In an uncontested vote Nov. 13, Blacksburg, Va., pastor Tommy McDearis was elected president of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in an annual meeting which also featured the election of Waynesboro, Va., pastor David Washburn as treasurer of the 1,400-church denomination.
McDearis, pastor of Blacksburg Baptist Church, had served the past year as the BGAV’s first vice president. His election is consistent with a 13-year-old practice of elevating first presidents to the BGAV’s top elected office, a tradition that isn’t mandated by bylaws.
It’s also consistent with a more than 50-year-old practice of rotating the BGAV presidency between ministers and laypersons — another well-established tradition that isn’t required by bylaws.
McDearis succeeds Richmond, Va., layman Carl Johnson, whose one-year term ended at the conclusion of the Nov. 12-13 annual meeting.
McDearis has been pastor of the Blacksburg church since 1997. Earlier he was pastor of Northside Drive Baptist Church in Atlanta. He is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Ga., and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Since 2003 he has been chaplain for the Blacksburg Police Department, a period of time that included the fatal shootings in 2007 of 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech, across the street from the church.
He is a former trustee of the Religious Herald. He and his wife, Susan, have three grown children.
McDearis was succeeded as first vice president by Ann Brown of Gretna, Va., a former president of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia and a member of First Baptist Church in Gretna.
Edward Fisher, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bluefield, W.Va., was elected second vice president, while Fred Anderson, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, was elected to a 32nd term as clerk.
All four officers were elected without opposition.
Meanwhile, Washburn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Waynesboro, will assume his new position Dec. 1 as the chief financial officer of both the BGAV and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. A former banker who has chaired the BGAV’s budget committee for the past two years, he succeeds Eddie Stratton, who will retire Dec. 31 after 12 years. The two will have about a month of overlap to create a smooth transition. Stratton will continue to be the Mission Board’s chief development officer.
Washburn has been pastor of the 1,200-member Waynesboro church since 2005. Earlier he was on the staff of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in Earlysville, initially as associate pastor and then for seven years as senior pastor.
From 1989 to 1995 he was assistant vice president of First Union National Bank in Cary and Wilmington, N.C. There he supervised an eight-person team which earned a top 10 ranking among the bank’s 260 branches.
In addition to budget committee responsibilities, Washburn has chaired the BGAV’s committee on boards and committees and currently is a trustee of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He recently completed terms on the coordinating councils of both the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the CBF of Virginia.
He holds a master of divinity degree from BTSR and a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Robert Dilday ([email protected]) is managing editor of the Religious Herald.