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Executive Committee elects Will Hall; Patterson is BF&M revision advocate

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Wilburn “Will” Hall II, 40, was unanimously elected as vice president for convention news by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee June 12 prior to the SBC annual meeting June 13-14 in Orlando, Fla.

Hall, a retired Naval officer, succeeds Herb Hollinger, who retires June 30 after nine years in the position. A West Virgina native, Hall is a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

As vice president for convention news, Hall will manage Baptist Press as senior editor, serve as convention press information officer for the Executive Committee, manage the newsroom at the SBC annual meeting and act as press representative for the SBC.

“Will is not only a scholar but a devoted Christian,” said Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee in recommending Hall. “He finds it easy to talk about the things of the Lord and to speak the name of Jesus.”

Despite what both Chapman and Hall referred to as a lack of “normal journalistic training,” both spoke of his many leadership opportunities in the Navy and in school-writing briefs, policies, research papers and curriculum.

“I’m not a trained journalist,” said Hall in his testimony to the Executive Committee. “I’m a trained leader. I prayed for an opportunity to serve in a role that would support the gospel ministry. … I didn’t seek out [the job] or lobby for it.”

After his testimony, Hall was elected without discussion or questions from the floor.

Hall is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, holds a master of education degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and a master of arts degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He is completing his Ph.D. in leadership from Vanderbilt.

Hall and his wife, Catherine, live in Hendersonville, Tenn., with their three sons, Will III, 15, Nathan, 4, and Jacob, 2. They are members of College Heights Baptist Church, Gallatin. Hall has been licensed to the gospel ministry and ordained as a deacon.

Prior to Hall’s election, SBC President Paige Patterson addressed the Executive Committee, thanking them for their support during his two-year tenure.

Patterson, who is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., also urged support for the report of the Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee to be presented for action by messengers to the SBC annual meeting on Wednesday morning, June 14.

“Urge everyone you know to support the report of the Baptist Faith and Message Committee,” Patterson said. “It’s a testimony to the 21st century for what Baptists say about the Bible.”

Individual Southern Baptists might not agree with every point in the report, Patterson said, while emphasizing the report comes from a “very diversified committee.”

“So let’s support it and adopt it,” Patterson said. “Let’s give that witness to a watching world.”

In other action, the Executive Committee:

— adopted its 73rd annual report as printed in the 2000 SBC Book of Reports.

— approved the restated and amended articles of incorporation of Southeastern Seminary which make the SBC the sole member of the seminary corporation.

— adopted revisions to its business and financial plan to remove wording specifying each entity to return its audits to the Executive Committee within three months after the close of its fiscal year, and removing a section requiring semiannual reports.

— received as information a report from the Executive Committee’s business and finance subcommittee that noted the SBC has received and distributed $88 million in its second quarter, which is a 5.79 percent increase for the same period in the previous budget year.

— recognized Ann Frazier, homemaker and educator from Roanoke Rapids, N.C., for her receipt of an honorary doctor of humane letters from Luther Rice Seminary.

— presented special resolutions of appreciation for retiring executive directors of two state conventions: Kenneth R. Lyle, executive director-treasurer, Baptist Convention of New England, and, Cloyd Sullins, executive director, Alaska Baptist Convention.

— presented a special resolution of appreciation for Herb Hollinger, on the occasion of his retirement.

Citing Hollinger for his leadership and loyalty, Chapman said Hollinger has built strong relationships around the country and has been an important colleague to the Executive Committee.

“He has a very special gift,” said Chapman in lauding Hollinger. “He is a man of mercy who has caught our attention.”

A special reception for Hollinger and his wife, Mary, was held after the meeting.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan