[May 30, 2013] Summary of the BH&HS Richmond Conference

From Civil War to Civil Rights, the 2013 annual conference of the Baptist History & Heritage Society (May 20-22) explored the theme of “Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness: Religion and the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconciliation in Our Time.” Dr. Edward L. Ayers (President, University of Richmond) presented 19th century Baptist minister Robert Ryland as a ‘mirror to our time’ in exploring racial reconciliation. Dr. Harry Stout (Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity, Yale Divinity School) explored how U. S. President Abraham Lincoln’s faith played a critical role in the formation of the Emancipation Proclamation. Dr. Andrew M. Manis (Middle Georgia State College) spoke of the incomplete nature of the Civil Rights movement and challenged listeners to continue working toward racial reconciliation, a theme echoed by a panelist of Richmond civil and religious leaders. In addition, some three dozen breakout presentations also encompassed the vast territory within the conference theme. Finally, many participants toured Civil War, emancipation, civil rights and Baptist sites in Richmond. Altogether, an estimated 250 persons attended one or more sessions of the conference.

BH&HS award recipients for this year were: Mike Williams (W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award), Glenn Jonas (Carolyn Blevins Meritorious Service Award), Carol Crawford Holcomb (Norman W. Cox Award), and Wake Forest University Special Collections and Archives (Davis C. Woolley Award).

The passing of Society member, former Society president and long-time leading Baptist historian Dr. Harry Leon McBeth (May 4, 2013) was acknowledged with a published tribute written by Karen O’Dell Bullock and included in the front of the Program and Resource Guide.

Select conference presentations and papers will be published in the Summer 2013 edition of the Baptist History & Heritage Journal, a journal that accompanies membership in the Society.

Fred Anderson, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies, both of which were co-sponsors of the conference, was absolutely instrumental in the success of the conference.

Next year’s annual BH&HS conference will be June 4-6, 2014 at Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The theme will be “Exploring the ‘Other’ Baptists,” and the University of Sioux Falls and the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions will be co-sponsors. Presentations and papers will focus on lesser-known Baptist groups, as well as the tasks of research and archival work. The 2014 conference will, accordingly, assist the Society in expanding its focus in the broader Baptist world and in working more closely alongside the multitude of Baptist libraries and archival collections that exist throughout the United States.

I hope you will make plans to join us in South Dakota in 2014.

NOTE: The following news stories about the conference were published after the event