Baptist News Global will honor a long-time board member and a veteran Baptist journalist at a dinner event in Liberty, Mo., on Sunday, April 23.
Missouri Baptist layman Jimmy Nickell will be presented the Founders Award, established in 1998 by the board of directors of Associated Baptist Press, the predecessor to Baptist News Global. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have embodied BNG’s founding principles and have supported its mission through significant professional or financial contributions. Nickell was an influential leader and supporter for much of ABP’s first 25 years since its creation as an independent news service in 1990. An active Baptist lay leader while living in Lubbock, Texas, and the Kansas City, Mo., area, Nickell served on the ABP and then BNG board of directors from 1994 until his retirement from the board last year.
The Founders Award is BNG’s highest honor for service to the organization. Nickell will be the eleventh recipient and sixth individual to be honored.
“Jimmy Nickell has been a stalwart champion for an independent press for Baptists that is also trusted and respected by Christians in other faith traditions and by editors and reporters in the religious and secular news media,” said Kyle Reese, pastor of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., and chair of BNG’s board of directors. “His remarkable commitment to ABP, and now BNG, has been an inspiration to me, to our board, and to the donors who make BNG’s work possible.”
Bill Webb, a Baptist journalist and state paper editor for more than 35 years, will be presented the Greg Warner Lifetime Achievement Award in Religious Journalism. The award, bearing the name of ABP’s longtime executive editor, was created by the board in 2009 to honor journalists whose body of work has contributed in significant ways to the understanding of religion in American society. It recognizes persons who with courage and integrity have addressed important issues related to matters of faith, whose writing and reporting have consistently reflected the highest standards of journalism, and whose work is consistent with BNG’s mission, vision and values.
Webb, who served as editor of the Missouri-based Word & Way newsjournal for more than 20 years until his retirement last December, also served on the board of ABP/BNG for 10 years. He will be the fifth recipient of the award.
“Through his writing and reporting for more than four decades, Bill Webb has informed and inspired several generations of Baptist Christians,” said David Wilkinson, BNG’s executive director and publisher. “Bill has been a model of courage, integrity and faithfulness not only during good times for Baptist journalism but especially during the tumultuous years of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bill is an unassuming, gentle spirit whose influence on Baptist life reflects a quiet but persistent approach grounded in a deep and abiding faith.”
The awards dinner also will include the announcement of a fundraising campaign for the Ardelle and Hardy Clemons Endowment Fund, a cause supported by Nickell and Webb. The fund will be the beneficiary of tribute gifts from friends who wish to honor the two award recipients. The campaign’s goal is to generate funding to establish a residency program to help prepare future generations of talented women and men with a commitment to faith-based journalism.
Reservations are required for the dinner event. Tickets are $35 per person and may be purchased online or by mail. Additional information about the event and about tribute gifts to the Clemons Fund in honor of Nickell or Webb is available on BNG’s website or by contacting Tasha Gibson at (336) 717-1135 or Tasha@baptistnews.com.