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Dunn to step down as BJC’s executive director

WASHINGTON (BP)–James Dunn, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs since 1981, has announced he will step down next year as head of the Washington-based church-state organization.
Dunn’s plans were reported in an Oct. 13 article in Report From the Capital, the BJC’s semi-monthly newsletter.
Dunn told the agency’s board of directors he planned to remain in a part-time capacity with the BJC when he leaves the executive director’s post. He will move out of his director’s position by Sept. 1, when he will become a visiting professor at the new Wake Forest divinity school in Winston-Salem, N.C.
At its annual meeting Oct. 5-6, the BJC board accepted Dunn’s proposal and named an 11-member committee to find his replacement. A five-member panel also was appointed to decide on Dunn’s new position and salary with the agency. Dunn, 66, said his part-time position likely would deal with speaking, writing and development.
Dunn, former director of the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, served as the BJC’s head during turbulent years in its relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention. 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 cut all ties with the agency in 1992, although some SBC churches and state conventions have continued to provide funding.
At the Wake Forest divinity school, which will begin classes next fall, Dunn will teach a class titled, “Christianity and Public Policy,” said the school’s dean, Bill Leonard, according to the BJC newsletter.