia of interest in organizing for missionary purposes.” The next year there was formed the Baptist Philanthropic Missionary Society with its focus upon missionary work in the Creek Nation of Indians. In 1806 the Goshen Association first endorsed “the spread of the Gospel by missionaries.” (From the 1840s-60s, the Goshen Missionary Board sponsored missions work in China, among the Chinese in California, among Indian tribes, as well as the planting of several Baptist churches from Staunton to Bristol.)


The General Meeting sent a letter of appreciation to President Thomas Jefferson on the eve of his retirement from public life. In his reply, Jefferson acknowledged “the efforts of the friends of religious freedom and the success

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with which they were crowned.” In 1809, the Buck Mountain Baptist Church (later called Chestnut Grove) in Albemarle County sent their congratulatory letter to the retiring president to which Jefferson replied: “We have acted together from the origin to the end of a memorable Revolution, and we have contributed each in the line allotted to us our endeavors to render its issues a permanent blessing to our country.”


Robert Baylor Semple was the first president of the BGAV, serving from 1823-1825. He was among the leading Baptists in America, serving the last ten years of his life, 1821-31, simultaneously as moderator of the Dover Baptist Association and president of the Triennial Convention, the Virginia Baptist Missionary Society, and Columbian College in the District of Columbia. For over forty years, 1790-1831, he was pastor of Bruington Baptist Church in King and Queen County where he and his wife, Ann Loury Semple, are buried.

Robert Baylor Semple’s landmark history, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, was self-published and printed in Richmond. Semple gave an accounting of the beginnings and the growth of the Baptist presence and information on the early groups of General, Regular and Separate Baptists. He also indicated that the growth had produced 294 churches with about 31,000 members as well as 19 district associations. His book was revised and extended by George W. Beale in 1894.


Luther Rice made his first visit among Virginia Baptists, speaking, preaching and raising funds for missions. Rice went with Ann and Adoniram Judson as Congregationalist missionaries to India and there they became Baptists and Rice returned to promote missions, education and denominationalism among the scattered Baptists. His visit in 1813 resulted in the formation on October 28 of the Richmond Baptist Mission Society (later named the Baptist Mission Society of Virginia). Earlier in the spring of 1813 the Female Missionary Society of the Richmond Baptist Church (later First Baptist Church) was constituted. It was “the first Baptist society organized in the South specifically for the support of foreign missions.” On November 23,

1814, Baptist women of Fredericksburg organized the Fredericksburg Female Baptist Society for Foreign Missions “to aid the sister Society in Richmond” and its members subscribed at least one dollar annually.


“The Triennial Convention”, the first national denominational organization for Baptists in the USA, was organized in Philadelphia on May 18. Its official name was “The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions” but took the nickname of “Triennial” because it met only once every three years. Robert Baylor Semple, pastor of Bruington Baptist Church in King and Queen County, and Jacob Grigg, operator of a school in Richmond, were the Virginia representatives at the founding meeting. Semple served as president of “The Triennial Convention,” 1820-31.


African Baptist Missionary Society organized in Virginia to gather funds for missions work in Africa. Robert Baylor Semple was its president and Lott Cary, a former slave born in Charles City County and a member of First Baptist Church, Richmond, was secretary.


First Sunday school organized in Richmond at the Richmond (later First) Baptist Church. Schools soon opened across Virginia; and in time, a statewide Sunday School Board was formed alongside the BGAV. Still later, a Sunday School Department was part of the BGAV’s Mission Board staff.


Lott Cary (1780-1828) was born into slavery in Charles City County. By the early 1800s, he had moved to Richmond where he worked in the tobacco warehouses. He joined the Richmond Baptist Church (later known as First) in 1807. He was educated in the school which William Crane, a white member of the church, operated for Blacks over his shoe store on Broad Street. Cary and a fellow student in Crane’s school, Collin Teague, earned enough money to purchase their freedom and that of their wives and children. They began to preach and won the support of prominent white ministers. They and other Blacks met in the home of William Crane and constituted the Providence Baptist Church.

They were active in the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society; and when they were called to serve as missionaries in Liberia, they took the Providence Baptist Church with them. It still exists as a church in Monrovia, Liberia. Blanche Sydnor White, the eminent missions historian, declared it to be “the first Baptist church of missionary origin on the continent of Africa.”

Lott Cary and Collin Teague, who had purchased their own freedom from slavery, were accepted in 1819 by the Triennial Convention as missionaries to Africa, ordained by First Baptist Church, Richmond, and, in 1821, went to Liberia under the sponsorship of the Richmond Foreign Mission Society as the first missionaries from Virginia to a foreign land. Several Blacks from Richmond went together and planted the Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, which continues as a Baptist witness. Later, Cary was an appointee of the Triennial Convention. He also became governor of Liberia. Today the Lott Cary Baptist Foreign Missionary Society coordinated by Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley also continues to support the cause of missions among indigenous people in some 20 countries. Columbian College was incorporated in the District of Columbia and was intended to educate Baptists, especially those destined for the ministry. Virginia Baptists supplied more students than any other state. Robert Baylor Semple was on its first Board of Trustees and briefly president of the school. Luther Rice was an agent collecting funds for the school from Baptists. In 1904 Baptist connections were severed and the school became George Washington University. The General Meeting of Correspondence held in June in Charlottesville drew an attendance of three: Edward Edward Baptist Baptist, James Fife and Thornton Stringfellow. Baptist and Fife headed homeward together on their horses, riding along as far as Fife’s home in Goochland.

Recollections of the Founding in 1823 of the BGAV by James Fife as Given at the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting of 1873: “The general meeting of correspondence had existed over twenty years. The constitution of this body gave to the delegates almost nothing to do, and it was easy to be seen that unless they could be engaged in something that might be thought beneficial the meetings would be but thinly attended. Accordingly they dwindled down so that the last meeting, which was held in Charlottesville, had only three delegates - brothers Thornton Stringfellow from Shiloh [Association], James Fife from Goshen [Association], and Edward Baptist, Middle District [Association]. The attendance being so small, and no officer of the body being present, there was no business done. Two days were spent in preaching, when we separated. Brother Stringfellow took the road leading to Barboursville; brother Baptist and myself rode down on the bank of the Rivanna. It was here that we conceived the plan for the General Association.” “As there were over twenty associations in the State, and if we could only get one delegate from each association at our first meeting, we could diffuse a spirit of earnest inquiry as to the destitution of our State, and the means of meeting that destitution. Considering the great jealousy that existed in the minds of the brethren against combinations, we concluded to call the meeting by a term more familiar to them than the word convention.” “To give the gospel to perishing sinners in our own State nobody we supposed would seriously oppose. In addition to sending the gospel to the destitute it was very desirable that we should become acquainted with one another…” “When the day came for the first meeting in 1823, the number was small. There were two things that turned out for good. The brethren who met entered upon the work with earnest desire for its advancement, and the first missionaries were the excellent of the earth. The brethren saw that the business to be done was such as every Christian ought to engage in, and not to stop till every nook and corner of the State was blessed with the preached word.” At the BGAV’s 50th Anniversary Meeting in 1873, Fife recalled that they rode along the bank of the Rivanna River and “it was here that we James Fife conceived the plan for the General Association.” The two men immediately began to solicit the opinions and advice of others and laid plans for the first meeting in 1823 at the Second Baptist Church of Richmond.

organization which was approved and recommended to the various district associations. A promotional address was written by David Roper of Second Baptist Church and John Bryce of First Baptist Church, both of Richmond, and messengers were appointed to visit the associations not already represented and to read the address to them.



In the meantime between the close of the General Meeting of Correspondence and the formation of the General Association, it was required that there be a final gathering of the General Meeting. It was held at First Baptist Church of Richmond in June. The intention was for the new organization to be “a domestic missionary society.” Luther Rice was present on behalf of the Triennial Convention. Edward Baptist presented a draft of a constitution for the new

Sharon Baptist Church in King William County uses the same building which was the Second Baptist Church of Richmond in 1823 when it hosted the founding meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

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The BGAV Constitution: A Living Document Edward Baptist was the author of the BGAV Constitution which was adopted at the founding of the organization. Educated at Hampden-Sydney College, he is believed to have been the first college graduate to enter the Baptist ministry in Virginia. He was an evangelist and denominational leader. He took the lead in organizing the Baptist General Association of Virginia as well as the Virginia Baptist Education Society which encouraged prospective ministers to study under older, experienced ministers. Under sponsorship of the Education Society, Baptist himself taught ministerial students at his home, “Dunlora,” in Powhatan County, beginning in 1830. He instructed the students without financial compensation. “Dunlora Academy” is considered the earliest predecessor school to what became the University of Richmond. The constitution of the BGAV is a living document and, as such, it and its bylaws have been revised, amended and enlarged across two centuries. It is interesting that at least two significant phrases from Edward Baptist’s original draft remain in spirit and somewhat in actual wording. First, the stated Purpose which in 1823 was as follows: “It shall be the entire object of this General Association to propagate the Gospel and advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom throughout the State, by supplying vacant churches with the preached word, and by sending preachers into destitute regions within the limits of the State.” The present wording is as follows: “The object of the General Association shall be to furnish the Baptist churches of the General Association a means of cooperation for the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the advancement of the Redeemer’s Kingdom by all methods in accordance with the Word of God.” A second similarity is the insistence upon local church autonomy. In 1823, the constitution included the following: “shall in no case interfere with the internal regulations of the churches or associations.” In Article II on the organization’s purpose, the present constitution reads, as follows: “There shall be full recognition of the autonomy of the local churches.” On Saturday, June 7 the first meeting of the General Association was held at the Second Baptist Church in Richmond. As J.B. Jeter recalled: “[Second Church was] a building then incomplete, situated on a cross street between Main and Cary.” Fifteen “messengers” attended as representatives of the various district associations. Local Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches invited the Baptist ministers to preach before their congregations on Sunday. The first officers of the BGAV were Robert Baylor Semple, moderator and treasurer, William Todd, recorder (clerk), and David Roper, corresponding secretary. Semple preached the first sermon before the body from the text of Hebrews 13:16: “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” A Board of Managers consisting of 21 persons was appointed to conduct the business of the BGAV between annual sessions.

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Note: The original name for the new organization was the General Association of Baptists in Virginia. In 1829 the name was changed to General Association of Virginia for Missionary Purposes. In 1855 the name was changed to the more pleasing configuration of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and thus it has remained to its 200th anniversary.

In August the Board of Managers met at the home of Andrew Broaddus in Caroline. The major business was the appointment of two state missionaries. Jeremiah Bell Jeter and Daniel Witt, both 21-year-old farmer-preachers from Bedford County, had been present at the June 1823 founding meeting of the BGAV; and they were appointed as the self-styled “Bedford Plowboys.” Their assignment was to tour western Virginia and southeastern Virginia, preach wherever they went, and assess the religious climate of the areas which would help the Board determine where Baptist churches might be planted.

The missionaries each were to receive $30 a month. In October the “Bedford Plowboys” left Bedford on horseback. Jeter wrote: “Two young men, one beardless and the other nearly so, might have been seen journeying toward the setting sun. They were rudely equipped for their tour, mounted on steeds strong but not gay, with well-stuffed saddle-bags, and overcoats and umbrellas strapped behind them. It was to them a movement of no little interest and consequence.” Their first tour’s destination was the New River Association which required their travel and occasional preaching to include the counties of Franklin, Henry, Patrick, Montgomery, Grayson, Giles, Wythe, Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Alleghany, Bath, Rockbridge and Botetourt. They preached wherever a few gathered whether in meeting houses, log cabins, homes, schoolhouses or courthouses. In most places they were well received; however, in some they were greeted with suspicion “as spies sent to search out the resources of the country.” In December, the missionaries headed towards the east, traveling and preaching through Campbell, Prince Edward, Lunenburg, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Sussex, Southampton, Isle of Wight, James City, York, Gloucester, Matthews, and Middlesex. Along the way, Witt kept a journal of their activities. He noted that the area of Sussex and Isle of Wight had been where the first Baptist work had been done a century earlier yet they found the area “destitute of preaching.” In January 1824, the “Bedford Plowboys” reported to the Board of Managers at their meeting held at “Traveler’s Rest,” the home of Philip Gatewood near Upper King and Queen Baptist Church. The Board engaged Jeter to return to Sussex and surrounding area and Witt to preach in and around Williamsburg after a few months of study under Robert Baylor Semple. In Williamsburg, Witt met with Baptist females for worship in the Colonial Powder Magazine and from these meetings was formed the Williamsburg Baptist Church. After Williamsburg, Witt and James Leftwich revisited portions of western Virginia which the Plowboys had explored.

The General Association had barely begun when a possible source of dissension began to appear. Alexander Campbell began publication of The Christian Baptist at Buffalo, Virginia (now Bethany, WV). In his monthly publication he “attacked Missionary, Bible, Sunday School and Tract societies as ‘engines’ of ‘priestly ambition.’” He also opposed the organization of churches into associations as well as the adoption of confessions of faith. He was against anything not literally sanctioned in the New Testament. Characterizing himself as a “reformer,” he began to speak at various Virginia Baptist churches and associations. Semple invited him to preach at Bruington in King and Queen and later wrote to Campbell that “your views are generally so contrary to those of Baptists in general, that if a party were to go fully into practice of your principles, I should say a new sect had sprung up, radically different from the Baptists…” Campbellism began to divide churches and associations into the 1830s. Campbell’s ministry and the division gave rise in time to the Disciples of Christ denomination. Recollections of the Organizational Meeting of the General Association, 1823 “These good brethren built more wisely than they knew. They laid the foundations of an edifice of whose noble proportions and grandeur they formed no just conception. How would their hearts have swelled with gratitude and their tongues broke forth in strains of praise could they have foreseen the thousands of souls that would be converted, and the mighty missionary and educational influences that would be exerted by the feeble agencies they were putting in operation. If it is permitted to them in heaven to know the results of their earthly labors, their felicity is doubtless augmented by their view of the rich harvests that have been reaped, and are yet to be reaped, from the handful of seed cast by them in a seemingly unfruitful soil.” – Jeremiah Bell Jeter (1802-1880) who was present at the founding of the BGAV, served as one of its first missionaries and, much later, as its president and one of the leading Baptist editors and pastors in the United States

The First Members of the Board of Managers Robert Baylor Semple, King and Queen County William Todd, King and Queen County William Fleet, King and Queen County James Webb, King and Queen County B.W. Lester, Charlotte County David Roper, Richmond Philip Montague, Essex County Andrew Broaddus, Caroline County John Jenkins, Cumberland County Edward Baptist, Powhatan County Samuel Davidson, Campbell County John S. Lee, Lynchburg William Leftwich, Bedford County James Ellison, Monroe County (WV) Valentine M. Mason, Lexington John Goss, Albemarle County Addison M. Lewis, Spotsylvania County James Fife, Goochland County John Bryce, Alexandria John L. Dagg, Loudoun County Samuel Cornelius, Norfolk


The second meeting of the General Association was held in Lynchburg in “Mr. Dillard’s school room” in June. Sixteen messengers attended. The Female Missionary Societies of Goochland, of Fluvanna, at South Anna MH, and in Lynchburg sent contributions. The financial report for the first year revealed $484.06 ½ in gifts to the new organization.


The Virginia Society for the Promotion of Temperance was organized by Abner Clopton at Ash Camp MH. The Temperance Society spread across a large area of Virginia. The Evangelical Inquirer began publication in October in Richmond with Henry Keeling as editor and publisher. With a monthly magazine format, the publication was short-lived yet sufficiently successful to morph into a weekly religious newspaper, the Religious Herald.


On January 11, the first issue of the Religious Herald, a newspaper primarily intended for Baptist readers, was published in Richmond with Henry Keeling as editor and William Sands, publisher. William Crane, a prominent Baptist layman in Richmond, loaned Sands $677 to purchase a press and

for initial expenses. Although it concentrated on Virginia Baptists, the paper soon became a nationally-read denominational paper.


The BGAV Constitution was amended so as to receive individuals - “any person contributing ten dollars annually” - as well as churches, associations and missionary societies as members of the General Association; and as such, they could appoint a representative to attend annual meetings. The change also stated that “no person shall be entitled to a seat in this Association who is not a Baptist in good standing.” On the latter change, any one or any Society not of the Baptist persuasion, yet contributing the minimum of ten dollars, could appoint a representative. The changes increased interest, revenue and attendance.


On June 8, at 5 o’clock in the morning, during the BGAV Annual Meeting, “a numerous meeting of brethren held at Second Baptist Church [was held] for devising and proposing some plan for the improvement of young men, who in the judgment of the churches are called to the work of the ministry.” Out of that meeting was formed the Virginia Baptist Education Society which promoted

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the education of ministers. Under the auspices of the Society, in October, Edward Baptist opened an academy which took the name of the farm where it was located, Dunlora in Powhatan. The site was owned by Ann Hickman, a Baptist, who gave the students room and board. Dunlora Academy began with six students. In 1831 students were also placed in the home of Eli Ball in Henrico where he taught several students.


Valentine Mason of Lexington was the first full-time “General Agent” of the General Association and he promoted the organization’s cause. His annual salary was $500.

First Baptist Church, Richmond held what was thought to be the first “protracted meeting” among Virginia Baptist churches. Edward Baptist and James Fife, the two ministers so instrumental in the founding of the BGAV, were the chief preachers. Services were held four times a day and the meeting which was supposed to last four days was “protracted” across five months. Over 600 persons were added to the First Church and other churches benefitted with new members as the revival spread. “Protracted meetings,” those with no announced date of completion, became summertime mainstays in many of the BGAV churches.


The Virginia Baptist Education Society moved from the academy model to that of a larger institution. On July 4, the Virginia Baptist Seminary opened at “Spring Farm” in Henrico and ministerial students performed manual labor as well as studying “the chief elements of a solid education.” Robert Ryland was president and, at the beginning, the sole teacher. (Note: “Spring Farm” was located in the Lakeside area just north of the city limits and near present-day Bryan Park.) In 1834, “Spring Farm” was sold and the Seminary located nearer the city by purchasing the Haxall mansion and over seven acres at what became the corner of Grace and Lombardy streets. The mansion was known as “Columbia” and it was used for a variety of purposes including classrooms and the residence of the president and teachers.

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Yet another source of dissension and division was the “Anti-Missions” Movement which not only was against missions but also “anti” education, Sunday schools, temperance societies, Bible societies and most of the benevolent institutions which were emerging. These Baptists wanted to maintain the “Primitive” or “Old School” - what they perceived as the original New Testament concept of a church and hence they were known as Primitive Baptists.


Virginia Baptists were decidedly promissions with many missions causes appealing for their support. Stephen Davis of the Baptist Irish Society visited America; and while in Virginia he collected money from Baptists in Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Petersburg, Norfolk, and Portsmouth to help promote Baptist expansion in Ireland. In just a single issue of the Religious Herald there were articles on missions in Burma, France, the Sandwich Islands, India, Liberia, and among Native Americans. On the “Anti-Missions” or Primitive Baptist Movement David Benedict’s A General History of the Baptist Denomination… (1848) offered the historian’s assessment of the “Anti-” movement which divided Baptists, as follows: “The cause of missions has had but little to do in this business. … The fact is, that personal altercations, rivalship and jealousies and local contests for influence and control, have done much to set brethren at variance with each other. The mission question is the ostensible, rather than the real cause of the trouble, in many places. New men and new measures have run faster than the old travelers were accustomed to go, and they have been disturbed at being left behind. … Doctrinal matters have been at the bottom of all the troubles, and predestination has been the bone of contention. The anti-mission party, as near as I can learn, without any exception, are high or hyper-Calvinists, and have so far run the system up to seed, as to persuade themselves that the efforts of modern times are wholly needless…”

Henrietta Hall Shuck and J. Lewis Shuck were Virginia Baptists appointed in 1835 by the Triennial Convention as pioneer missionaries to China. Henrietta was the first American Baptist female missionary to serve in China where she opened a school for Chinese girls.


The first international visitors to a BGAV Annual Meeting were received. Two British Baptists were sent to the United States by the Baptist Union of England and they came to Richmond to attend the BGAV meeting. After the meeting, the Englishmen visited the Virginia Baptist Seminary at “Columbia” where one of them addressed the students and J. Lewis Shuck, a student, delivered an oration.

On September 8, Henrietta Hall of Kilmarnock and J. Lewis Shuck of Alexandria were married; and two days later, they were commissioned at First Baptist Church, Richmond, for missions work in China through the Triennial Convention. At the same service, another couple - Robert Davenport and his bride Mary Frances Roper - was “set apart” for missions work in Siam where Robert would operate a religious publishing house and “Fannie” would teach children. The Shucks pioneered in China missions. In Hong Kong, Lewis constituted the first Protestant church in China and Henrietta opened the first school for Chinese females. She also wrote a book entitled Scenes in China which helped satisfy Westerners’ curiosity about everything Chinese. At the young age of 17, Henrietta had become the first American Baptist woman missionary to China. She died at age 25 in 1844 and is buried in Hong Kong. Lewis returned to America and pioneered missions work among the Chinese in California. The 1835 meeting of the Triennial Convention held in Richmond was “its last harmonious session” before division came over the issue of slavery.


The Virginia Baptist Sunday School Association was formed to encourage and develop Sunday schools in the churches of the General Association. After seven years, the Association reported 73 Sunday schools with 5,415 pupils.


The Virginia Baptist Seminary ceased with the securing by the Virginia Baptist Education Society of a charter from the Legislature of Virginia for Richmond College. Andrew Broaddus designed the official seal of the college. Robert Ryland, who had led the Seminary, continued as president of the college. For generations, the traditional route for most Virginia Baptist ministers was to attend Richmond College (later known as the University of Richmond) and, upon graduation, to attend seminary (and with the establishment of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1859, it became the primary choice for theological education). Richmond College was first located on the corner of Grace and Lombardy Sts. in Richmond.


First African Baptist Church in Richmond was organized by the First Baptist Church and arrangements were made for the new church to acquire the building vacated by FBC. The division of the church was met with some opposition by other denominations in Richmond but it became a model for other churches.


Western Virginia Baptist Association formed in Lewisburg in response to a call by the BGAV for an auxiliary organization west of the Blue Ridge. By 1860 it had 20 missionaries working in the mountainous area. It dissolved in the Civil War.


On May 8, delegates from eight states, including 31 from Virginia, met at the First Baptist Church, Augusta, Georgia, and organized the Southern Baptist Convention. The nucleus of the new Convention’s beginning was over a decision by the Triennial Convention’s Acting Board not to appoint slave owners as missionaries despite a resolution of the Convention not to

exclude slave owners. From its inception, “So you ask me how I feelBoard in view of my departure [to China]? I can only say, the SBC’s Foreign Mission was I am cheerful. I am satisfied that in His strength I can undertake and suffer anything. Let Jesus command, and I delight to obey. I know there are privileges to give up, and labors to perform, and sufferings to endure, but they are as nothing, when compared with all the privations and sufferings of Christ for me. And further, I cannot but be ready to go, when there are so many millions of the human race dying without the gospel, and while the last great command of the Savior, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,’ remains unfilled.” – Samuel Clopton in farewell letter written to his parents in June 1846. He died a year later in China. headquartered in Richmond. Its first corresponding secretary was James B. Taylor who was a Richmond pastor. The first missionary appointed was Samuel Clopton of Emmaus Baptist Church in New Kent County, Virginia, who with his bride, Keziah Turpin, left for China in 1846. The BGAV had eleven full-time and seven part-time state missionaries.


J. Lewis Shuck, widower of Henrietta Hall Shuck, returned to Virginia from China and brought with him Yong SeenSang, his first convert and his assistant. Yong was likely the first Chinese person ever seen by most Virginians. They spoke before the students of Richmond College and Yong became supported by the Woman’s Missionary Society of First Baptist Church, Richmond. The two traveled across the South, raising support for a chapel in Canton. They returned under the sponsorship of the FMB, SBC. Also, in 1846, the FMB appointed two Virginia-born Black missionaries serving in Liberia: Alexander L. Jones of Richmond who served 1846-47 and John Day, born at Hicksford, Greensville County, who served from 1846-59. Day was born a free Black in 1797 and became a member of High Hills Baptist Church in Sussex. In 1830 he and his family immigrated to Liberia; and he was among the first missionaries appointed by the FMB. He started churches and Sunday schools.


Henry Keeling Ellyson began serving as the unpaid Corresponding Secretary (equivalent to today’s executive director) of the BGAV as well as, in 1855, the State Mission Board with its new organization. Across his 42 years of BGAV service, Ellyson declined any compensation. His income came from business interests including ownership of the

Richmond Daily Dispatch, the forerunner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


The Foreign Mission Board appointed Harriet A. Baker of Powhatan County as its first single woman missionary. She served in China.


The BGAV promoted the organization of the North Western Virginia Association which included 23 counties and which had the purpose “to aid the General Association in preaching the Gospel to feeble churches and destitute settlements in North Western Virginia.” The North Western served a large area of what later became West Virginia. Virginia Baptist pastors formed an organization called A General Society of Baptist Ministers which met annually at the time of the BGAV meeting.


Baptists began to open schools for women. Hollins University traces its roots to the Valley Union Seminary for Young Ladies, “the first chartered school for young women in Virginia,” and even earlier to a male and female academy at Botetourt Springs. Hollins was a proprietary school under Charles L. Cocke, a leading Baptist in Roanoke Valley. In 1854 the Richmond Female Institute began (later, became the Woman’s College of Richmond) and also The Chesapeake Female College in the Hampton Roads area. In 1859 local Baptists established Union Female College in Danville which became Roanoke Female College and, eventually, Averett College. Averett became affiliated with the BGAV in 1910. In 2001, the school became Averett University. It maintains both its traditional campus in Danville as well as a robust on-line curriculum. Presidents of Averett across the years included Conwell Anderson, Howard Lee, Frank Campbell, and

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Richard Pfau. Tiffany M. Franks is currently the president of Averett University.


Basil Manly, Jr. was chairman of a BGAV committee which recommended a major reorganization; and at the 1854 BGAV annual meeting, the new plan passed. It provided that the several societies became elected boards of the General Association. The Board of Managers became the State Mission Board which was regarded as equal to the other boards: the Education Board, the Sunday School and Publication Board, the Bible Board, the Domestic Mission Board, and the Foreign Mission Board (of Virginia). The reorganization also gave an opportunity to refigure the name to the more pleasing Baptist General Association of Virginia. Henry Keeling Ellyson, a layman who since 1848 had served as corresponding secretary of the Board of Managers, was elected as the first corresponding secretary of the new State Mission Board. He served until his death in 1890.


The antebellum growth of the BGAV was reflected in its statistics including over 100,000 Baptists in 692 churches. There were 303 ordained ministers and many of these served several churches “on a field” of churches. The Sunday schools enrolled over 13,000 pupils. The State Mission Board employed 51 missionaries serving across Virginia. By mid-century, most of the early log and frame meeting houses had been replaced by brick buildings.


The General Association approved of the establishment of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, SC. Virginia furnished two of the four professors - John A. Broadus and Basil Manly, Jr. - and ten of the first 26 students - “the largest number of any of the states.” The seminary moved from Greenville to Louisville, KY in 1877. Generations of Virginia Baptist ministers received their theological training at “Southern”.


The world was turned upside down for the four years of the American Civil War and much of the military action

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happened on Virginia soil. Many of the male members of BGAV churches went into the Confederate Army. There were some persons who opposed secession including, most notably, the Baptist minister Daniel Taylor, “father” of the Blue Ridge Association. Most of the ministers tried to help those in need including J. Lansing Burrows, a Northerner who had become pastor of First Baptist Church, Richmond, and who ministered unto soldiers in camps and hospitals. He was among those who shared the Gospel during revivals which swept the army camps. He also served in the Richmond Ambulance Corps, with “sleeves rolled up, carrying a basket of soup or lifting a wounded man.” Charles C. Bitting, pastor of First Baptist Church, Alexandria was imprisoned for not taking the oath of allegiance to the U.S. government and was placed on a Union-confiscated locomotive fender to prevent attacks in enemy lines. William F. Broaddus, pastor of the Fredericksburg Baptist Church, along with other citizens of the town, was imprisoned in Washington to be used for prisoner exchanges. Many a Virginia Baptist church was turned into a hospital and used by both armies. Albert C. Willis, a promising young Baptist preacher, was hanged in Rappahannock County in retaliation for the shooting of a Federal spy by Mosby’s Men. Virginia Baptist women rolled bandages, wrote letters home for wounded soldiers, and helped the helpless. The war interrupted the growth and progress of the BGAV and its Mission and Education Boards were unable to function. Richmond College lost students and faculty. Its building was used as a hospital and its library was stolen. Its endowment in Confederate bonds was worthless by the end of the war. The main work of the BGAV was through its Colportage Board headed by Alfred E. Dickinson. Their aim was to supply religious literature for the soldiers. Tracts totaling over 24 million pages were printed and distributed. A little hymnal was published. Over 25,000 Bibles and New Testaments were given to soldiers. Revivals broke out in the Army of Northern Virginia; and the BGAV supported chaplains and sent pastors to minister to the spiritual needs of the soldiers. In 1864 alone, BGAV ministers had baptized about 15,000 converts.

By war’s end, numerous meeting houses were damaged or destroyed, congregations were diminished and pastorless, and the general economy was wrecked. The general population was penniless. The Religious Herald’s publishing house in Richmond was destroyed in the fire set by retreating Confederates.


Reconstruction meant military rule and a new order. In June 1865, the General Association “was the first body in the whole South to begin the work of religious reconstruction.” The BGAV passed the following resolution: “That whatever may have been our past views, aims or efforts regarding the issues which have divided the Northern and Southern States, we deem it our duty as patriots and Christians to accept the order of Providence, yield unreserved and faithful obedience to the ‘powers that be’ and to cultivate such a spirit and to preserve such a course of conduct as shall best promote the peace and prosperity of the country; and we earnestly recommend to our brethren throughout the State to prove themselves to be loyal citizens of the United States, and to enter with zeal and activity upon the discharge of the responsibilities devolved on them by their new social and civil relations.” Richmond College virtually died in the war. James Thomas, a wealthy Richmond Baptist tobacconist, gave $5,000 which reopened the college.

In the five years following the war, over 46,000 Blacks left the antebellum mixedrace churches of the General Association, thereby causing a loss of about half the membership of the BGAV’s churches. The emancipated people wanted to constitute new churches and call their own choice of pastor. In August 1865, the Colored Shiloh Baptist Association was formed by churches in Richmond and Petersburg. In May 1867, the Norfolk Union Baptist Association was organized for the Norfolk/Portsmouth area and the Valley African Baptist Association also was formed. In May 1868, the first statewide Black Baptist organization was formed as the Virginia Baptist State Convention. The next year, the VBSC’s Sabbath School Convention held its first meeting. In January 1870, the Rev. Henry Williams, Jr., pastor of Gillfield Baptist

Church, Petersburg, began publishing a Black Baptist newspaper. American Baptist Home Mission Society sent teachers into Virginia to operate schools for the freedmen and their children. In 1867 the National Theological Institute and University, an organization of Northern Baptists to train Black ministers, sent Nathaniel Colver to Richmond and he engaged Robert Ryland, who had been president of the Virginia Baptist Seminary and Richmond College, to assist him in establishing a school, the Richmond Theological Institute, for Black men desiring to enter the Gospel ministry. The school met at the former Lumpkin’s Jail, the infamous slave prison in Richmond’s Shockoe Valley. Colver was followed by Charles H. Corey. The school eventually became Virginia Union University. A further division occurred as a natural aftermath of the new state of West Virginia. In November 1865, delegates from several district associations within the new state met at Parkersburg and formed the Baptist General Association of West Virginia. Within three years, the new organization had gained all of the district associations in WV, bringing into the new body 249 churches with 14,692 members. After all of the withdrawals, there remained in 1868 within the BGAV 19 district associations and 545 churches with a total of 55,667 white and 10,469 Black members. (In time, the number of Black members within BGAV churches would decrease as more Black Baptist churches were constituted and entirely separate denominational organizations were established.)


In October, the Religious Herald was revived under the editorship and ownership of Jeremiah Bell Jeter and Alfred E. Dickinson with Mary Catherine Jeter, as a silent partner who also wrote articles for children and women as well as book reviews. Under the new management, the Herald became a widely-read and influential national Baptist paper.


Virginia Indians living in and around King William County constituted Pamunkey Indian Baptist Church with its first pastor I.T. Wallace. As early as 1868, the church was listed among

the members of the BGAV. In the 20th century, other Baptist churches were constituted in the same general area by Native Americans including Samaria (1901), Tsena Commocko (1922), Mattaponi (1932), Indian View (1942), and Rappahannock Indian (1964).


Twelve-year-old Nannie Bland. daughter of a Baptist minister father and a missionary-minded mother, declared her sense of “call” to someday be a missionary. The Chesterfield County girl prepared by attending the Richmond Female Institute. She married a missionary, W.J. David, when he was home on furlough from Nigeria. She organized a Bible school for Nigerian girls, the first such opportunity for girls in Nigeria. In 1885, she died of a fever; and her last words were: “Never give up Africa!”


Richard Hugh Bagby, pastor of Bruington Baptist Church, was appointed as the BGAV’s first “associate corresponding secretary,” indicating that the General Association was beginning to recover from the losses of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Bagby’s tenure was short since he died soon after the appointment.


Baptist Ministers’ Relief Fund of Virginia was chartered to receive and disburse funds contributed for the relief of aged and destitute ministers and their widows and orphans. When the Southern Baptist Annuity Board was established in 1918, the Virginia Fund continued but was restricted by the BGAV to use its income from invested funds for donations in emergencies and exceptional cases. The Fund was long led by Charles Hill Ryland of Warsaw. Today it is managed by William Thurston of Richmond.


50th (“Semi-Centennial”) Anniversary of BGAV was commemorated in a grand and generous way. A giant outdoor “tabernacle” was erected on the campus of “the Baptist school”, Richmond College, which was located on a city block at Grace and Lombardy Sts., close to downtown Richmond. It was estimated that 10,000 persons gathered

on the campus for the main session when J.L.M. Curry spoke on religious liberty. The session included the ingathering of offerings to re-endow the college which had lost its endowment in the Civil War. Baptists came from great distances with most arriving by train. Virginia Baptist ministers were instructed to go to a certain photographer where their photographs were taken. These were assembled into an album which today resides at the VBHS and provides many of the photos of 19th century Virginia Baptist clergy. Charlotte “Lottie” Moon, a native of Albemarle County, was appointed by the FMB to serve as a missionary in China. She became the most celebrated of the Southern Baptist foreign missionaries. Her ashes are buried in the town cemetery of Crewe, Virginia. George Boardman Taylor, then pastor of the First Baptist Church, Staunton, Virginia, was appointed as a FMB missionary to Rome, Italy. He and his wife, Susan Spottswood Taylor, are buried in Rome and their graves are under the care of the Italian Baptist Union.


In the September 7th edition of the Religious Herald Mary Catherine “Kate” Jeter published an open letter “To the Baptist Ladies of Virginia.” It was an appeal on behalf of the Moon sisters, Lottie and Edmonia, missionaries to China, to raise funds for their house. Kate Jeter had been requested by Dr. Henry Allen Tupper, the executive head of the Foreign Mission Board, SBC, to organize Virginia Baptist women for this noble and worthy cause. Virginia women contributed half of the cost of what became known as the “House at the Little Cross Roads”. Traditionally, the appeal is considered as the beginning of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia.


William Washington Colley, a Black minister who was educated at the Richmond Theological Institute, a forerunner of Virginia Union University, was the school’s first student to go to Africa in missions work. He was appointed by the FMB to work alongside a white missionary, W.J. David, among the Yoruba people in what is today’s Nigeria. Colley later returned to Virginia but continued to promote Christian work in Africa. BGAV 200th Anniversary | 85


In the year of the nation’s centennial, historical interest was so keen that Charles Hill Ryland led the BGAV in establishing the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. It began collecting and preserving tangible records of Baptist history, amassing a large research library of books, documents, denominational materials, and church records. In time, it began publishing histories and hosting programs on historical subjects. Secretaries of the VBHS across the years were Henry Herbert Harris, Charles Hill Ryland, William A. Harris, Garnett Ryland, and Woodford Broadus Hackley. In 1979, Fred Anderson became the first full-time executive director and treasurer. After 38 years of service, Anderson retired in 2017; and Nathan L. Taylor became executive director and treasurer.


Oak Hill Academy, a Virginia Baptist boarding school in rural Grayson County, admitted its first students. In 1921, the BGAV added it to its list of schools. While it began as an educational resource for the immediate mountainous area, by the time of its centennial, it was receiving youth from across the nation and foreign countries. Oak Hill remains “a Baptist, missionbased school.” Michael Groves serves as president of Oak Hill. Kate Jeter’s organizing of Virginia women for missions support became one of the first “Central Committees for Woman’s Work” as conceived by Dr. Henry Allen Tupper of the Foreign Mission Board. Mrs. Jeter was the first president of the Central Committee, serving from the initial work of 1874 until 1887. In 1899, a constitution was drawn and the official name became Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia. Lillie Easterby Barker was the first president under the new name, serving until 1901. From 1903-1906, Mrs. Barker was president of the national WMU.


The Virginia Baptist Sunday School and Bible Board relocated from Staunton to Petersburg. Its first fulltime superintendent was John Mason Pilcher who served until the Board was consolidated with the State Mission Board in 1908. Colportage - or Bible

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distribution - was one of its works as well as the planting of Sunday schools. During Dr. Pilcher’s service, he organized 983 Sunday schools and 67 churches.


Charles Hill Ryland presented a motion at the BGAV annual meeting “that a committee of 22 (one from each district association) be appointed to inquire and report of what plans, if any, should be devised for securing a more active cooperation between [the BGAV] and the churches and district associations of the state.” The State Mission Board seldom had sufficient funds to meet in a timely fashion the salaries of its missionaries. There was no systematic giving by the churches; and out of the 700 churches, about 200 were giving most of the funds. The Committee on Cooperation sparked adequate financing for state missions. The committee was abolished in 1915.


The first Congress of Virginia Baptists, a gathering to consider and discuss various issues of the times, was held in Lynchburg and drew some 300 clergy and laity. A second Congress was held in Danville in 1886. Historian Garnett Ryland observed: “The generally accepted and the divergent views on topics of importance having been well ventilated there was no third meeting.”


Hartshorn Memorial College for Women, a Baptist school for Blacks, was founded in Richmond. In 1932 it was absorbed into Virginia Union University.


The Southwest Virginia Institute, a school for young women, opened at Glade Spring in Washington County. In 1912, the school relocated to Bristol; and in 1922, it was renamed Virginia Intermont College. It became one of several BGAV-affiliated colleges. In 1972 it became coed. Presidents across the years included Floyd Turner, Kenneth Glass, James Martin, Gary Poulton, Stephen Griener, Michael Puglisi, and Clorisa Phillips. Virginia Intermont closed in 2014.


Ministries among immigrants arriving in Virginia was the subject of an address at the BGAV annual meeting by Charles L. Cocke, a Baptist leader in the Roanoke Valley. He urged Virginia Baptists to reach out to the “influx of large numbers from foreign parts.” He pleaded: “We invite them, we greet them, we welcome them to our soil, and they come and will continue to come. Let Virginia Baptists meet these people in the Spirit of Christian love and brotherhood - let us meet them with the Bible, the source of light and life to the children of men, with the earnest , active colporteur [Bible distributor], with the faithful, intelligent and wise minister of the gospel…”


Anna Louisa Elsom of Fairmount Baptist Church in Nelson County shared an idea with her pastor, George Braxton Taylor. The idea was to begin an organization to teach missions to young children. She suggested “Sunbeams” and the name and the organization spread like sunshine. Across the South and even in countries where there were SBC missionaries, Sunbeam Bands were established; and in time, there were some 8,000 Sunbeam Bands. Taylor became the person most associated with the organization and he used the name “Cousin George” in his articles and correspondence with fellow Sunbeams.


The State Mission Board secured a charter of incorporation.


On May 11, Virginia Baptist women were hosts to the organizing meeting of the Woman’s Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC held its annual meeting at the First Baptist Church of Richmond while the women met at the nearby Broad Street Methodist Church. There were 32 delegates from 12 states present for the meeting. On May 14, the delegates voted to organize. Virginia women preferred to delay action because of opposition by some men within Virginia Baptist life. Charles Hill Ryland of the BGAV’s Committee on Cooperation, advised the Virginia women to wait until the next meeting of the BGAV as

friends were promoting the positives of women organizing. Virginia “Jennie” Snead Hatcher, president of the Virginia Central Committee, implored her husband, the influential minister William E. Hatcher, to help convince the opposition that organizing women would not be “the ruin of the race” or cause “a second civil war” as opponents predicted. In November, the BGAV recognized the Central Committee (WMUV) as an independent “Auxiliary” of the General Association. In March 1889, Virginia’s Central Committee united with the WMU, SBC. Dr. Robert Healy Pitt began his long association with the Religious Herald. He became associate editor in 1888; and with the death of editor Alfred Dickinson in 1906, he was sole owner and editor until his death in 1937. He was considered “the foremost editorial writer among the Baptists of his time.” Pitt’s editorials helped lead to the formation of the Baptist World Alliance. He especially championed religious freedom. He was instrumental in the creation of an interdenominational organization to supply chaplains for all inmates in Virginia’s prison system which, in recent years, has become known as GraceInside.


A social care institution opened in Salem as the Virginia Baptist Orphanage. Across the years, with various name changes including the long-time Virginia Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services, the institution provided a “home” for children, youth, and in later years, even adults with various life challenges. Now known as HopeTree, It remains a BGAV-affiliated ministry partner. Executive leaders of the ministry included George J. Hobday, Raymond Franklin Hough, Sr., Franklin Hough, Jr., Don Bradley, Stephen Richerson, and Jon Morris. Clay Street Baptist Church (later known as Calvary, now extinct) started a Chinese Sunday school for the Chinese of Richmond. In 1951 the Richmond Baptist Association began work with the Chinese and employed William Ligh who ministered to the Richmond Chinese until his death in 1977. Dr. Eugene Hill, a former FMB missionary to China, guided the Richmond Chinese congregation from 1956-77; and the congregation met

at Tabernacle Baptist Church. In 1981, the congregation became the Chinese Baptist Church of Richmond with three languages spoken - English, Mandarin and Cantonese. The church built their own building in Chesterfield County.


A sensational murder occurred while the BGAV held its annual meeting in Danville. John R. Moffett, pastor of North Danville Baptist Church and an avowed champion of temperance, was gunned down on his way to the opening session of the BGAV by a man who was angry over the minister’s antiliquor stand. Throughout the meeting, the delegates were kept informed on the minister’s condition. William E. Hatcher, a prominent minister, kept a vigil at Moffett’s bedside. The General Association adjourned and attended Moffett’s funeral en masse. The church was renamed Moffett Memorial.

Mary “Mollie” Apperson became the first woman appointed by a Board of the BGAV. She was given the title of “Bible Woman” and she ministered chiefly among women and children. In 1898 she was assigned to the shipyards of Newport News where she served in a neighborhood known as “Hell’s HalfAcre”. In 1902 she ministered in the coal-mining “boom town” of Pocahontas, Virginia, where in one year alone she visited over 4,000 persons and led over 100 children’s meetings and 39 prayer meetings. In 1909 she returned to serve in Newport News where she was under the support of area churches.



The Baptist Young People’s Union of The BGAV adopted a policy providing Virginia held its first convention during that the operating expenses of WMUV the BGAV annual meeting. In 1897, the “shall not exceed five percent of the B.Y.P.U. of Virginia was headquartered whole amount contributed by the in Richmond with John Garland Pollard missionary societies and bands.” The as president. (He later became a “cumbersome and difficult” method governor of Virginia.) It rapidly grew was kept in place until the report of the in popularity with its large assemblies Committee of 24 in 1969 which changed and activities. Through the B.Y.P.U. the policy so that WMUV would present younger generations learned about annually a budget request. Baptist history, polity, principles and denominational life. By 1901 it reported to the BGAV that there were 202 Unions At the beginning of the 20th century, in Virginia with nearly 11,000 members. there were 952 churches in the BGAV Elbert J. Wright was the longtime B.Y.P.U. with 122,455 members. There were leader for Virginia. In 1934 the name 584 ministers. Baptist Training Union was adopted by the Sunday School Board, SBC, and universally accepted. BTU became the medium through which members During the 20th century additional learned more about the various facets associations were created usually from of Baptist life and practice. Even with existing associations in which growth the demise of BTU, the area of “church favored geographic division. These training” remained one of the emphases included: Blackwater (1906); East of the VBMB staff and the longtime River (1954); Franklin County (1956); consultant in that area was Joe Vaughan. Fredericksburg (1957); Henry County (1957); Hermon (1902); Highlands (1957); Lynchburg (1964); Mid-Tidewater (1959); Mount Vernon (1952); Mountain State (1965) joined West Virginia Baptist Convention, 1970; Natural Bridge (1954); New Lebanon (1875); New River (1871); Norfolk (1953); Peninsula (1904); Petersburg (1906); Piedmont (1903); Richmond (1950); South Side (1962); Stanton River (1951); and Wise (1927).



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Organized religious work among the Chinese in Norfolk began May 5, 1901 as a Sunday school known as The Union Chinese Mission School. Mrs. William H. Evans of Park View Baptist Church, Norfolk, led the Chinese to become Baptists; and she appealed to the Baptist Ministers Union and the Baptist Council, both of the Norfolk/Portsmouth area, to provide a house known as the “Chinese Christian Home”. The school relocated to Freemason St. Baptist Church, Norfolk, and was established as a church in 1929. The Baptist Council purchased a building on Freemason Street to be used by the Chinese church. Rev. Sidney W. Quong, a graduate of the University of Richmond, served as pastor from 1938-76. In 1992, Dr. Eugene Hill traveled monthly from Richmond to preach to the Norfolk area congregation. From the First Chinese Baptist Church, now with a Virginia Beach address, came other Chinese congregations.


WMUV began what became known as the State Mission Offering which benefited many worthy causes. In 1998 the offering was given the name of the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions to honor the life and work of a native Virginian who had led WMU national work and had continued to be an advocate of the cause of missions.


Virginia Baptist Education Commission incorporated to strengthen the Baptist educational interests in Virginia.


Baptists had an entire exhibit building at the large Jamestown Exposition in Hampton Roads for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Colony of Virginia.


Nannie Helen Burroughs, a native of Orange County, Virginia, was among the American delegation to attend the First Congress of the Baptist World Alliance held in London, 1905. She was the corresponding secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention and founded a school in Washington, D.C. which bears her name. The Burroughs School was for young women. She also was a frequent speaker at meetings of Virginia WMU.

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In July, the Baptist World Alliance held the first world-wide Baptist gathering. Delegates from 23 nations met in London. There were 50 AfricanAmericans among the delegates from the United States including Nannie Helen Burroughs, a native of Orange County, Virginia, whose life’s work was educating and uplifting Black women. She started the Burroughs School in Washington, D.C. At the London meeting, she spoke in Hyde Park before some 10,000 people. Among the other delegates from Virginia was Robert Healy Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, who had promoted the new organization in his widely-read editorials.


The WMU Training School opened in Louisville, KY, near the SBTS. Generations of Virginia Baptist women received their missions service training at the school.


Summer Encampments became popular and were held by the B.Y.P.U. at various places including Buckroe Beach, Virginia Beach, and at Intermont College in Bristol. Also in 1908, the Laymen’s Missionary Movement was organized among Virginia Baptists. The previous year, in 1907, the SBC annual meeting was held in Richmond; and a men’s rally at Calvary Baptist Church (now extinct) was so persuasive that the SBC approved the founding of the Laymen’s Missionary Movement. The first executive leader of the organization was John Thompson Henderson, president of Virginia Intermont College, a BGAV school, and the immediate past president of the BGAV. In 1926, the organization became known as the Brotherhood (still later, Baptist Men). Also, in 1908, the State Mission Board began its Sunday School and B.Y.P.U. Department with “seaside encampments” beginning in 1909 and mountain encampments at Virginia Intermont in 1914.


A school for boys was opened in Pittsylvania County and first known as the Chatham Training School. It became a BGAV-affiliated school in 1911; and in 1925, the school was renamed Hargrave Military Academy in honor of its chief benefactor, J. Hunt Hargrave. Presidents across the years included Charles Warren, T. Ryland Sanford, Aubrey H. Camden, Joseph Cosby, Vernon

Lankford, Michael Colegrove, Andrew Todd, Thomas Cunningham, John Ripley, Wheeler Baker, Doyle Broome, Michael Brown, Sloan Gibson, and Eric Peterson.


Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Henrico County was constituted (originally as the First Slovak Baptist Church) largely to serve a Czechoslovakian community which had migrated to the area from Pennsylvania; and in addition, there was Baptist work for Slovak people in Prince George County. The Rev. Andrew Slabey, Sr. was a person of great influence among Virginia Baptists of Czech heritage.


Fork Union Military Academy in Fluvanna County became a BGAV-affiliated school. It was founded in 1898 by Dr. William E. Hatcher, a prominent Virginia Baptist minister who retired to the village of Fork Union. Presidents of the academy following Dr. Hatcher included Eldridge Hatcher, Clayton Crosland, Nathaniel Perkins, John J. Wicker, James C. Wicker, Kenneth Whitescarver, Charles Clanton, R.L. “Red” Pulliam, John Jackson, Scott Burhoe, David Coggins, and Mark Black. Richmond College and the new college for women, Westhampton, were located on a large acreage in Richmond’s west end which had been a former amusement park.


The Virginia Baptist camping movement began when 12 Virginia Royal Ambassadors, the boys’ missions organization, held the first camp at Virginia Beach. Two years later, 79 members of the Girls’ Auxiliary held their first camp, also at Virginia Beach. Members of the Young Woman’s Auxiliary joined the camping program in 1926. The Virginia Beach campsite became known as Baptist Lodge (1939), a mountain site near Marion was called The Cedars (1940) and Camp Viewmont (1951) was in Albemarle County. These camps were operated by WMUV and served as training grounds for generations of youth.


The influenza pandemic forced cancellation of the BGAV’s annual meeting.


The BGAV participated in the SBC-wide “75 Million Campaign,” an ambitious plan to raise $75 million for missions causes over five years. Virginia Baptists contributed over six million to the denominational effort.


The “University of Richmond” became the new corporate name of several schools under one Board of Trustees. At the time, these schools included Richmond College, Westhampton College, and the Law School. In time, a Business School, an Evening School, a Leadership School and a School of Professional and Continuing Studies were added. Presidents of UR across the years of the Baptist affiliation were Robert Ryland, Tiberius Gracchus Jones, Frederic W. Boatwright, George M. Modlin, E. Bruce Heilman, Sam Banks, and Richard Morrill. It was during the administration of William Cooper that the relationship changed. Subsequent presidents to date are Ed Ayers, Ronald Crutcher, and Kevin Hallock. Prison chaplaincy began in March 1920 when R.H. Pitt, editor of the Religious Herald, invited representatives of other denominations to meet and plan a way in which churches could provide chaplains instead of the state. The Interdenominational Board for Religious Work in State Institutions was begun with the joint support of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians. Its name changed over the years to Interdenominational Religious Work Foundation to Chaplain’s Service of the Churches of Virginia to the current name of GraceInside. In recent decades, the prison ministry was led by George Ricketts, Cecil McFarland and currently J. Randy Myers.


Bluefield College opened first as a junior college. Citizens of “the Bluefields” had rallied for the BGAV to establish a college in their area. Presidents of Bluefield across the years included Charles Harman, Charles Tyer, Roy Dobyns, T. Keith Edwards, Dan MacMillan, Charles Warren, and the current president, David Olive.

“The Baptist Building” 1. In the early years the home of the corresponding secretary (equivalent to today’s executive director) was the “office” of the BGAV and its Board. 2. With the addition of permanent staff, rented offices were secured. The first place was at 1013 E. Main St., Richmond, 1909-1921. 3. With added departments and increased staff, the offices moved to 601 Travelers Building, Richmond, 1921–25. 4. The ninth floor of the Grace-American Building, Fourth and Grace Sts., Richmond, 1925–1944.

Virginia Baptist Building at 1 West Franklin St., Richmond.

5. The Board purchased the Branch mansion at 1 West Franklin St., Richmond (one block east of the Jefferson Hotel). The old three-story mansion offered sufficient room for the offices including WMUV and the Religious Herald Publishing Association. In time, as the staff increased, the mansion became inadequate. 1944–1962

Virginia Baptist Building on Monument Avenue, Richmond, near Willow Lawn.

6. The BGAV secured a large lot on the southeast corner of Monument Avenue and Willow Lawn Drive and a modern two-story building was erected. Again, the WMUV and the Religious Herald had space. 1962–1986 7. Having outgrown the Monument Avenue location, the BGAV in a special called meeting held at the Monument Heights Baptist Church in Richmond agreed to purchase a larger building known as the Infilco-Degremont building on Emerywood Parkway just off West Broad Street above Glenside Drive. A buyer, the Richmond Retail Merchants Association, was ready to purchase the Monument Avenue building and the new location was offered at an attractive price. The new “Baptist Building” - soon called “The Virginia Baptist Resource Center” had some minor reconfigurations to accommodate the various departments of the Board as well as the WMUV and the Religious Herald. 1986– Virginia Baptist Resource Center, Emerywood Parkway, Richmond.

The BGAV reorganized its State Mission Board under a new name: the Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education. BGAV 200th Anniversary | 89


The Centennial of the BGAV was celebrated in Richmond over several days of the annual meeting with several speakers on various subjects. The sessions were held at the Second Baptist Church, then on Franklin Street near the Jefferson Hotel, the City Auditorium (now a part of VCU), and First Baptist Church. A session was held at the University of Richmond and the school hosted lunch for some 5,000 Baptist visitors. The Virginia Baptist Foundation was incorporated to encourage and assist Virginia Baptists and their churches to make gifts which would be invested and the income distributed to causes of the donors’ choosing. In time, Virginia Baptist causes, ministries, agencies and institutions became beneficiaries of the largesse of those who deposited funds at the Foundation. At the time of its Centennial, in 2022, the VBF took a new name, EverBless Foundation. Executive officers beginning in 1955 to present: James R. Bryant, Ernest L. Honts, Robert L. Mobley, Timothy K. Norman, Ronald C. Hall, and Todd J. Fuller.


The Virginia Baptist Hospital located in Lynchburg opened its first building. Five years earlier, in 1919, the BGAV and the WMUV named the initial trustees for the anticipated new social ministry. A nursing school was also established.


The Virginia Baptist Board located on the ninth floor of the Grace-American Building at Fourth and Grace Streets where it remained until 1944.


A momentous new method of giving and distributing missions funds was adopted by the SBC and the various state Baptist organizations including the BGAV. It was known as the Cooperative Program. It provided a unified appeal for all denominational causes and a means of cooperation between the SBC and the state conventions/associations. One of the key advocates and designers for the new Cooperative Program was Minnie Lou Kennedy James, who had been president of WMUV and was president of the national WMU at the time of the Cooperative Program’s adoption. She always considered her

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role in starting the Cooperative Program as her greatest accomplishment. Minnie James is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Baptist Student Union work began in Virginia with the calling of the first State Student Secretary, Arthur Stovall. In the 1940s-50s, WMUV also provided a religious activities director at Westhampton College and Farmville State Teachers College (now Longwood). In 1959, the first Baptist Student Center owned by the BGAV was built at the University of Virginia. By 1963 there were ten Centers. Leaders of student ministry (Baptist Student Union/Baptist Collegiate Ministries) across the years included Arthur Stovall, J.B. Hill, William J. Fallis, Ralph B. Winders, William H. Jenkins, Keith Harris, William Bonner, John Tadlock, Susan McBride, and Welford Orrock. Each of the Centers had a Baptist campus minister. Among campus ministers with lengthy tenures were Rob Sandford, Roland Byrd, Darrell Cook, Archie Turner, Judy Bailey, and Pete Parks. The BGAV harkened back to Virginia Baptists’ founding principles of religious freedom when it opposed compulsory Bible reading in public schools. Proposed legislation would have compelled teachers to read as many as five verses, without comments, from the KJV at daily opening exercises. The BGAV adopted a resolution calling for the state legislature “not to enact any law which would lay even the least restriction upon the free conscience of any individual.” The resolution added: “Compulsory reading [is] an invasion of the rights of conscience and a violation of religious liberty … in conflict with the American principle of fair play and the doctrine of equal rights.” Editor R.H. Pitt of the Religious Herald led the effort to oppose the compulsory Bible reading bill. In February 1926, the Virginia Senate held a hearing on the bill; and George White McDaniel, pastor of First Baptist Church, Richmond, and president of the SBC, presented the Baptist view. In part, McDaniel said: “The desire to require the reading of the Bible is well meaning but misconceived. The United States has made one distinctive contribution to civilization: the separation of church and state. The State has no religious function.”

“Religion is purely voluntary. God does not compel anyone to hear or believe. What God does not do, man dare not attempt. Religion is a thing between the soul and God. It is of such a personal, spiritual, sacred nature, that government must not touch it. It is so vital and vigorous that it does not lean upon the prop of the State. The Christian religion does not need any assistance from the State. Every time the State has touched Christianity, it has tainted it. Every time Christianity is united with the State, corruption has set in. Christinaity prospers most when freest.” McDaniel’s speech stopped the proposed bill. Editor Pitt knew some would misunderstand so he explained: “It would need to be said 10,000 times that the Baptists of Virginia are not opposing the reading of the Bible. They do oppose any attempt to compel to read the Scriptures, to sing hymns, to make prayers, to attend church, or to perform any other act which is religious. Reasons are as plentiful as blackberries but not one under compulsion. Let the State keep its hands off. The surest way of crippling the religion of Jesus Christ and of injuring its influence among men is to turn over its administration to the State.”


A lasting and meaningful friendship was established between Blanche Sydnor White, executive secretary of WMUV, and Nannie Helen Burroughs, a native of Orange County, Virginia, and then corresponding secretary of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention - an organization of Black Baptist women - and president of the Burroughs School in Washington, D.C. White and Burroughs created avenues of inter-racial cooperation and Burroughs was a guest speaker for WMUV.


In the Great Depression, WMUV championed the “Quarter-a-Week” Plan which had been promoted by Wade H. Bryant, a Richmond pastor, with the purpose of removing the debt upon the Foreign Mission Board. Virginia women gave a quarter each week over-andabove their regular offerings and these quarters amassed to relieve the debt which was crippling foreign missions.


Blanche Sydnor White, executive secretary of WMUV, addressed the annual meeting of WMUV and presented recommendations to begin interracial work. Soon WMUV employed Fletcher Mae Howell, a graduate of Hartshorn Memorial College (VUU) as well as a law school and social work school, to lead the work. In 1936, Ms. Howell led the first statewide interracial conference. She organized local groups of Black and white “missionary ladies”. From her work was developed, in 1943, the Department of Christian Leadership and Missions for young women at VUU.


WMUV coordinated a state-wide celebration for the Centennial of the missionary journey of a Virginia Baptist couple, Henrietta Hall Shuck and Jehu Lewis Shuck, who pioneered missions work by Baptists in China. It was a tremendous celebration which included the publication of Pioneering for Jesus by Thomas S. Dunaway; building a chapel in China; endowing scholarships at the University of Shanghai; sending the famed preacher Dr. George W. Truett on an evangelistic tour of China; and hosting the leader of All-China WMU to visit Virginia. WMUV also sent Dr. Edward Hughes Pruden and his wife, Mae Talmadge Pruden, to the University of Shanghai. The great public event was an extravagant pageant on the ministry of the Shucks which was staged at the Mosque (now the Altria) in Richmond and 5,000 attended. The pageant also was staged in six other Virginia cities and young Baptist women vied to play the role of Henrietta. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Shuck Centennial brought joy.


Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty began as the Southern Baptist Committee on Public Relations. Today the BGAV is a supporting member of the BJC. Directors through the years were Joseph Martin Dawson, C. Emanuel Carson, James E. Wood, Jr., James M. Dunn, J. Brent Walker, and Amanda Tyler.


In September, Dr. Reuben E. Alley, then pastor of the Irvington Baptist Church, purchased the Religious Herald, following the death of Editor Pitt. In

1950, the paper ceased as a proprietary paper; and the Religious Herald Publishing Association was chartered with trustees nominated by the BGAV. Editor Alley retained complete editorial freedom and once was described as “a constructive critic.”


Camp Carey began by WMUV as an interracially-led summer camping experience for Black children and youth. The camp for girls was held at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield and the camp for boys was at VUU. Camp Carey was the first camp in the SBC for Black Baptist youth. The leadership was provided by Black and white women. For 27 years, the camp director was Mrs. E.E. (Lena) Smith. The camp was named for the two missionaries who both carried the Cary name - William Carey, a white Englishman, the leader of the modern missionary movement among Baptists, and Lott Cary, a Virginia-born Black who became the first missionary of any race or nation to the continent of Africa.


BGAV’s Interracial Work included the granting of scholarships for Black Virginia Baptist men and women who had devoted their lives to Christian work. The BGAV provided a religious worker at the Girls’ Industrial School in Hanover County, a Black institution, as well as at the State Industrial School which was for Black boys. In addition, the BGAV assisted the Black Baptist state conventions with annual pastors’ conferences; offered Vacation Bible Schools for Black children; and joined the Black conventions in support of an orphanage at Ettrick.


A charter was granted for the Baptist Extension Board, Inc. which assisted congregations in acquiring loans for construction of church buildings.


A tradition began in which the office of president of the BGAV alternates between ordained ministers and laypersons. It has remained an unbroken tradition. Also, prior to 1945, a president frequently was re-elected, often for several years. Since that time, the president has served for one

year only with the exception of Carl W. Johnson who had two terms as president but not successive and Adam Tyler who, because of the Covid pandemic and the lack of an in-person annual meeting, continued in office. The term for president was not limited within the Constitution until 1974. James T. Edwards, pastor of the Culpeper Baptist Church, was the chief founder of the movement which resulted in the Virginia Baptist Homes, now LifeSpire.


The idea of a Baptist denominational “home” for senior adults was first presented by James T. Edwards, pastor of the Culpeper Baptist Church, at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the BGAV on September 19, 1944. At the 1945 BGAV annual meeting, the Executive Committee recommended that Virginia Baptists establish a home for their aged and authorization was unanimous. A charter was secured for a “Home for Aged Baptists” in Virginia. The new social ministry was gifted with some 300 acres just outside Culpeper where the first residence was dedicated on October 27, 1950. James T. Edwards, was the first superintendent of the new ministry. The BGAV promoted “Fifth Sunday Offerings” in the churches which helped raise funds for the new ministry. In 1954, the name was changed to Virginia Baptist Home, Inc.; and as other locations were added in Newport News (now known as The Chesapeake) and Richmond (known as Lakewood), it became the Virginia Baptist Homes, Inc. In time, another location was secured near Roanoke and named The Glebe; and most recently, an existing facility in Lynchburg called The Summit, was acquired. The Virginia Baptist Homes is now known as LifeSpire. Executives of the partnership over the years included J.T. Edwards, Bernard LeSueur, Charles Neal, Meredith Roberson, Randall Robinson, and Jonathan R. Cook. A marker bearing the likeness of John Leland and the story of his influencing James Madison to secure religious liberty in the U.S. Constitution was dedicated at the Leland-Madison Park in

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Orange County which is maintained by the Goshen Baptist Association. The BGAV joined hands with the United Methodists and the Church of the Brethren and began an interdenominational agency to educate the public on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. It became the AlcoholNarcotics Education Council and, later, as Drug and Alcohol Education Services. The organization supplied speakers for group programs especially in schools and produced literature on the subject. The organization was long led by Henry V. Langford who was followed by Neal Graham and Samuel Young. The agency ceased operations in 1993.


The Children’s Home of Virginia Baptists, Inc. was founded and established a facility at Ettrick in Chesterfield County. It was founded as a joint endeavor of the BGAV, the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and the Baptist State Convention. The ministry provided a home for children in need. It continued to be supported by the BGAV until soon after 2006 when support and trustees came from the BGCV and the BSC. Janice Mack was a long-time and devoted superintendent of the Home and represented its needs before the BGAV.

The 125th Anniversary of the BGAV was observed in 1948 with a pageant entitled “In the Mirror of History” and staged at the Center Theatre in Norfolk with elaborate sets and a large cast in period costumes. In the top photo, a scene depicted the imprisonment of the preacher John Waller in the Urbanna jail.


Virginia Baptists purchased property along the Piankatank River in Middlesex County for the Royal Ambassadors Camp Piankatank. It became a VBMB ministry in June 1961. Later, Camp Peaks of Otter in Bedford County was used as a Baptist camp. In time, it was sold.

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The Virginia Baptist Historical Society’s headquarters and library building located on the UR campus was dedicated. The funds for the building were a gift of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia and the building was designated as “a living memorial” to Virginia Baptists who struggled to secure religious liberty for all. At the same time, the BGAV raised funds for a new UR library to be known as the Boatwright Memorial Library in memory of Dr. Frederic W. Boatwright, the visionary president of the school who relocated it to its present site.

Theodore F. Adams, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, elected as president of the Baptist World Alliance. On December 5, Time magazine featured his image on its cover and included a lengthy article on Baptists.


After years of renting the Presbyterianowned assembly grounds at Massanetta Springs near Harrisonburg, Virginia Baptists proudly opened their own conference and assembly facility called Eagle Eyrie. Earlier, in 1950, the BGAV had voted to acquire its own central assembly grounds and several sites were considered. The Eagle Eyrie property of about 200 acres and a large two-story white frame house atop Locke Mountain on the Boonesboro Turnpike near Lynchburg offered an ideal setting. Over time, the assembly grounds included a chapel, dining hall, educational building, large auditorium, a hotel and, later, the Voight Conference Center which housed administrative offices, conference space and hotelstyle bedrooms. An outdoor swimming pool was a popular place especially for younger visitors as was the muchpatronized ice cream shop. Churches and district associations built lodges across the mountainside. For a number of years, Eagle Eyrie’s offerings included a large house with a pool which, known as the Hoover Center, was available for small group retreats. The managers of Eagle Eyrie across the years were R.L. Randolph and William Thompson, Herbert R. Carlton, William O. Beasley, Malcolm H. Burgess, W. Wesley “Binky” Huff, and Rod Miller.

The Religious Liberty Committee became a standing committee of the BGAV to keep the General Association informed on matters relating to churchstate issues.


The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education was changed to the Virginia Baptist General Board with the word “General” to denote it was “allinclusive of the great variety of services rendered by the Board.”


The Virginia Baptist Historical Society began The Virginia Baptist Register, an annual journal of scholarly articles on Virginia Baptist history. Initiated by Woodford Broadus Hackley, the journal’s longest serving editor was John S. Moore who himself wrote almost 40 articles. From 1962-2018, there were 57 issues published, totaling over 4,400 pages of Virginia Baptist history.


The School of Pastoral Care was established by the Virginia Baptist Hospital. It provided training in pastoral counseling for ministers. By 1987, the School was the only relationship between the BGAV and the hospital which it had established.


An interracial prayer retreat for Baptist men was held at Eagle Eyrie with the stated purpose “to draw close to God and strengthen the bonds that bind us.”


The Committee of 24 - the first major BGAV strategic planning committee in its modern history - was recommended by the VBGB and approved by the messengers to the 1967 annual meeting; and at the 1968 and 1969 annual meetings its chairman, Ernest L. Honts, presented its findings. It was composed of men and women and evenly divided between clergy and laity. The Committee of 24 made an exhaustive study of the VBGB and the various agencies and institutions and made recommendations.


Across the years, numerous individuals were called to serve on the staff of the Virginia Baptist Board and the BGAV or as ministry partners heading various agencies and institutions. Pictured inside the BGAV’s Monument Avenue building are (l-r) Frank Voight for whom the Voight Center is named at Eagle Eyrie; Julian H. Pentecost, editor of the Religious Herald; William “Bill” Jenkins; and Harold Bailey.


Reuben Alley retired as editor of the Religious Herald; and in June 1970, Julian H. Pentecost began his editorship. In his first editorial, he emphasized that “a free press is an absolute necessity in safeguarding the democratic process in denominational affairs.” His discerning editorials, especially during the years of denominational controversy, were widely read. During his editorship, he was assisted first by Thomas E. Miller who was followed by Robert H. Dilday.

Black Baptist churches began to re-enter BGAV life. Phil Rodgerson, a VBGB director over missions, evangelism and ministries cordially invited and escorted several Black ministers to attend the 1970 BGAV annual meeting held at First Baptist Church, Richmond. The only available seats in the crowded sanctuary were in the choir loft so all the messengers witnessed the change. Rodgerson had guided the Black ministers on how churches could become members. In 1970, Cary Sylvester McCall, pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Richmond, was among the first Black pastors to lead his church to join the BGAV.


Cessar L. Scott was called to lead BGAV Baptist campus ministry on predominantly African-American campuses as well as with international students. In 1973 he organized the first Black Student Conference. He later became executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

The VBGB’s staff completed a reorganization from departments to The term “negative designations” was divisions as requested by the Committee introduced at the BGAV annual meeting of 24, a strategic planning committee by a messenger, William J. “Bill” Cumbie, of the BGAV. At the onset of the new who participated in a lively debate organizational plan, there were three regarding a motion to strike UR from divisions and several staff members, as the BGAV budget. Cumbie offered follows: Division of Church Programs an alternative which was adopted - Frank Voight, director, with three and which allowed churches to make departments, Teaching and Training, their own choice as to whether or not Lawson Pankey, secretary; Church Music, to include UR within the funds which Allen Brown, secretary; and Baptist they sent to the BGAV. The plan kept Men with Voight as acting secretary UR in the fold for the next thirty years and Jim Shurling and Lloyd Jackson and “negative designations” were as associates; Division of Ministries, used by churches for other causes to William “Bill’’ Jenkins, director, with which a particular church objected. three departments, Social Ministries, In 1986, when debate on the floor of Gene Williams, secretary, Missions, Phil the BGAV annual meeting turned to Rodgerson, secretary, and Campus escrowing SBC portion of the budget Ministry with Jenkins as acting secretary to aid threatened cuts by the SBC to with two associates, Bill Bonner and the BJC, Bill Cumbie responded that “a Cessar Scott; Service Division, Harold church can designate against the SBC Bailey, director, included retirement and designate its funds.” He declared planning, Eagle Eyrie, operation of that “the rights of churches have not the “Baptist Building”, and general been abridged but preserved and services. Richard M. Stephenson, enlarged,” adding “that the BGAV, in its executive director, had responsibilities rules, has gone farther than any other for stewardship, evangelism, and Baptist group for a church to designate information and research. John C. Ivins positively or negatively to any cause.” was assistant to the executive director with particular work on stewardship education and promotional materials. Ivins produced the first motion pictures by and about Virginia Baptists.

Virginia Baptist General Board chairman John Bryan (at podium) conferred in 1971 with Richard Stephenson, executive director, and Bill Lumpkin, clerk (at far right). The clerks kept the records of Board meetings and BGAV meetings and these became a part of the permanent records.


The General Board’s Department of Baptist Men began working alongside the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, a Black Baptist state organization, to provide camping experiences for boys from AfricanAmerican churches. The Department allowed the summer camping to be designated as Camp Johnson which carried an association for Black Baptists. The summer camping offered by Virginia Baptists for boys was quietly and effectively integrated, thereby providing camping experiences for everyone regardless of race, color or ethnic background. By 1971, the BGAV reported 1,425 member churches with 533,650 church members. Together with the African-American Baptist conventions, there were well over 700,000 missionaryminded Baptists, making Virginia Baptists the largest denomination in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The General Board of the BGAV established the Department of ChurchMinister Relations to maintain current files on pastors and to assist churches, upon request, with the names of possible candidates. James C. Massey was the first to serve in this ministry of the Board.


On February 27, Marjorie Bailey became the first woman ordained by Virginia Baptists. In her ministry, she served as a Baptist center director in Richmond Baptist Association, a chaplain at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women, and beginning in 1977, as senior chaplain at the Virginia State Penitentiary. She served with the Chaplain Service of the Churches of Virginia (now GraceInside) and was ordained at the Bainbridge St. Baptist Church, Richmond.

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On April 25, the Virginia Korean Baptist Church, Fairfax was founded and it was the first of the Korean churches within the BGAV. By 2023, there were approximately 60 Korean Baptist churches in the BGAV. In November, at the BGAV annual meeting, Emma Stratton of Afton became the first woman elected as an officer of the General Association. The previous year she became the first woman included in the slate of nominees for an office; and in ‘72 she was elected as first vice president. She came to the position from her service as president of WMUV. In 1974 she was the first woman ever nominated for the presidency of the BGAV. In 1976 and again in 1980, Kathryn Bailey Bradley, former director of church music for Virginia Baptists, was nominated for president; but it would not be until 1982 before a woman was elected as president.

BGAV Officers in 1973 included (l-r) Richard M. Stephenson, executive director; James H. Rayhorn, president; Emma Stratton, first vice president; Ernest Boyd, second vice president. Jim Todd, treasurer, is at top of photo. Emma Stratton was the first woman elected as an officer of the BGAV.

The 150th Anniversary of the BGAV was celebrated in grand style in sessions at the First Baptist Church, Richmond in November 1973. Pictured is a time of worship in which the Virginia Baptist Male Chorale offered musical selections.

Two ministers rode horseback to greet the messengers and visitors to the 150th Anniversary meeting of the BGAV. They were depicting the first state missionaries, the “Bedford Plowboys”, from 1823. Pictured are William R. Pankey (left) and Richard Myers.


The BGAV’s 150th Anniversary was celebrated at its annual meeting held at First Baptist Church, Richmond as well as a session at the University of Richmond. Two ministers who were members of the anniversary committee rode on horseback to the church in period clothing style as the Bedford Plowboys. A book-length scholarly history of the BGAV written by Reuben E. Alley was published as well as a popularized history entitled Meaningful Moments in Virginia Baptist Life by John S. Moore and William L. Lumpkin. The VBGB’s Music Department sponsored a hymn competition and the winning hymn was “Faith to Venture Forth” written by Donald Ambrose, the minister of music at Parkview Baptist Church, Newport News. Other musical contributions included the Virginia Baptist Male Chorale, accompanied by the UR Band, in a presentation of “The Testament of Freedom” by Randall Thompson; the University of Richmond Choir; and the choir of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Richmond, an historic African-American church.

A joint worship service was held by four state Baptist organizations in the Robins Center at the University of Richmond, 1975. The service included the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Worshippers were from churches within the BGAV, the Virginia Baptist State Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and the Virginia Baptist Goodwill Convention.


In November, as part of its annual meeting, the BGAV held an unprecedented joint meeting, on

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the evening of Tuesday, November 11, between the BGAV and representatives from the three Black Baptist state conventions in Virginia: the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, the Virginia Baptist Goodwill Convention, and the Virginia Baptist State Convention. Under the theme of “The New Humanity in Christ,” the meeting was held at the Robins Center on the UR campus and included a celebration of the Lord’s Supper by all gathered at the meeting. The sermon was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Henry C. Gregory, III, senior minister of the Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. Some 6,000 persons attended the joint meeting.


A BGAV team responded to the humanitarian disaster following a massive earthquake in Guatemala with help in rebuilding a Baptist church whose pastor had died in the earthquake. The next year Virginia Baptist volunteers aided with recovery and rebuilding in the Grundy area of Southwest Virginia following severe flooding. Other responses included Costa Rica following an earthquake, Moorefield, WV after a flood, Honduras following Hurricane Mitch, and the area around Franklin in Southeastern Virginia following Hurricane Floyd. The Disaster Response ministry of the BGAV was pioneered by Lloyd Jackson. It continued to assist in all manner of ways following numerous other natural and manmade disasters.

SBC Foreign Mission Board launched “Bold Mission Thrust” at the SBC annual meeting held in Norfolk. Conceived during the last years of the administration of Baker James Cauthen, it was a primary focus during the administration of Keith Parks “to present the gospel to everyone in the world by A.D. 2000.”


WMUV approved the recommendation to consolidate its three camps into one new camp to be located near Lowesville in Nelson County and to be known as Camp Little Cross Roads (now CrossRoads) as a reminder of missionary Lottie Moon’s similarly-named house in China, a home provided by WMUV. The

new camp was provided largely by gifts from Virginia Baptist women under the direction of Kathryn Bullard, executive director of Virginia WMU. It was dedicated in June 1985.


The BGAV began the Virginia/New England Partnership as a way of linking churches and associations. Bill Jenkins and, later, Roland Bailey, served as coordinators for the work with the Baptist General Association of New England. Numerous Virginia Baptists visited New England for construction projects and relationship building.


Virginia Baptist Ministers’ Wives organization was established and began to hold well-attended gatherings at BGAV annual meetings.

A Korean Baptist choir brought music to one of the BGAV annual meetings. Korean Baptists were among the several national, language and ethnic churches which joined the BGAV largely beginning in the 1970s.


From the Seventies unto the present, there was a great influx of new residents coming into Virginia from other countries; and the BGAV, district associations and local churches reached out to assist fellow believers. During the period there was a surge of ethnic, language and nationality congregations. Among the many diverse people groups, all serving One Lord, were Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Kachin (from Myanmar), Slavic (Russian), Portuguese, Arabic, and Hispanic as well as churches so inclusive as to carry the name “International”. Among the catalytic language missionaries was George C. Harbuck, Jr., of the Richmond Baptist Association. Many of the language churches joined the BGAV.


The Priorities Committee of the 1980s endorsed a Bylaw change allowing “negative designations” so that a church

could elect not to contribute to a certain line item(s) in the BGAV budget, thereby giving everyone a sense of inclusiveness in giving to the budget. By 1992, 81% of the churches adopted the approved budget plan while 19% chose to give through other plans. The ability to negatively-designate gave everyone an opportunity to come “under the BGAV umbrella.” Virginia Baptists rescued the Virginia Baptist Homes, Inc. in a time of financial crisis. Meredith Roberson, president of the VBH, appealed for a massive infusion of funds; and the BGAV made an unprecedented approval of permitting the VBH to go directly to the churches in fundraising. In 1987, Roberson reported with gratitude that the crisis had passed. The SBC Controversy was addressed by an SBC appointed “Peace Committee” which included three Virginians: Charles Fuller, chairman of the committee; Christine B. Gregory, a leader in WMU, SBC; and Peter James Flamming who replaced Cecil Sherman who had resigned out of conscience and frustration. In time, Sherman became a Virginia Baptist and taught at BTSR as well as serving numerous interim pastorates. The Peace Committee was a noble but ill-fated attempt to heal deep divisions within the SBC.


The Virginia Baptists Moderate Network began to keep Baptists informed about developments within the state and national denominational life. In 2000 the Network became a dues-paying organization known as Virginia Baptists Committed which promoted “preserving, protecting and promoting the witness of mainstream Baptists in Virginia.”


The Virginia Baptist Hospital agreed to change its relationship with the BGAV to one of a “program ministry” with the School of Pastoral Care becoming the only ministry directly supported by the BGAV. In 1983 the relationship between the VBH and the BGAV was completely dissolved except for the “shared ministry” relationship with the School of Pastoral Care. The person so long associated with the school was Marvin Gold.


At the November 1982 BGAV annual meeting held in Alexandria, Christine Burton Gregory, a member of the First Baptist Church, Danville, became the first woman to be elected president of the BGAV. She was the only person nominated for the office. She had served as president of WMUV and the national WMU as well as a vice president of the SBC. Subsequently, other women were elected to the presidency, as follows: Jean Woodward, Margaret B. Wayland, Mary B. Wilson, Elizabeth “Beth” Cumbie Fogg, Ann Fitzgerald Brown, and Nancy Stanton McDaniel. Mrs. McDaniel was the first ordained woman minister elected as president. Jean Woodward and her husband, Robert F. Woodward, a minister, had the distinction of having both been elected as president of a state Baptist convention - Robert in Maryland and Jean in Virginia - and believed to be the only such couple in the history of the SBC. Mary Wilson’s background was in business as a successful realtor. An office of denominational relations with Baptist schools and colleges was established within the Board staff and led by Dr. Kenneth D. Glass, former president of Virginia Intermont College. Dr. Glass served in this office until his death on Easter Sunday in April 2001 and no one was hired to replace him. “Partnership Missions” became a channel for forming international relationships and direct assistance where needed. Virginia Baptists also were open as true partners to welcome Baptists of other nationalities and benefit from their expertise. The motion for a Human Needs Committee was moved at the 1983 BGAV annual meeting by a messenger, Ben Rogers; and after much preliminary research, planning, and work, the first partnership began in 1986 with Tanzania, lasting until 1991. Reggie McDonough, John Ivins, and F.A. Carmines, field coordinator, provided much of the leadership. Members of the Tanzania Committee were Joe Burton, Ted Fuson, Christine Gregory, Richard Wharam, William Russ, and Earl Scott. Future partnerships included Mexico City, Costa Rica, Hungary, Pennsylvania/South Jersey Convention, Panama, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Brazil, Austria, Jamaica, and Italy. In addition,

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teams performed humanitarian aid in Nicaragua, Honduras, among the Romany people in Europe, among the Muslim neighborhoods in Paris, France, and in India. Partnership Missions was led by Board staff members - Charles Bryan, Rolen Bailey, Ervin Hastey; Tom Prevost; John V. Upton, Jr.; Jerry Jones; and Dean Miller. Thousands of Virginia Baptist volunteers participated across the years. Mount Vernon Baptist Association, a large district association in Northern Virginia, created an Ethnic Ministries Commission to promote ministry to language groups, to encourage churches to sponsor refugee families and individuals, and to determine legal assistance and counsel for resident aliens. William J. Cumbie, executive director of the MVBA, reported 53 language groups in Northern Virginia and around 140,000 ethnic residents. He led the MVBA to appoint missionaries to the Hispanic community and to the Southeast Asian community in Northern Virginia. The VBMB was also promoting ministries to the various ethnic and language groups. Phillip E. Rodgerson, VBMB director of missions, declared that “language missions is the most exciting thing happening in Virginia.” He urged the following principles: 1. “Be a friend, have compassion” 2. “Teach them about one true God” 3. “Numbers 15:14-16 - ‘As you are, so shall the alien be before the Lord.’” James Benson, a VBMB staff member, promoted language ministries and there were language catalytic missionaries in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Mount Vernon associations. A news organization for moderate Baptists appeared under the leadership of veteran journalist Waker Knight. It first was known as SBC Today, “a national autonomous publication of news and opinion for Southern Baptists and others,” later as Baptists Today, and still later, Nurturing Faith Journal. In 2020 it merged with the Baptist Center for Ethics to take the overall name of Good Faith Media.

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Young Cho, then minister of education at Antioch Korean Baptist Church, Annandale, was ordained on January 29. She was believed to be the first Southern Baptist Korean woman to be ordained.

In June at the SBC annual meeting, SBC messengers passed a resolution opposing women in ministry, citing woman’s role in the Edenic fall. By the November meeting of the BGAV, Virginia Baptists considered the following resolution: “Baptists have recognized throughout their history that God in His infinite wisdom has chosen from the beginning of time to call men and women to be laborers together with Him and with one another in the building of His Kingdom. We firmly believe in the equality of privilege and responsibility of all believers in God and in His continuing call today to whomsoever He chooses to do His work, without regard for race, nationality or gender. We affirm our conviction that men and women share equally the guilt for the advent of sin in the world… We encourage all Christian believers to recognize, accept and develop their God-given gifts for worship, witness, ministry and nurture.” John Mann, a minister and messenger, offered an amendment which was accepted, as follows: “We affirm the right and responsibility of women to engage in any ministry to which God has called them; and any ordination in regard to the performance of those ministries be regarded as a matter of local church practice, not denominational policy.” The resolution and amendment were approved. BGAV staff leaders consulted with Lyle Schaller, a church specialist, who reminded Virginia Baptists that in these times “each state convention has to be a mini-denomination” and surprised his listeners when he observed that the BGAV had “an advantage” because it was “about 25 times the size of the average Episcopal Dioceses and that if it [considered itself a distinct denomination] it would be larger than 19 other national denominations.” He chided the BGAV to “act your size” and “act like you are a full-fledged denomination.” In reporting Schaller’s comments at the BGAV annual meeting, John Upton shared statistics

showing that the BGAV was the largest Protestant group in Virginia and that its membership comprised 8% of the population of Virginia while most other denominations would like to be at 1%. Samuel T. Carson, a minister from Pennington Gap, was elected to the VBGB as a representative of Powell River Association. He was the first Black to serve on the Board.


The 150th anniversary of the missionary couple, the Shucks, who pioneered missions work in China, was the subject of a large exhibit mounted by the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and shown at the BGAV annual meeting in Salem, the WMU,SBC annual meeting in Atlanta, and at two churches associated with the Shucks: Kilmarnock Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Richmond.


For the Bicentennial of Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the Virginia Baptist Historical Society cosponsored with the VBGB’s Christian Life Concerns office and the BJC a program held at First Baptist Church, Richmond which attracted some 600 persons and representatives of 80 BGAV churches constituted at the time of the struggle for religious liberty.


At the height of the SBC Controversy, a new Baptist organization began which attracted those disenchanted with the direction of the SBC. It was The Alliance of Baptists which began “as a prophetic voice in Baptist life.”


Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry organized to advocate for women who were called to the Gospel ministry. Richmond was the host city for the Centennial of WMU, SBC which had been founded in Richmond in 1888. Thousands of women from across the nation attended the sessions in the Coliseum and viewed the exhibits in the Convention Center. The Virginia Baptist Historical Society held its annual meeting in conjunction with the WMU Centennial and some 750 persons attended including 35 foreign representatives and numerous WMU dignitaries.

Religious Liberty was the subject of a special exhibit on the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights and mounted by the Virginia Baptist Historical Society at the Virginia State Fair. Some 500,000 fair visitors passed through the exhibit hall.


BGAV Officers in 1988 posed for a keepsake photograph. Pictured (l-r) Eva Easley, second vice president; Neal Jones, president; and Michael J. Clingenpeel, first vice president.

The first disaster relief trailer was purchased and volunteers helped equip it by the following year. Hurricane Andrew in Florida provided the first opportunity to use the mobile kitchen in an actual disaster. The VBGB and the Home Mission Board were supporting the Baptist College and Seminary of Washington, Inc., an educational institution which related to numerous areas of Baptist life and work including Korean Baptists and Language Missions.


Virginia Baptists Young Leaders Program began as the creative brainchild of Bob Dale, director of the church and minister support group of the VBGB. It continued until 2009.

Jean Woodward, BGAV president, and Reginald M. McDonough, executive director, show shirts signifying their offices in the General Association, 1989.

The Virginia Baptist History Mural painted by artist Sidney E. King of Caroline County was presented at the BGAV annual meeting held in Salem and almost 4,000 persons viewed the mural which consisted of 36 panels. The mural is housed in the Heritage Gallery of the VBHS’s building at the University of Richmond.

BGAV Officers in 1991: (l-r) Ron Crawford, first vice president; John Houghton, second vice president; Michael J. Oblinger, president; and Fred Anderson, clerk.

Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) founded in the Fall of 1991 with 32 students. Dating to 1989, Its earliest roots were in the Theological Education Committee of the Alliance of Baptists (originally known as the Southern Baptist Alliance) which envisioned a new image for Baptist theological education. BTSR began with quarters in Northminster Baptist Church and, in time, began to occupy nearby buildings belonging to the Presbyterian Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Over the course of 27 years, BTSR enabled hundreds of men and women to fulfill their sense of ministry calling, enriched thousands of individual Baptists and BGAV churches, and encountered the complexities of being Christian servants in such a time as this. In time, BTSR moved into renovated facilities within an office and business park in Henrico County. Presidents of BTSR were Dr. Thomas H. Graves, 19912007, Dr. Ron Crawford, 2007-2017, and Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges, 2017-2019. BTSR closed in January 2019.


Cooperative Baptist Fellowship formed in reaction to changes within the SBC.

The Virginia Baptist Historical Society received a $50,000 grant from the BGAV to renovate the first floor of its building on the UR campus. The grant enabled the Society to relocate its library and archives to another floor and to create a Heritage Gallery with changing exhibits as well as additional space for researchers.

Baptist Center for Ethics founded by Robert Parham and became a “shared ministry” with BGAV.

With Editor Pentecost’s retirement from the Religious Herald, its trustees elected Michael J. Clingenpeel, pastor


of the Franklin Baptist Church, to serve as editor. He sought “to champion the lofty principles of freedom and cooperative missions” which he was able to do with the Herald’s editorial freedom. He was assisted by Robert H. Dilday, associate editor.

The Center for Creative Church Leadership Development began as a VBGB program under the direction of Bob Dale and it was officially launched in April 1994. In 2004, the Center morphed into the Ray and Ann Spence Network for Congregational Leadership (RASNet), again initially under Dale. The BGAV Budget Committee presented three giving plans from which churches could choose the pathway of their World Missions distribution and World Missions I, II and III became the Virginia Baptist way of processing the choices of churches. World Missions I followed the SBC budget; WM II (sometimes called “the Virginia Plan”) followed SBC and Missions Direct; and WM3 was the CBF pathway. The budget would continue 2% of all gifts towards the BGAV Partnership Missions while 62% went towards Cooperative Missions in Virginia. In time, numerous churches designed their own giving plan. BTSR in Virginia and The G.W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University in Texas were included under WM3.


The office of African-American Church Development was led by Roy Cotton. Its mission was the “starting of new churches and helping to develop congregations, assisting churches and associations in reaching the unchurched.”

“Daughters of Destiny” was the theme of an exhibit and booklet which featured the contributions of Virginia Baptist women across the years. Some 5,000 copies of the booklet were mailed to all Virginia Baptist ministers and WMU directors in the state. Impact Virginia, largely the vision of Bill Berry, began ministries of home renovation and construction in areas of Virginia where there was great need. It depended upon volunteers including youth and adults.

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An Evangelism Task Force was appointed to implement a plan “to evangelize every Virginian by 2000.” The Task Force considered the challenges and reported that effective evangelism required “renewed vision and an enlivened spirit.” Ministering to Ministers Foundation was created and began serving ministers, especially those who had been terminated by their church or were in a crisis situation. Charles H. Chandler was the key mover and leader behind Ministering to Ministers. “The SBC Controversy” or simply “The Controversy” became the description in the common vernacular to encapsulate a long and deep divide within the Southern Baptist Convention which extended back at least to the Seventies. Scarcely a church, association, state convention, denominational agency and institution or even the people in the pews were not affected by “The Controversy.” By 1990 “The Controversy” had produced two large camps of Baptists within the BGAV often identified as “fundamentalists” and “moderates”. The 1990 BGAV annual meeting held in Richmond and presided over by President Ray Spence witnessed the largest attendance in modern times with 4,646 messengers present. A President’s Task Force on the Denominational Crisis monitored “The Controversy” for Virginia Baptists, reporting at the BGAV annual meetings and communicating to the SBC the concerns of those within the BGAV and a Special Committee on the Denominational Crisis continued to maintain watchcare over the developing situation. In 1989 the VBGB published and widely-distributed a booklet entitled On These Truths We Stand which could be used as a study book on time-honored Baptist principles and characteristics. The separate principles were also published in the Religious Herald. A Memorial (a time-honored method by Virginia Baptists and other Baptists to summarize and state concerns) was sent by the messengers to the 1988 BGAV annual meeting to the messengers of the 1989 SBC annual meeting although the SBC Executive Committee gave it limited attention. The BGAV directed its Committee on Boards and Committees to nominate two persons to the SBC president for the SBC Committee on Committees but these were routinely ignored. When

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the SBC reduced or eliminated funds to various organizations such as the Baptist World Alliance or the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs (now “for Religious Liberty”), the BGAV increased its allocations to these entities. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia organized.


The 150th anniversary of the SBC was the focus of the annual meeting of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. The keynote speaker was Jesse C. Fletcher, author of a history of the SBC and chancellor of Hardin-Simmons University. At the meeting, the VBHS recognized the lifetime contributions of a distinguished Baptist historian, William Latane Lumpkin of Virginia.

“The Lamp Unto My Feet”, a Bible exhibit, was created and displayed in the Heritage Gallery of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. It included over 60 Bibles in the VBHS collection including rare editions from the 12th and 13th-centuries. A new strategic plan for the BGAV carried the following vision statement: “We, the BGAV with Virginia as our garden and the world as our field, affirm to live in Christ and to serve on mission for Him. To this end we: 1. Receive the Holy Scripture as inspired and authoritative 2. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed 3. Engage in vigorous intellectual inquiry 4. Uphold justice with integrity 5. Exercise mercy with compassion 6. Respect all persons as inherently equal before God 7. Cherish the freedom with which Christ has set us free 8. Love the community of faith 9. Serve redemptively to the stranger. The BGAV widely distributed a promotional brochure known as “the wheat brochure” because it carried a photograph of a wheat field. It listed the below values which were adopted by the BGAV in its strategic report.

VALUES of the BGAV Centrality of Christ Authority of Holy Scripture Priesthood of Believers Soul Competency Religious Liberty Separation of Church and State Autonomy of the Local Church Believer’s Baptism Respect for Persons Intellectual Integrity Cooperative Spirit Compassion for Unbelievers Responsiveness to a Changing World


On September 16, in a meeting at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, Richmond, the SBCV fellowship sought to become a Southern Baptist state convention. On October 1, the SBC Executive Committee officially acknowledged the SBCV as a new state convention. In recent years, the organization has changed the third word in its name from “Conservative” to “Convention” so that it is now the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. Some churches left the BGAV to join the new group while some chose to be “duly-aligned” with both state organizations. At the 1996 BGAV annual meeting, messengers approved a resolution on the new state convention, as follows: “Whereas, a group of individuals and churches within the BGAV has chosen to organize a new state convention, and Whereas, Baptists have historically placed a high value on cooperation, while affirming the freedom of Christians to organize as deemed necessary to further the work of the Kingdom of God; We now give thanks for years of fruitful ministry together and express regret over this division, and hereby Resolve to remain hopeful for reunion.”

The General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was held in Richmond at the Richmond Convention Center and Coliseum, bringing thousands of Baptist visitors to Virginia. The Virginia Baptist Historical Society mounted a large exhibit which featured the historical characters who appeared in a play presented before

the CBF attendees by professional actors and written by Fred Anderson, executive director of the VBHS.

by Mark Olson, 2007-17, Brent Walker, interim 2017-19, William H. Smith, 201922, and Kenneth R. Pruitt, 2022- .

African-American Baptist history was the focus of the annual meeting of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society with the guest speaker, Samuel D. Proctor. Remembered at the meeting was the life and work of the late C.S. McCall, a Black Richmond Baptist pastor who led the way for Black churches to join the BGAV. McCall’s papers were given to the VBHS.

“Acts of Faith: First Century Commitment in a 21st Century World” became the overarching theme for several years of BGAV/VBMB ministries. The charter was changed from “Virginia Baptist General Board” to “Virginia Baptist Mission Board”. A vision emerged which was expressed by the following statement: “The Commonwealth of Virginia as our garden and the world as our field.” Partnership covenants were developed between the BGAV and its numerous ministry and mission partners.

At the BGAV annual meeting in November, the messengers approved the recommendation to change the name of the Board from the Virginia Baptist General Board to the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. The Mission Board staffing was restructured. “Church First” became a watchword; and Reginald M. McDonough, executive director, stated: “Church First is the burning desire of the Board and our ministry partners across Virginia. Virginia Baptists have renewed the focus of our energies on three strategic ministries - expanding mission for our churches, equipping our churches for even more effective ministry, and enriching the spiritual growth of every Baptist church member in our Commonwealth. The churches are central in our planning. Every resource in Baptist life revolves around congregations. The only reason any denominational structure exists is to serve local churches and to help them introduce people to God’s Kingdom.” Church First required a reorganization of the Board staff and the committees of the Board, as follows: Leadership Development; Mission Resource; Mission Mobilization; Church Ministries; Student Ministries; and Support Services.


The John Leland Center began in Northern Virginia and with satellites in several BGAV churches and started offering classes in the fall of 1998 with its first graduation in April 2002. Its primary mission was “to prepare men and women for leadership in ministry” and its thrust was to educate bi-vocational ministers. Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church provided the first space for the new seminary from 1998-2002 and The Church at Clarendon has served as the location since 2002. Randel Everett was the founding president, followed

Appalachian Baptist history was the focus of the annual meeting of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society with David VanHoy, a teacher at Oak Hill Academy, sharing stories and music which capsulized the cultural and religious life of mountain folk . The BGAV’s “Mission Virginia” emphasis addressed racial equality with the following statement and approaches: “The history of Black and white persons in America has been intertwined from the very beginning. In 1619, one year before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, the first shipload of Africans landed [in Virginia]. Blacks and whites have co-existed on American soil. Sadly, however, little Christian community has existed between Blacks and whites until recent days. Racism has kept us apart. In recent years, efforts have begun to pursue racial equality among Baptists. But much remains to be done. The strategy involves: 1. Discovering and promoting models which bring Christians together for joint ministries and programs. These models should include Christian fellowship, ministry and missions projects, worship and evangelism 2. Promoting a celebration of spirituality during Black History Month 3. Including more African-Americans and ethnics in all leadership groups, boards, and committees 4. Supporting activities planned by African-Americans and ethnics 5. Seeking approaches, such as conferences, retreats, and seminars, that would increase sensitivity and understanding among the races.”


The State Mission Offering was renamed as the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions to honor the Virginia native who became a household name among Baptist women during her long tenure as the executive of WMU/SBC.

BGAV Officers in 1998: (l-r) Joseph T. Lewis, first vice president; William G. “Bill” Wilson, president; and James D. Pardue, second vice president.

The first of two BGAV annual meetings focused upon the 175th anniversary of the General Association. David Schwoebel of Derbyshire Baptist Church, Richmond composed an anthem for the anniversary. Professor Alf J. Mapp, Jr., a history professor at Old Dominion University and a member of Churchland Baptist Church, was the keynote speaker and “brought down the house” as he called upon Virginia Baptists to remain true to their heritage.


The BGAV began a prayer ministry with Chinese Christians through the China Christian Council. Lynn Yarbrough served as an ambassador of Virginia Baptists among the Chinese and assisted numerous Virginia Baptist volunteers who went to China especially to teach English. Dr. Cao, president of the China Christian Council, along with other Chinese Christians, made two visits to BGAV leaders in Richmond; and several key leaders in the BGAV went to Shanghai to meet the Chinese Christian leaders. The Virginia Baptist Historical Society mounted an exhibit in its Heritage Gallery for the 300th anniversary of a Baptist presence in Virginia based upon the record of preaching by an English Baptist, Thomas Bonger, in Yorktown in 1699. With the growing number of Black churches joining the BGAV, the position of African-American Music Consultant was added and filled by Karen Croston.

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The second of two BGAV annual meetings to celebrate its 150th anniversary featured the first arts competition among Virginia Baptists. An award-winning artwork was “Enduring the Physical and Emotional Pain”, which explored the suffering of Jesus and was created by Michael L. Martin of Bruington Baptist Church. At the November annual meeting, following a committee’s study, the BGAV approved a new relationship with the University of Richmond in which the BGAV would no longer appoint any trustees to the UR Board and the BGAV, UR and the Virginia Baptist Historical Society would appoint members of a Board of Directors for a new entity, the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies. The Heritage Center began its educational ministry in 2000 and it has promoted Baptist heritage in a variety of ways including publications, programs, and the appointment of Heritage Fellows among Virginia Baptist college students. Fred Anderson was the founding executive director of the Center; and upon his retirement, Nathan L. Taylor has served as executive director.


District associations which were formed in the first quarter of the 21st century through unions with previously existing associations or which changed their name included Central Virginia (previously known as Albemarle); Fredericksburg Area Baptist Network (previously Fredericksburg); NorthStar Church Network (2003) which included churches in the former Potomac and Mount Vernon Associations; The Bridge Network of Churches (2013) which included churches in the former Accomack and Norfolk Associations; The River City Faith Network (also known as Richmond Baptist Association); and Western Blue Ridge Baptist Network. Additionally, for varying reasons including “affinity not geography,” in the 20th and 21st centuries there were several hundred churches which identified themselves as “BGAV Only”, indicating that they were not affiliated with any of the district associations within the geographic borders of Virginia. Some of these were further identified as multi-site churches and/or watchcare churches.

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The Mission Board commissioned “Virginia Baptist Servants”, who served as cooperative missionaries jointly funded by the VBMB and the North American Mission Board or another ministry partner. “Virginia Baptist Servants” included Lynn Yarbrough, who served as the field coordinator for the BGAV China prayer project, Emile SamPeale of Liberia, and Rachel Stephen who served as field coordinator for volunteers working with Romany people in Slovakia.


On September 11, hijacked jetliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field in Pennsylvania. On the following day, Virginia Baptists responded by going to Edison, New Jersey, the staging area for the disaster relief work in NYC. A feeding operation by the Virginia team provided over 56,000 meals for emergency workers, fire, police and construction workers. Virginia Baptists also provided free apartment cleaning for over 700 apartments in buildings near the World Trade Center. The BGAV disaster relief ministry continued into December. The following year many Baptists returned to participate through the Salvation Army. The Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies gathered and published sermons delivered by Virginia Baptist ministers on the Sunday following the Tuesday of “9/11” and all proceeds from sales of the book were donated to the Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry to purchase additional equipment for feeding stations. On the day following “9/11”, Virginia Baptists again were shocked and saddened with the sudden death of their beloved BGAV treasurer, Nathaniel “Nat” W. Kellum. Nat had served as treasurer and business manager since 1982. Following the announced retirement of Reginald M. McDonough, at the BGAV annual meeting, the executive director search committee reported and recommended the appointment of a VBMB staff member, John V. Upton, Jr., who was duly elected with a starting date in the executive director’s position of March 1, 2002. At the 2002 BGAV annual meeting, in November, Eddie Stratton of Waynesboro, Virginia, was elected as treasurer.

On September 22, the BWA opened its new headquarters building in Falls Church. Previously the headquarters had been in McLean.


The Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies offered a summit conference for district association directors of missions and others on “The Past and Possible Futures of Local Associations.” Thelma Hall Miller compiled a book on the conference which was published by the Heritage Center. On May 10, in a special called meeting of the BGAV held at the First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, John V. Upton, Jr., cast a new vision for Virginia Baptists called Kingdom Advance. Even the very term evoked the heritage of the BGAV, recalling the phrase in the original constitution of 1823: “To advance the Redeemer’s Kingdom.” The Kingdom Advance concept was affirmed by the VBMB and the messengers to the called meeting; and throughout the balance of the year, Upton and other leaders designed the details of the strategic plan. It necessitated a reorganization of staff to reflect the Kingdom Advance goals with four mission areas: Emerging Leaders, Empowering Leaders, “Glocal” Missions and Evangelism, and Courageous Churches. A fifth area was Support Services. The new organization and its budget requirements were adopted at the BGAV annual meeting in November.


An Arabic/Muslim ministry was begun within the Glocal Missions and Evangelism Team of the VBMB. The term “Muslim Background Believers” came into the BGAV vocabulary and the director of the new ministry was Faysal Y. Sharif. In 2004 the first gathering of MBBs drew attendees from 23 countries who resided in the United States.

The new Kingdom Advance staff structure and its leaders were as follows: Emerging Leaders Team, Susan McBride; “Glocal” Missions and Evangelism Team, Jerry Jones; Empowering Leaders Team, Jim White; and Courageous Churches Team, John Chandler. Eddie Stratton led Support Services. The Christian Life Committee of the

BGAV compiled a report for Virginia Baptists on ways in which they could relate to Islamic neighbors. In the wake of “9/11” there was tension in America over Muslims; and the committee’s report stressed the need “to follow Christ’s example, especially when relating to individuals of other faiths.”

Richmond, with 700 in attendance. The Network was a vision of Bob Dale and it was developed by his successor, John Chandler with assistance from Laura McDaniel. Soon words such as “Uptick” - a term within the Network’s Young Leaders Development - came into the lexicon of Virginia Baptists.

The Virginia Baptist Historical Society appointed James H. Slatton as its first “Scholar-in-Residence”. His project was to research and write a biography of William Heth Whitsitt, the Southern Baptist educator whose research revealed “an inconvenient truth” on the beginnings of the Baptist movement and resulted in a controversy within the SBC which bore his name. Slatton’s book, entitled W.H. Whitsitt: The Man and the Controversy, was published by Mercer Press in 2009.

The Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies published the first of twelve issues of Heritage Seekers, a full-color magazine designed to teach children about Baptist history and heritage. The Heritage Center also invited its first class of Heritage Fellows, Virginia Baptist college students selected for intensive study in Baptist principles and heritage. Each class of Heritage Fellows researched a subject and their papers were published in book form. To date, over 25 Heritage Fellows have been appointed. The Heritage Center also assembled a large traveling exhibit on “Virginia’s Heritage of Kingdom Advance” which toured Southwest Virginia.


In August, Editor Clingenpeel resigned his editorship of the Religious Herald to become pastor of River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond. He was followed in 2005 by James E. White, then pastor of the First Baptist Church, Newport News. Editor White called for an inclusive approach which acknowledged “room at the table for everyone who seeks to be led by the Spirit of Christ.” Robert H. Dilday continued as associate editor.

Kingdom Advance Ambassadors of the BGAV included Lynn Yarbrough, China; Emile Sam-Peal, Liberia; Walter and Alzira Freire, Muslim ministries in Paris, France; Ralph and Tammy Stocks, Gypsy People of Eastern Europe; Fayal Sharif, Arabic/Muslim; and Daniel Carro, Latino. Baptist Polity was the subject of a convocation sponsored by the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies. Papers from the presentations were published by the Heritage Center under the title Walking Together. The BGAV approved joining the Baptist World Alliance. The Ray and Ann Spence Network for Congregational Leadership (known as RASNet or the Spence Network) began with a generous gift from Second Baptist Church, Richmond where Spence was pastor for 45 years. In early 2006 RASNet was launched with an inaugural event at St. Paul’s Baptist Church,

WMUV developed a “Dignity of Women” statement which, in part, declared: “We affirm the call of God on a woman’s life in whatever way a woman discerns and answers the call.”


Averett University, a longtime BGAV ministry partner, and the BGAV parted over several concerns. They wanted to continue jointly-developing the Southwest Virginia Christian Leadership Network (established by the VBMB in December 2004) yet “walk separate paths with blessings on one another.” In 2011, Averett returned to the BGAV.

The terrible devastation following Hurricane Katrina brought numerous Virginia Baptist response teams into the area of the Gulf Coast. Virginia Baptist disaster relief directors following Lloyd Jackson included Jim George, Terry Raines, and Dean Miller. “Affinity not geography” became a watchword as the first church beyond Virginia joined the BGAV. Messengers from the First Baptist Church of Rome, Georgia, were recognized at the BGAV annual meeting held at Hylton Memorial Chapel, Woodbridge.

The Christian Life Committee issued a report on “A Christian Response to Ethnic Diversity”. The Latino Network of Virginia Baptists was a joint endeavor of WMUV, CBFV, BTSR, the Leland Center, and the VBMB. English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) was one of the focuses of Glocal Missions. A new name was given: TELL (Teaching English to Language Learners). In November, at the annual meeting, Barbara Filling, a woman pastor, was elected as second vice president of the BGAV.


The Executive Committee of the VBMB affirmed the BGAV’s “historic partnership with the Virginia Baptist State Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and encouraged discussions with the conventions to determine new ways for the BGAV to extend the relationship by partnering in ministry opportunities and mutually seeking ways to minister within the State of Virginia.” Eagle Eyrie completed an extraordinary renovation of Cedar Crest Hotel and celebrated its Golden Anniversary on June 17. The first six Venturers were commissioned at the BGAV annual meeting held at Virginia Beach. The Venturers program offered missions opportunities for individuals to serve from six months to two years.


In order to reach more Latinos in Virginia, four regional catalysts were appointed to serve in the Northern, Tidewater, Capital, and Southwest regions. Baptist Women in Ministry, a national organization, began promoting an annual “Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching” - remembering the pioneer Baptist woman preacher and urged Baptist congregations to invite a woman to preach during the emphasis held each March. In 2019 the organization changed the name to

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BWIM Month of Preaching; and again in 2023, the name was changed to BWIM Month of Advocacy.

ministry certificate program known as Semillas de Mostaza which is Spanish for “Mustard Seeds”.


The BGAV president appointed an Affinity Study Committee “to explore the issues related to affinity relationships.” Bob Dale served as chair. The committee’s report was received and approved at the 2010 BGAV annual meeting. The committee’s “basic purpose for the future” stated: “We believe the BGAV’s future ministries will grow from expanded affinity relationships focused on missionand-freedom.” Recommendations included “focusing on ministries wherever God may lead; channeling efforts on missions and evangelism, church planting and congregational growth, disaster recovery, compassion ministries, and leadership development; proactively seek out and invite our faith kin with shared missions-andfreedom callings to join us in affinity relationships; cultivate our spiritual pioneers; continuing to develop more agile and entrepreneurial leaders for our emerging challenges; and designing an even more missions-oriented and flexible budget with quick access to funds for unanticipated missions-andfreedom opportunities.”

Kingdom Advance went to a new level with “KA 2.0 - Shaping the Future” which was planned for a five-year period.

BGAV funds began to be offered for scholarships along with an Educational Endowment Fund. Eligible Virginia Baptist students received assistance through the following: 1. BGAV Achievement Scholarship for Academies at one of the BGAVpartnering academies 2. BGAV Achievement Scholarship for undergraduate education 3. BGAV Ministerial Education Funds for undergraduate or graduate education in preparation for vocational ministry 4. BGAV Non-traditional Ministry Education Scholarship that allowed individuals to capitalize on opportunities to secure training and continuing education for work in the local church. The Spence Network became “Uptick” Network of high-potential leaders, ages 23-35, “who have significant potential to start and/or lead ministries of major impact.” Beginning in 2014, there were “Uptick Artists” and on occasion they shared their gifts in BGAV annual meetings. By 2015 there had been 110 “Uptickers”. John Chandler and Laura McDaniel who had led the “Uptick” Network concluded their service in 2023; and the new team leader was Paul Maconochie. Sonya Habimana was to fill the position previously held by Laura McDaniel. Primera Iglesia Bautista Church of Rome, Georgia, was accepted into the BGAV. Thirteen Virginia Baptists participated in the dedication of the Precious Children International Village which was led by Kunjomon Chacko and located in Kerala, India. Its completion was a three-year partnership project of the India Baptist Convention, the BGAV, and Baptist World Aid.


The Leland Center and the Latino Network of Virginia Baptists launched a

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At the 2009 BGAV annual meeting, the Legacy Builders Campaign, the first endowment effort for the VBMB/BGAV was launched with the goal of $1 million from 1,000 charter donors. After study by a committee, it was determined that future BGAV annual meetings would return to churches rather than convention centers. “Kingdom Advance 2.0” was the further enhancement of the Kingdom Advance program with three objectives: “1. Creating Kingdom Culture focused on Kingdom expansion through launching new churches and empowering existing churches 2. Building 21st Century Community by networking, using technology, and strengthening relationships such as ‘670’ and mission-shaped communities 3. Embracing an affinity-based identity transcending geographic boundaries.”

The Courageous Churches Team sent a delegation to Sheffield in the UK to learn more about “mission-shaped” communities with specific sociological, ecclesiological, and missional identity. The various communities observed in the UK included students, young adults, vulnerable people, business people, families, and the elderly. HopeTree, the new name for the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home, opened the HopeTree Education Center on the Salem campus which offered high school alternative education. The Virginia Baptist Homes, Inc. became known as LifeSpire.


John V. Upton, Jr., executive director of the BGAV, elected to a five-year term as president of the Baptist World Alliance. Bluefield College began an exchange program with Jiangsu Institute of Education in China.

The VBMB Executive Committee approved the structure for the Christian Leadership Network, successor to the Southwest Virginia Christian Leadership Network. Glocal Missions through the Disaster Relief ministry was making an ongoing response in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which occurred in Haiti and included construction of an orphanage for the island country. Fresh Expressions movement took root in the United States largely due to the support of the BGAV. Travis Collins, then pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond, promoted the concept before the VBMB and it became “a national, cross-denominational movement” to reach the large portion of Americans who were not affiliated with any church. The first national gathering was held in 2012. In 2014, Fresh Expressions held its second national gathering at First Baptist Church, Alexandria; and ten regional or national denominations were collaborating with Virginia Baptists in developing Fresh Expressions US and 350 congregations were participating. In 2013, Chris Backert began serving as national director of

Fresh Expressions and Gannon Sims was responsible for networks and communications.


After a period of construction, the Church at Clarendon, a Baptist congregation in Arlington, welcomed the Leland Seminary into its totally renovated quarters. Averett University, at the initiation of Frank Maddox, chair of Averett’s Board of Trustees and with the installation of Tiffany Franks as president of the University, sought reconciliation with the BGAV. The VBMB approved the concept and Jeff Bloomer, a former BGAV president, was asked to chair a reconciliation committee. After meetings and discussions, Averett presented a draft covenant to which the BGAV reconciliation committee made minor changes; and the covenant was approved by the VBMB Executive Committee and the VBMB. It was adopted by the BGAV at the 2011 annual meeting, and Averett returned as a partner.

Kingdom Advance Ambassadors included Johnny Almond for military ministers; Daniel Carro for Latino ministries; Robert and Celia Munson, community ministries in the Philippines; Faysal Sharif, Muslim ministries; Greg and Sue Smith, LUCHA and Latino ministries; Ralph and Tammy Stocks, Romany Gypsies/Romania; and Lynn Yarbrough, China. Among the partnership missions/glocal missions projects were the Latino Network working with the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec; engaging with the Romany Gypsy People through CBF; the China Christian Council; the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota; and relationship with Kunjumon Chacko and his orphanage in India.


Mark A. Croston, Sr., pastor of East End Baptist Church, Suffolk was the first Black to serve as president of the BGAV.

“More Than Nets” was presented at the BGAV annual meeting. In partnership with the Ghana Baptist Convention and directed by Emmanuel Mustafa, the

project was to provide thousands of mosquito nets to help prevent malaria. In addition, the project started many new churches in Ghana.


V3 (Voice, Viral, Volume) became a part of the BGAV and its Board’s work. The church planting program was led by JR Woodward, national director. The following year, the V3 Movement held its first church planting learning cohort with 27 churches represented including seven in Virginia, 20 from other states, and one international church. By September 2014, V3 had planted 12 churches with another 10 projected.

The Religious Herald, after a continuous run of 185 years, since 1828, merged with Associated Baptist Press. An on-line electronic news source emerged known as Baptist News Global. Bluefield College enrolled its first master’s degree students in a new Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) program.


Leland launched a new degree program, the Master’s in Church Leadership (MCL) to prepare ministers for local church ministry in various staff positions or to prepare a Christian to lead outside the local church.

Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina entered into a Covenant of Shared Values, Mission and Vision Agreement with the BGAV. GardnerWebb opened a Divinity School in 1993; and in 1998, the school was named the M. Christopher White School of Divinity in honor of the school’s president. The BGAV began a new governance style and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board was replaced with a fifteen-member Virginia Baptist Executive Board which also served in place of the former BGAV Budget Committee. Also formed was the Virginia Baptist Mission Council, a broadly-representative group which was kept informed and involved on missions activities of the General Association. The merger was completed in 2017. The BGAV Christian Life Committee’s report to the Association concerned immigration and the various issues

which prevailed at the time: the impact upon families, the illegal entry of thousands of children from Central America, caring for the vulnerable, justice, and human trafficking. Valerie Carter Smith became the ninth executive director of WMUV and the first Black woman to serve in that role. Her ministry and missions career included ten years as a community missionary of the Richmond Baptist Association, five years on the staff of WMUV as associate for Christian local ministries, and eleven years as an associate pastor at Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond. Executives of the WMUV across the years included Mrs. Julian Thomas, Lizzie Savage, Blanche Sydnor White, Ellen Douglas Oliver, Carrie S. Vaughan, Kathryn Bullard, Earlene Jessee, Laura McDaniel, and Valerie Carter Smith. WMUV launched “Sisters Who Care” to reach African-American audiences with the work of Virginia missions and to engage in Christian missions. A volunteer council was formed of African-American women to coordinate community missions and to serve churches throughout Virginia. Within the BGAV African-American Fellowship, ten pastors and leaders went to Ghana where they assisted in planting 17 churches and received 1,500 professions of faith. The team “traced the journey made by African ancestors on the major slave trade route in Ghana.”


The Virginia Baptist Executive Board approved the BGAV Articles of Incorporation. The Baptist Extension Board marked 75 years of making loans to participating BGAV churches. At the time, the Board had outstanding loans of nearly $16 million. The Baptist House of Studies at Duke University Divinity School, which was established in 1988, entered into a covenant partnership with the BGAV. The Baptist House at Duke was established as a ministry formation center committed to the education and preparation of women and men following a call to Baptist ministry. By 2016, the program included eight

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full-time Baptist faculty and senior administrative staff as well as adjuncts. Curtis W. Freeman had served as director since 2001. The Baptist House began collaborating with the BGAV Preaching Camp and the Spence Leadership Network as well as the BGAV regional field strategists for ministry placement. In September, a BGAV staff restructuring resulted in changing Emerging Leaders, Empowering Leaders, Courageous Churches, Glocal Missions, and Support Ministries to the new areas of “Congregational Field Staff, Mission Development Staff, Growth/Venture Staff, and Support Ministries Staff.” The campus ministers became a part of the regional congregational field staff thereby increasing the number of field strategists from 7 to over 20. In the area of Growth/Venture, the inaugural Praxis Gathering for church planters for the BGAV was held with 187 church planters and movement leaders. BGAV was supporting indigenous church planters in six European countries in partnership with the European Baptist Federation. The planters were serving in Austria, Serbia, Poland, Latvia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova.

VBHS collection, a book on the trials and triumphs of the enslaved people within Virginia Baptist history, and a national convocation on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation. A major exhibit was mounted on “free indeed!” which attracted hundreds of visitors including many from Black Baptist churches.


The BGAV received its first Lilly Foundation grant which was awarded to the Baptist Collegiate Ministries/Kairos Initiative in the amount of $100,000. The Praxis Gathering held its inaugural gathering for church planters. Campbell University Divinity School in North Carolina signed a covenant agreement with the BGAV. The BGAV Religious Liberty Committee introduced a Resolution which spoke to “anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigatry” and supported “laws that would prohibit denying refugees, immigrants, and visitors entry into the United States on the basis of their religion.” The BGAV messengers approved the Resolution.


The Virginia Baptist Executive Board endorsed the proposed new partnership covenant between the BGAV and McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University. The covenant was adopted by the BGAV at its annual meeting.

Mission Partnerships involved 25 teams and over 200 volunteers to work within BGAV established partnerships with Romania and Panama as well as ongoing projects in Haiti, Ghana, Austria, China, and Brazil. In addition, the Latino Network continued its connections with The BGAV and the Baptist General Hispanic congregations in the BGAV Convention of Texas established a through the Encuentro for pastors partnership in the endorsement and leaders, the Latino Certificate of chaplains. Program, and the Latino Pastors and Families Retreat. The Southwest Virginia Partnership involved 290 volunteers “More Than Nets”, the ministry and from 49 BGAV congregations in assisting missions outreach with Ghana in 83 construction and social ministry distributed 81,400 mosquito nets within projects. LUCHA Ministries served the 345 villages in addition to starting 448 Latino communities in and around new congregations and the recording of Fredericksburg with after-school some 10,000 baptisms. programming, tutoring, ESL, women’s empowerment, and a food pantry.


The Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies in partnership with the VBHS accomplished its “free indeed!” project which had been underway since 2011. It included compiling all the names of Blacks, free and enslaved, from the Virginia Baptist church records in the

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Missio Alliance, a centrist group with a mission to resource churches and individuals, included people affiliated with more than 30 denominational groups. It was introduced to the BGAV messengers at the annual meeting of November 2018.


Northern Seminary in Chicago became a BGAV partner for distance education. Northern delivered accessible theological education to students in Virginia via interactive live-streaming classes which began in 2020. Earlier, in 2016, a covenant agreement had been signed between Northern and the BGAV. Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond ceased. Since its beginning in 1991, the seminary had taught and nurtured over 750 students with a majority of them serving Virginia Baptist churches.


The BGAV annual meeting was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, the 2021 annual meeting was held virtually. In 2020, a year marked by widespread racial tension, unrest and protests, the Virginia Baptist Executive Board approved a resolution on Racism. In his report to the virtual annual meeting, John Upton referenced the resolution and its subject, stating that “the resolution resolves that racism is a sin, repents of complicit racism, past and present, [and] encourages a season of prayerful lament while also asking that we pray for a season of unity in the body of Christ.” John Upton also announced that the BGAV was awarded a milliondollar grant by the Lilly Foundation “to equip church leaders on how to respect, value and understand all the cultures.”


In the virtual BGAV annual meeting, John Upton shared regarding a new partnership called Ascent in which ministry leaders, pastors, and representatives of various denominations desired to work together as a network or consortium for ministry and mission with a vision of taking the Gospel to North America. In October 2020, Gary Long joined the BGAV and was the first employee of Ascent, serving as Chief Marketing Officer for BGAV/ Ascent. In July 2023, Chris Backert was selected by the Ascent Steering Team as the National Movement Director. He would continue as national director of Fresh Expressions US. At the time of his appointment, Ascent included the BGAV, Mission Northwest, Churches of God General Conference, ABC Nebraska, Vermont and Michigan, and Canadian Baptist Ministries.

Baptist House of Studies at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond formed to serve students who wanted a traditional classroom experience. The new theological entity planned to offer tuition scholarships for up to 40 qualified full-time Baptist residential students. Susan Blanchard became director of the Baptist House of Studies in July 2021. The BGAV launched AXIS: A Ministry Academy and Training Network to meet the needs of church leaders. AXIS planned to offer certificates in four ministry areas: children’s ministry, youth ministry, family ministry, and pastoral leadership. Kathy Kruschwitz was program coordinator.


The Baptist World Alliance launched the Global Baptist Mission Network with an initial membership of 23 missions organizations from 17 countries and a total of more than 7,000 missionaries. The BWA included 253 member Baptist organizations in 130 countries. On November 13-15, BGAV celebrated its 200th anniversary at its annual meeting held at Bon Air Baptist Church, Richmond. The theme was “Called to Be…” based upon 1 Corinthians 1:2. In its 200th year, the General Association had 1,326 cooperating churches including 60 located in other states as well as one in Seoul, South Korea and another in Toronto, Canada.


John Upton retired as executive director of the BGAV after over 20 years in the office. Earlier, he had been team leader for Partnership Missions, 1995-2001. At the 2022 BGAV annual meeting, Upton was honored for his service to Virginia Baptists. On August 31, 2022, a search committee recommended Wayne D. Faison as executive director-elect and the Executive Board endorsed the recommendation. He had been serving on the staff for 21 years; and at the time of his new position, he was serving as national coordinating officer for the BGAV’s Ascent Team. He was elected executive director by the messengers at the 2022 BGAV annual meeting held in Hampton.

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Sources Used in the Compilation of the Historical Survey and Timeline Allen, Catherine B. Laborers Together With God. Birmingham: Woman’s Missionary Union, 1987. _______________. The New Lottie Moon Story. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1980. Allen, Judson Boyce. “Roger Williams” entry in Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. II, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958. Alley, Reuben E. A History of Baptists in Virginia. Richmond: Virginia Baptist General Board, 1973. _______________. History of the University of Richmond, 1830-1971. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977. Anderson, Fred. Baptists in Early North America, Vol. VI [The Virginia Volume]. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press and the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 2019. ______________. “The Genesis and Genius of Virginia Baptists” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 53, 2014. (includes story of Robert Norden and the first Baptist church in Virginia) ______________. Land of Goshen: A History of the Goshen Baptist Association of Virginia, 1792-1992. Mineral, VA: Goshen Baptist Association, 1992. (see Goshen’s foreign and domestic missions work, pp. 73-89)

Witness in Southwest Virginia, 1700s-1890” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 47, 2008. (includes an inventory of the early Baptist churches in SWVA) ______________. The Third Jubilee: A History of First Baptist Church, Danville, Virginia, 1834-1984. Danville: First Baptist Church, 1984. ______________, “John Roberts Moffett: Virginia Baptists’ Martyr for Temperance” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 26, 1987. Benedict, David. A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Other Parts of the World. Boston, 1813, New York, 1848. Brown, Allen and Thomas Ingram. With Heart & Voice: A History of the Department of Church Music, BGAV, 1944-2014. Richmond: Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, 2019. Cook, Rachel. Baptist Collegiate Ministry in Virginia: Past, Present and Future. Richmond: Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, 2016. Estep, William R. “After Three Centuries of Baptist Life and Witness in Virginia” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 38, 1999. Richmond: Virginia Baptist Historical Society. ______________. Whole Gospel: Whole World: the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1845-1995. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994.

______________, Hearts and Hands: Gathering Up the Years - An Illustrated History of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia, 18741988. Richmond: William Byrd Press for WMUV, 1990.

Fallen, Melissa and Ron Crawford. Towel and Basin Memoir: Personal Reflections on Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. 2019.

______________. “Building Up the Redeemer’s Kingdom: A History of the Religious Herald” in The Role of the Religious Press. Richmond: Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 1991.

Fife, James. Address of the Rev. James Fife, BGAV Annual, 1873, pp. 22-24.

______________. Across the Years: A History of the First Baptist Church of Roanoke, Virginia, 1875-2000. Chesterfield, VA: American Book Company for FBC, Roanoke, 2000. ______________. Blessed by the Past, Embracing the Future: A History of Richmond Baptists, 1780-2001. Richmond: Richmond Baptist Association, 2001. ______________, “What Price Liberty?” in Celebrating Religious Liberty in the Life of Virginia Baptists. Richmond: BGAV Religious Liberty Committee, Virginia Baptist General Board, 1990. ______________, God’s Stories: An Illustrated History of Baptists in Virginia. Richmond: Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 2007. (includes an updated Virginia Baptist history covering the years, 1969-2007, pp. 215-248. ______________, “Gold Tried in the Fire”: The Baptists of Virginia’s Northern Neck” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 56, 2017. ______________.”What Mean These Stones? Monuments, Markers and Tablets to Virginia Baptists Who Struggled to Secure Religious Liberty” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 48, 2009. (issue includes landmark addresses delivered at the dedication of several monuments) ______________. “Unto the Hills: The Development of a Baptist

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First Chinese Baptist Church (Norfolk), “A Brief History of the First Chinese Baptist Church (Norfolk) for the years 1901-2010.” www. Gardner, Robert G. Baptists of Early America: A Statistical History, 1689-1790. Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Historical Society, 1983. Greene, Miss L.F. The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland. New York: G.W. Wood, 1845. Hackley, Woodford B. Faces on the Wall. Richmond: Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 1972. _________________. Virginia District Association Articles in Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958 and 1971. _________________. “Kentish Baptist Missionaries to Colonial Virginia” in Religious Herald, June 27, 1963. _________________. “If Madison Had Come to Dinner” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 4, 1965. (About the Leland-Madison Meeting) _________________. “The Well Across the Road” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 3, 1964. (About the location of the home of John Leland in Orange County, VA)

Ivins, John C. Organizational Policy Manual, Baptist General Association of Virginia. Richmond: Virginia Baptist General Board, 1989. Jackson, Lloyd F., Jr. Reflections of a Journey: A Memoir of Baptist Men’s Ministry & Disaster Relief Response by Virginia Baptists. Richmond: Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, 2010. Jackson, Thomas A. (about the hymn writer and minister Thomas Jackson) “Local Baptist Minister Wrote Hymn with World-Wide Appeal” by Scott Deacle in The Wake Weekly, Wake Forest, NC, August 6, 1998 and “Pastor, Library Group Given Top Wake Forest Honors” by Debra A. Golden in the Wake Weekly, Wake Forest, NC, Dec. 10, 1998. Jeter, Jeremiah Bell. The Recollections of a Long Life. Richmond: The Religious Herald, 1891. Love, J.F. “Virginia Missionaries of the Century” in Religious Herald, Dec. 6, 1923, pp. 6-8, 12. Lumpkin, William L. Baptist Confessions of Faith. Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1959. _______________. A Chronicle of Christian Heritage: Dover Baptist Association, 1783-1960. Richmond: Dover Baptist Association, 1983.

Richardson, Paul. “Eleazar Clay’s Hymns and Spiritual Songs” in The Virginia Baptist Register, 1990. Rust, Eric C., “Religious LIberty” entry in Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. II, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958. Ryland, Garnett. The Baptists of Virginia, 1699-1926. Richmond: The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education, 1944. (see chapter on General Meeting of Correspondence and adoption of a Confession of Faith by Ketocton Association, pp. 179-196; founding of the BGAV and the first state missionaries, pp. 205215; the Campbellite Movement, pp. 230-242; and the “Anti” Movement and Primitive Baptists, pp. 243-262) Semple, Robert Baylor. A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia. Richmond: John O’Lynch, Printer, 1810. Taylor, George Braxton. “Virginia Baptist Ministers of the Century” in Religious Herald, Nov. 22, 1923, pp. 8-9, 12-13. Taylor, James B. Virginia Baptist Ministers, Vol. 1. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1859. (quote on Martha Stearns Marshall’s preaching ability on p. 23; poem written by David Thomas, p. 48) VBM, Vol. II (biography of Samuel Clopton, Virginia minister appointed as first SBC missionary, pp. 316-322)

_______________. A History of the Middle District Baptist Association of Virginia, 1784-1984. Richmond: Middle District Baptist Association, 1984.

Watkins, L. Rees. They Made it Happen. Richmond: Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia, 1974. (includes Chapters on Henrietta Hall Shuck and Lewis Shuck, Hannah Lee Corbin Hall, and other women who were engaged in missions)

_________________. Baptist Foundations in the South: Tracing through the Separates the influence of the Great Awakening, 17541787. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1961.

______________, “Hannah Lee Corbin Hall: A Baptist” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 28, 1989.

_________________. “Confessions of Faith, Baptist” entry in the Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. I, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1958, pp. 305-309. McBeth, Leon. The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987. Mather, Juliette. Light Three Candles: History of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia. Richmond: WMUV, 1974. Moore, John S. “J.L.M. Curry and His Famous Address: ‘Struggles and Triumphs of Virginia Baptists” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 38, 1999. (includes full text of Curry’s summary of his address as well as background on the orator and his sources)

Whitt, Michael. Free Indeed!: Trials and Triumphs of Enslaved and Freedmen in Antebellum Virginia. Virginia Baptist Register, No. 50, 2011. (accounts of early anti-slavery stands by Virginia Baptists, pp. 2800-2811) Worrall, Jay, Jr. The Friendly Virginians: America’s First Quakers. Athens, GA: Iberia Publishing Co., 1994 (includes information on the first Baptist church in Virginia borrowing the Quaker Meetinghouse) Note: All of these sources can be found at the library of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and some of these items as well as numerous other publications are available for purchase through the Society’s bookshop.

_____________. “Henry Keeling Ellyson” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 38, 1999. Richmond: Virginia Baptist Historical Society, pp. 1918-1926. _____________. “The Baptist March Across Virginia” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 18, 1979. _____________. “Richard Dozier’s Historical Notes, 1771-1818” in The Virginia Baptist Register, No. 28, 1989. Moore, John S. and William L. Lumpkin, Meaningful Moments in Virginia Baptist Life, 1715-1972. Richmond: Baptist General Association of Virginia, 1972.

BGAV 200th Anniversary | 107

Appreciation to... Darlene Slater Herod, research assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society for her assistance in securing materials. Meghan Wilson, BGAV marketing, for her art direction. Haley Gillespie, JMU BCM, for her design of the souvenir program book. Marilee White, BGAV executive director’s assistant, and Leslie Straw, BGAV Support Ministries team coordinator, for their help in securing information. Photographs courtesy of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society from their extensive photographic archives including the photographic archives of the Religious Herald. Photographs also made available from BGAV’s photograph collection.

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