In today’s SBC Digest: Bob Terry, editor of The Alabama Baptist, is honored for 50 years in Baptist papers; evangelist Ron Herrod, former SBC first vice president, dies; former BP intern Myriah Snyder joins Christian Index as content editor.
Terry honored for 50-year career in Baptist state papers
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Friends, family and ministry colleagues of Bob Terry gathered to celebrate his 50 years in state Baptist paper work and 23 years as editor of The Alabama Baptist.
“I’m very humbled to be standing in this place,” Terry, who will retire Dec. 31, told the audience. “I’ve tried to be a good and faithful servant to God and to Baptists. Thank you for the privilege and the opportunity.”
A commendation from Gov. Kay Ivey and a resolution passed by the Alabama Senate were among the highlights of the Oct. 5 celebration. Resolutions, honors and scholarships and gifts to endowments came from the Baptist World Alliance, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, the Association of State Baptist Publications and others.
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union, and David George, president of WMU Foundation, presented a gift in Terry’s honor to the endowment for the Dr. Eleanor F. Terry Chair for Christian Women’s Leadership at Samford University, established in honor of his late wife in 1999.
Tim Yarbrough, president of the Association of State Baptist Publications, shared that the organization had established the Dr. Bobby S. “Bob” Terry Scholarship for journalism and mass communications students at Samford in his honor.
Arthur Williams, chairman of The Alabama Baptist’s board of directors, followed Yarbrough with an announcement that the TAB board had voted to send a gift of $25,000 to the scholarship fund to ensure it was officially endowed in time for Terry’s retirement dinner. The scholarship has received nearly $30,000 to date.
Williams also announced that the TAB board had named Terry the first-ever editor emeritus of The Alabama Baptist.
Samford President Andrew Westmoreland bestowed on Terry a doctor of humane letters honoris causa, an award that the university in Birmingham has made 361 times in its 177-year history.
Timothy Smith, president of University of Mobile, announced the creation of the Dr. Bob Terry Endowed Scholarship at the university and presented him with an official presidential proclamation commending Terry’s service and leadership.
One of the evening’s emotional moments came at the close when Terry’s cousin and Southern Baptist evangelist Junior Hill prayed over him following the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” sung by Dawson Baptist Memorial Church music associate Brent Coleman.
Gary Fenton, senior advancement officer for Samford, recounted that Terry made a statement in 1975 that changed the course of his life.
At the time, Terry had just been tapped as editor of Missouri’s Word & Way newspaper, and Fenton and other executive board members were still unsure of the search committee’s wisdom in recommending such a young man during a contentious season for Missouri Baptists. Could he handle it?
Terry responded to them with a quote from E. Stanley Jones: “There comes one experience in every man’s life in which he must put all of his weight on Jesus or forever live as a coward.”
“He was not aware of it at the time, but I was dealing with a call in my own life and had decided not to go,” Fenton said.
After the vote — which was affirmative — Fenton “walked out of the room, found a pay phone, called the church and said, ‘If you still want me, I’ll come.’ It changed the course of my life and ministry.”
Fenton, former longtime pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, told the audience that Terry has spent his life as a “word man” who uses his gift to impact others.
“Your gift with words has been used to express thoughts, but it was also used to build lasting relationships,” Fenton said. “That’s why this room is filled tonight.”
Terry’s first two managing editors at the Missouri Word & Way, where he was editor for 20 years before returning to his native state, also were at the celebration.
Trennis Henderson, national correspondent for WMU and former Baptist editor in Kentucky and Arkansas, shared stories of how Terry mentored him in life as well as in overseeing a state Baptist newspaper, recounting, “He was my boss, my editor, my friend and, most importantly, my Christian brother.”
In the role of editor, Henderson said Terry was “an authentic Baptist editor who knew when and how to make a stand,” tackling tough issues “week after week, year after year, decade after decade.”
Michael Chute, professor of journalism at California Baptist University and former Baptist editor in Florida, said that besides his parents and his wife Kathie, Terry “has probably been the most influential person in my life.”
“Bob Terry took a raw young man 40 years ago and poured himself into my life,” Chute said. “Your contribution will surely be missed, but I hope this is another great season in a life that has contributed so much to so many.”
After he retires, Terry will continue to write on relevant topics at his new blog, nowconsiderthis.com.
Evangelist Ron Herrod, former SBC 1st VP, dies
NASHVILLE (BP) — Evangelist Ron Herrod, a former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, died Oct. 9 following bone marrow transplant procedures in Nashville. He has been diagnosed in May with a bone marrow disease, MDS, leading to leukemia. He was 75.
Herrod, who lived in Knoxville, Tenn., was nominated by evangelist Bailey Smith and elected as the SBC’s 2010-2011 first vice president during the convention’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
After serving as a senior pastor of several Southern Baptist churches for more than 35 years, Herrod launched R.H.E.M.A. (Ron Herrod Evangelism Ministries Association) in 1995 based in Sevierville, Tenn. His pastorates had included First Baptist Church in Kenner, La.; First Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Ark.; and Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Herrod was the 2008-2010 president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and, earlier, a vice president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference; president of Tennessee Baptist Pastors’ Conference; and a trustee of the International Mission Board.
In addition to preaching hundreds of revivals and crusades across the nation, Herrod led mission campaigns in more than 30 countries, conducted an international tape ministry and had written seven books.
Herrod was a graduate of William Carey College (B.A.), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and Luther Rice Seminary (Th.D.). He received distinguished alumnus awards from New Orleans Seminary in 2013 and Luther Rice in 2000.
Herrod is survived by his wife of 55 years, Emily; a son, Joseph; two daughters, Dawn and Twila; and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct, 12, at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, followed by a celebration of life service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at First Baptist Church in Kenner, La.
Former BP intern Myriah Snyder now at Christian Index
DULUTH, Ga. (BP) — Myriah Snyder has been named content editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention, moving from assistant editor of Kentucky Baptists’ Western Recorder.
Snyder was Baptist Press’ summer intern in 2014 and has been on BP’s coverage team for the SBC annual meeting the past two years. She also is a periodic BP correspondent and columnist.
At the Western Recorder, Snyder worked as a newswriter from 2015 until April 2017 when she was named assistant editor.
Snyder holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., where she was a staff writer and copy editor for The Patriot. She is pursuing a master of arts degree in theological studies through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
In attending the former Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky., she was editor of the Mid-Continent Review and a research assistant. Earlier, she was the publications assistant for Freedom Forever Ministries, an outreach to incarcerated women based in Paducah, Ky.