Bruce T. Gourley, BH&HS Executive Director Online @


May-June 2013     Vol. 2 No. 4   

Baptist History &
Heritage Society
Partner Digest
A Brief Monthly Compilation of Society News

Working Together to Communicate Baptist Heritage and Strengthen Baptist Identity


The BH&HS partners with Baptist organizations & individuals to provide resources,
host conferences and lead seminars for the academy and local congregations.


Meet our 2013 Baptist History & Heritage Society Board Members


Left to Right,
Top to Bottom:

William Pitts
(TX, President)
 Pamela Smoot
(IL, Vice President)
Bonnie Brandon
(TN, Secretary)
Alyson Dickson
(TN, Treasurer)
Gary Burton
John Pierce
Aaron Weaver



News from the Richmond Conference

An estimated 250 persons attended the 2013 annual conference of the Baptist History & Heritage Society held at the University of Richmond and Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. The Virginia Baptist Historical Society and the Center for Baptist Heritage & Studies were conference co-sponsors.

The theme of “Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness: Religion and the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconciliation in Our Time” was addressed by three prominent historians. 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 panel 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.

During its general business session, the Baptist History & Heritage Society passed new bylaws and elected an expanded slate of board members. The board members represent scholars, clergy and denominational leaders:

Dr. William Pitts, President (Baylor University, TX) -- Dr. Pitts is Professor of History in Baylor's Department of Religion

Dr. Pamela Smoot, Vice President (Southern Illinois University) -- Dr. Smoot is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at SIU

Rev. Bonnie Oliver-Brandon, Secretary (Tennessee) -- Rev. Oliver-Brandon is a writer, editor and Executive Assistant to the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee

Alyson Dickson, Treasurer (Vanderbilt University, Tennessee) -- Ms Dickson is a Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Gray Burton (Alabama) -- Rev. Burton is long-time pastor of Pintlala Baptist Church in Hope Hull, Alabama and a published local historian, having served as former president of the Alabama Baptist Historical Association

Dr. John Pierce (Georgia) -- Dr. Pierce is executive editor of Baptists Today

Dr. Aaron Weaver (Georgia) -- Dr. Weaver is an author, blogger and Communications Manager of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

The conference resulted in a number of news stories, including:


Looking Ahead to the 2014 BH&HS Annual Conference
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
June 4-6, 2014

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.”

The University of Sioux Falls and the Association of Librarians & 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 Sioux Falls, South Dakota June 4-6, 2014.

Notes About Society Members and Supporters
April and May Gifts: The BH&HS express gratitude for recent gifts from: Margie A. Black (GA), Blue Ridge Baptist Association (VA), Frederick J. Boehlke, Jr. (PA), James E. Carter (LA), David R. Cook (GA), Cooperative Baptist Fellowship National, Sue Fitzgerald (NC), Glenn Jonas (NC), McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University (GA), Lamon Moates (GA), Morgan Nelson (New Mexico), Joseph W. A. Whitehome (VA), Mike Williams (TX)

Society Members in the News: BH&HS award recipients for this year were: Mike Williams of Dallas Baptist University (W. O. Carver Distinguished Service Award), Glenn Jonas of Campbell University (Carolyn Blevins Meritorious Service Award), Carol Crawford Holcomb of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Norman W. Cox Award), and Wake Forest University Special Collections and Archives (Davis C. Woolley Award). Tommy Sanders has been named the named as the Assistant Provost and Associate Professor of Religion in the School of Christian Studies at East Texas Baptist University.

Upcoming Society & Partner Happenings
Society Director's Notes:
  • If you will be attending the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Greensboro, NC in June, please drop by the Baptist History & Heritage Society booth. The Society is providing complimentary, congregational Baptist identity resource packets for conference attendees. 
  • Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, in conjunction with the American Baptist Historical Society, is hosting "The Judsons: Celebrating 200 Years of Baptist Missions, Learning From the Past and Looking to the Future," Novembe 14-16, 2013. The BH&HS will be represented at this event. More information.

Baptist Studies Bulletin: Would you like to contribute to a future edition of the Baptist Studies Bulletin? Contact Bruce for more information.

Your Donation Helps Ensure Baptists' Future
The freedom traditions of our Baptist faith are important to the future of our nation and world. A financial investment in the work of the Baptist History & Heritage Society is an investment in the future or your children and grandchildren. .
What is the future of Christianity in America? How can Baptists contribute to a growing conversation about the un-churching of America? The Baptist History & Heritage Society helps equip Baptists to examine and understand the dynamics of the Baptist faith and attendant implications for our world at large. Our resources help Baptists learn, value and teach Baptist heritage and identity. But we cannot do this important work and ministry alone. We need your help. Please consider supporting the Baptist History & Heritage Society.

The BH&HS cannot fulfill its mission without donations from Baptists like you. Your donations are tax-deductible. Send your check to BH&HS, 151 Broadleaf Drive, Macon, GA, 31210 or donate online.

Contact Information
  • Bruce Gourley, Executive Director: email or 406-599-1754
  • Jackie Riley, Office Manager: email or 406-600-7433
  • Delane Tew, President: email
  • Bill Pitts, Vice-President: email
  • Bonnie Oliver-Brandon, Secretary: email
  • Postal Mail: 151 Broadleaf Drive, Macon, GA, 31210