CBHS Heritage Fellows

The Heritage Fellows program is designed to give students a better understanding and appreciation of Baptist heritage and of the relationship between Baptist heritage and contemporary issues in Baptist life.

As history comes alive before your eyes, you will be given the opportunity to learn from the top leaders in Virginia Baptist life.

Join us for this incredible opportunity open to junior and sophomore Virginia Baptist undergraduate students. 

Baptist Center’s Heritage Fellows provide hope for tomorrow.

Please note: as the Heritage Fellows program is under review in this transitional year, the application deadline for 2018-19 is TBA. Watch this space for upcoming developments.


Sometimes in Baptist life we ask the question, “Who will lead Baptists tomorrow?”  It is the question driving the Heritage Fellows program of the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies.

The Heritage Fellows program was created to provide college sophomores and juniors with opportunities to learn about Baptist heritage, to meet outstanding Baptist leaders and to contribute to Baptist thought on a particular Baptist principle.

The process begins with each applicant completing an application of general information (name, address, school, major, etc.) but also answering questions like, “What would be lost if there were no Baptists?” or “What is the most important Baptist principle to you?” Once the applications are received, a selection committee reads and considers each one, and selects the Heritage Fellows for the new year.

Heritage Fellows attend a workshop where they meet Baptist historians, tour the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and talk with current Baptist leaders. During the retreat, the Fellows are introduced to the research topic and provide input as to the best approach for conducting the research. To help understand more about the topic, the Fellows meet with professionals serving in that area of Baptist life. By the end of the workshop, the Fellows are given their assignments and are on their own to research the topic.

Across the years, the Heritage Fellows have examined the following topics:  Social Ministry; Missions Delivery; Baptist Polity or Church Governance; Christian Stewardship; Worship Styles; Partnership Missions; Compassionate Ministries; and Diversity.  Their papers have been published in booklets.  The 2012 Heritage Fellows interviewed Baptists who have been engaged in "partnership missions" around the world and the results of their interviews were included in a new book on the history of partnership missions among Virginia Baptists.  The Heritage Fellow for 2012-13 transcribed Civil War period sermons which have been published in a new book entitled Powerful Preachers available through the Virginia Baptist Historical Society.  The class of 2013-14 interviewed persons who have started new churches and gathered information on what is involved in new church starts.  Their papers have been published in the current journal of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society.  For the class of 2014-15, one Fellow researched the history, present and possible futures of Baptist campus ministry in Virginia. 

Heritage Fellows are awarded stipends of $3,000.  They are recognized as members of the emerging generation to lead Baptists.  And in the process they make their own contribution to understanding Baptist heritage and identity.

Heritage Fellows are required to be Baptists in Virginia, students at a college or university in Virginia with an active Baptist collegiate ministry sponsored by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, active in a faith community, and exceptional students who are making a 3.0 grade average.  They must be college sophomores or juniors for the academic term in which they will serve; therefore, a freshman may apply as long as he or she will be a sophomore in the new academic year beginning in the fall and a sophomore can apply for their sophomore or junior year.  Heritage Fellows may be considered for a second year of appointment.

Since the program began, some 25 Heritage Fellows have been appointed from the following colleges and universities in Virginia:  University of Richmond, Bluefield College, University of Virginia, Longwood University, College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, Lynchburg College, University of Mary Washington and Radford University.  Ask your Baptist collegiate minister for further information or contact Nathan Taylor at the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies at the University of Richmond (804) 289-8434.

The Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies was established in 2000 following an agreement between the Baptist General Association of Virginia, the University of Richmond and the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. The Center seeks to explore Baptist history and heritage through convocations, seminars, publications, an essay contest and the Heritage Fellows program.


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