Religious Liberty and the role played by Virginia Baptists, past and present, was the emphasis of the VBHS Annual Meeting held on May 16 at River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond. Dr. Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty headquartered in Washington, D.C., was the featured speaker. Fred Anderson, executive director of the VBHS and the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, told the story of the struggle for religious liberty in the 1700s in a message entitled "The Rusty Lock & Key." The surviving Virginia Baptist churches from the 18th century were recognized.
At the meeting, Nathan L. Taylor was affirmed as the new executive director of the VBHS and the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies. Fred Anderson transferred the "lock and key" of the Culpeper jail as a symbolic transfer of leadership as he became executive director emeritus after 38 years of service. An ordained Baptist minister, Taylor began his role in May, having served in congregational ministry for over ten years. Taylor and Anderson will serve concurrently during the summer of 2017 to provide for the smooth transition of leadership for the Society and Center.
The Virginia Baptist Register #55, 2016, carries the special title of One Man & His Family and gives the story of the remarkable James Thomas, Jr. and members of his family. Thomas was Richmond, Virginia's first millionaire and a generous Baptist to many worthy causes. Also included will be the World War I letters of one of his grandsons as well as a collection of stunning photographs taken by one of his granddaughters, showing late 19th century life. Send a check for $26 including s&h and tax and request that #55 be sent to you. Send your check and request to VBHS, P.O. Box 34, University of Richmond, VA 23173.
The 2015 Virginia Baptist Register - features TO SEE A WORLD: Virginia Baptist Innocents Abroad - travel experiences and observations of 19th century Baptists who toured Europe, the Near East, Egypt, the Holy Land, Africa and China. In connection with the theme, the Virginia Baptist Historical Society is mounting a large new exhibit to open early in 2016. The exhibit will include manuscripts, artifacts and period photographs from the travels highlighted in the journal.
The journal also includes articles on Northern Baptist contributions to the South following the Civil War and on Virginia Baptists seeking reconciliation with Northern Baptists in the post-War period.
Copies of TO SEE A WORLD - the new journal - available at $20 each plus $5 s&h and $1 tax = $26 from VBHS, P.O. Box 34, University of Richmond, VA 23173.
Baptist beginnings in Virginia...
The 2014 issue of the Virginia Baptist Register, the annual journal of the Society, explores the beginnings of a Baptist presence in Virginia. Fred Anderson, executive director of the VBHS, has written an extensive article on "the Virginia Mission" which was undertaken by English Baptists beginning in 1714 and which resulted in the planting of the first Baptist church in Virginia in 1715 by Robert Norden. Also included in the journal are studies by two Virginia Baptist college students about church planting today through the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The students are Heritage Fellows appointed by the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies and are Katie Wilkins of Bluefield College and Abby Chapin of Virginia Tech.
The journal also includes a major article by Michael Whitt, special projects assistant at the VBHS, on the impact of the Civil War upon Virginia Baptist churches. Whitt made an exhaustive study of the period by using church and association records as well as issues of the Religious Herald for the war years.
The 2014 Register can be ordered for $20 plus $5 shipping and handling + $1 tax = $26. Orders can be sent to VBHS, Box 34, University of Richmond, VA 23173.