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Committee named to seek Land’s successor

WASHINGTON (BP) — A search committee has been selected to find a successor to Richard Land as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

[QUOTE@right@180=“I am confident that person is within our convention and will emerge eventually.”
— ERLC Acting Chairman Richard Piles]On behalf of the ERLC Executive Committee, Richard Piles, acting chairman of the board of trustees, named Barry Creamer, vice president of academic affairs at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, as chairman of the presidential search committee.

The other ERLC trustees named to the committee are Ken Barbic of the District of Columbia; Kenda Bartlett, an at-large member of the board from D.C.; Lynne Fruechting, from the Kansas-Nebraska convention; Ray Newman, an at-large member from Georgia, and Bernard Snowden of Virginia. Piles, who is from Arkansas, will serve as an ex officio member.

The committee will be seeking a candidate to bring to the ERLC board to succeed Land, who announced his retirement July 31. Land’s retirement will be effective Oct. 23, 2013, when he will complete 25 years as the ERLC’s president.

“We are grateful and thankful for 25 years of Dr. Land’s life and ministry,” Piles said in a statement to Baptist Press. “Our search committee will be asking the Lord to direct us to the individual who can serve the commission and Southern Baptists for another 25 years in the arena of biblical ethics and public policy. I am confident that person is within our convention and will emerge eventually.”

The committee will establish its own guidelines for the presidential search, Piles told BP. There is not yet a timeline for bringing a recommendation to the board, he said.

Land, 65, chose to announce his retirement nearly 15 months before its effective date to provide “plenty of time for an orderly transition for both the Commission and myself to the next phase of our respective future ministries,” he said in a July 31 letter to Piles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Camden, Ark.

Creamer, also professor of humanities at Criswell College, is a member of Lake Highlands Baptist Church in Dallas.

Barbic, senior director of federal government affairs for the Western Growers Association, is a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Bartlett is executive director of Concerned Women for America and also a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington.

Fruechting, a pediatrician in Newton, Kan., is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in that city.

Newman is executive director of the Georgia Citizen Action Project and pastor of Macedonia Community Baptist Church in Braselton, Ga.

Snowden is associate pastor, family life, at Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Va.

Beginning in 1988, Land led the transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics entity during the denomination’s conservative resurgence. He has acted as an outspoken advocate for biblical positions on such issues as the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, marriage and race relations.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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