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SBC DIGEST: NAMB, SBCV partnership; Allen named SWBTS director of news and information

NAMB, SBCV announce Send Network Virginia partnership

By Brandon Elrod/NAMB

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBCV) have formed a cooperative effort to create Send Network Virginia to bolster church planting efforts in the state.

“As a former church planter, I can testify first-hand that the SBC of Virginia and NAMB have been giving much needed and strategic support for churches planting churches,” said Brian Autry, executive director of the SBCV. “However, I believe this new partnership, Send Network Virginia, can take it to another level.”

In the Southern Baptist Convention, churches plant churches, but entities and state conventions, like NAMB and the SBCV, seek to provide support as likeminded Southern Baptist congregations come together to cooperate in planting new churches where a Gospel witness is most needed.

“I am so grateful for Brian and his vision for supporting Southern Baptist churches in the state of Virginia,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. “He has not only led the SBC of Virginia to do great work in their state, but they have also made a great impact in North America and around the world for the sake of the Gospel.”

Autry described how the demographics in the state have shifted in recent years as cities like Richmond and the Washington, D.C., metro area have grown. As the population continues to increase, there are more than a hundred different people groups represented in the state.

“More Ethiopians live in Virginia than anywhere else except for Ethiopia,” Autry said. “We are seeing a great movement among Hispanic churches. We have growing college campuses, military communities, beautiful countryside communities as well as growing towns and cities.”

Josh Weatherspoon, church-planting missionary of The Way Church near Richmond, Va., launched out of Salem Baptist Church in Manakin-Sabot, Va., where Weatherspoon had been associate pastor. After sensing the call to plant, they recognized that there were serious needs in their own state.

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Alumna, women’s ministry leader Ashley Allen named SWBTS director of news and information

By Katie Coleman/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary alumna and Baptist women’s ministry leader Ashley Allen has been named director of news and information, the school’s administration announced today.

Ashley Allen

“I am delighted to welcome back home to the Dome Ashley Allen, an alumna with a unique combination of ministry, academic and professional experience that makes her an exceptionally qualified person to fill this leadership position in our Office of Communications,” SWBTS President Adam W. Greenway said. “Her addition to our administrative staff underscores our resolve to elevate God-called women to all places of service consistent with our high view of Scripture and the Baptist Faith and Message.”

In her role, Allen will lead the news department, supervising news writers and serving as managing editor of Southwestern News, the seminary’s flagship publication, and as managing editor of Seminary Hill Press, the publishing arm of Southwestern Seminary.

“God’s provision of Ashley Allen to Southwestern Seminary is yet another sign of His blessings to this institution,” said James A. Smith Sr., associate vice president for communications. “As a key member of the communications team, she will provide leadership to our efforts to tell the story of God’s work on Seminary Hill. I’m thrilled to have this gifted Southwesterner on our staff.”

Allen said she is “deeply honored and humbled to serve the Lord by telling the story of God’s hand at work on the Southwestern campus and through alumni who are faithfully and obediently serving all over the world to make the gospel known. To share the testimonies of what God is doing is a privilege and not one I take lightly.”

Allen is a two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary, having earned the Master of Arts in Christian Education in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2009. She also earned a journalism degree in 2000 from the University of Texas at Austin.

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