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SBC messengers elect Texan first VP

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–Southern Baptists elected Jim Richards, founding director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and Eric Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., as second vice president.

Gathered for their annual meeting in San Antonio, messengers from churches in the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination, with 16.3 million members, earlier elected by acclimation Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., for a second term as president. He was unopposed.

Richards prevailed over David Rogers, a missionary in Madrid, Spain, with a vote total of 2,177 (68.7 percent) to 966 (30.5 percent).

“Jim Richards, who is executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, is one of us,” said Donald M. (Mac) Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., in his nominating speech. “As leader of the SBTC, he has led that convention in eight years to grow from 120 churches to 1,895. He’s not a bureaucrat; he’s one of us.”

Richards is a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He also has served as chairman of the SBC Christian Life Commission (now the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) and the SBC Committee on Order of Business in addition to other associational, state and national Southern Baptist organizations. He holds degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

Redmond was elected with a vote of 1,765 (61.69 percent) to 1,077 (37.64 percent) over evangelist Bill Britt of Gallatin, Tenn.

“First of all, Eric Redmond is a family man,” said Doyle Chauncey, executive director of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention, in his nomination speech. “Eric Redmond is a pastor and a scholar. Eric Redmond is an evangelistic pastor, attempting to reach the 20,000 people who live within a mile of his church. Eric Redmond is a church planting pastor. In 2006 Eric Redmond led his church in planting a new church in College Park, Md., in cooperation with the SBCV and the North American Mission Board — a church which continues to thrive.”

Redmond serves as a trustee for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an executive board member of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC. He is an adjunct professor of hermeneutics at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, Md. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Messengers also re-elected John L. Yeats, interim pastor of Ridge Avenue Baptist Church in West Monroe, La., as recording secretary and Jim Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in southwest Missouri, as registration secretary. Both men ran unopposed.

Yeats, who has served in ministry for 36 years, has been the SBC recording secretary since 1996 and is also the director of communications for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Wells, registration secretary for the SBC since 2002, is a member of Hopedale Baptist Church in Ozark, Mo.

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  • Joy Rancatore