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BJC chooses Brent Walker as James Dunn’s successor

WASHINGTON (BP)–Brent Walker, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs for the last six years, has been selected as the new executive director of the church-state organization.
The agency’s board of directors voted unanimously for Walker to replace James Dunn, who retired after 18 years. Dunn, whose tenure was marked by a stormy relationship between the agency and the Southern Baptist Convention, is now serving as president of the BJC Endowment and a visiting professor at Wake Forest Divinity School in Winston Salem, N.C.
Walker was associate general counsel for four years before replacing Oliver “Buzz” Thomas as general counsel in 1993. Walker has a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a law degree from Stetson University.
No decision has been made on filling the general counsel position, a BJC spokesman said.
The BJC’s board approved Walker during its Oct. 4-5 annual meeting.
The Washington-based agency serves as a religious liberty representative for a variety of Baptist conventions and conferences. Among its financial supporters are the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, as well as some Southern Baptist state conventions and churches.
Disagreements between the SBC’s conservative leadership and the BJC over public-policy and other issues led to the convention’s defunding of the organization over a two-year span at the 1990 and ’91 SBC annual meetings. Until its actions, the SBC was easily the largest financial contributor among the BJC’s member denominations. The SBC, a founding member of the BJC in the 1940s, cut all ties with the agency in 1992.