Ishmael LaBiosa

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SBC of Virginia elects African American president, increases CP

ROANOKE, Va. (BP) -- The SBC of Virginia made history when messengers elected by acclamation Allen McFarland to serve as their next president. McFarland, senior pastor of Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Va., will be the convention's first African American president. "I was encouraged to see that God is calling us to be a good testimony through biblically addressing unrighteousness, abusiveness, racial, economic, and social unfairness," said McFarland.

SBC DIGEST: Women’s conf. calls for ‘mighty women of God’

ROCKVILLE, Va. (BP) -- "You're either going to be fake or filled," Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia executive director Brian Autry told women at the Connect Women's Leadership Conference near Richmond, Va. "No one wants a fake Christian leader," Autry said. "Your pastors need mighty women of God" in church ministry.

Young leaders summit called ‘fountain of wisdom’

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) -- More than 70 church leaders age 40 and younger from across Virginia gathered at the Young Pastors' Summit on Jan. 15, an annual event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. Clyde Meador, interim executive vice president of the International Mission Board, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, were keynote speakers. A panel of SBC of Virginia pastors and Christian leaders also led a discussion. Sean Couch, pastor of Christiansburg Baptist Church, described the summit as "really encouraging.... It was just a fountain of wisdom. I was writing down as much as I could as quickly as I could."

Neighbors, nations not alone, SBC Va. proclaims

HAMPTON, Va. (BP) -- Cooperation aimed at reaching neighbors and nations with the Gospel was the focus of the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia Annual Homecoming Nov. 11-13 in Hampton. Effective since an October vote of the SBCV executive board, the state convention retains its founding name of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, but in business matters refers to itself as the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia and SBC of Virginia. "They are Not Alone" was the theme, capping a 2017 theme of "We are Not Alone."

Va. Baptists rally to help storm survivors

EVERGREEN, Va. (BP) -- Sharanda Totty vividly remembers Feb. 24. It was the night deadly tornadoes struck her state –- with one destroying her home as she held her 1-year-old baby, Aubrielle, tightly in her arms. "The lights start flickering. Eventually, the lights go black," she recalled of the EF-3 tornado that hit her house in Evergreen, Va. "And then -- this all happens within five seconds -- I see a tree go by. The house is lifted. It doesn't come apart piece by piece. It is lifted. So, me and my baby were exposed. She is sitting on my lap, and we're exposed to this tornado that is above us.... That whole time I could hear things flying around and everything coming apart. I am saying, 'please God, no. Please!'"

Va. Baptists celebrate 20 new churches

ROANOKE, Va. (BP) -- Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia celebrated new church plants, stories of baptisms and a near record-breaking attendance of 990 registered messengers and guests during their annual meeting. The theme of this year's gathering was "Strong Churches with a Bold Commitment to the Great Commission."