Barbara Francis, Baptist News Global’s business manager and advertising director, retired March 31, completing a 30-year career working for two faith-based news organizations.
Francis was born and raised in Glen Allen, Virginia and currently resides in Ashland, Virginia, outside Richmond. After graduating from Smithdeal Massey Business College in Richmond with a certificate in business, she then worked 20 years for a commercial printing company doing typesetting and pre-press work.
Francis joined the staff of the Religious Herald in 1990 as a typesetter after leaving her commercial printing job. The Virginia Baptist news publication, established in 1828, merged in 2014 with Associated Baptist Press, BNG’s predecessor.
“I answered an ad published in the Religious Herald for a typesetter. Dr. Julian Pentecost hired me to work with Robert Dilday, associate editor, who was in charge of the production of the newspaper which was published 48 weeks a year,” Francis recalled.
She also served the publication as bookkeeper, sales and marketing director before becoming BNGs business and advertising manager after the merger.
Francis also has been responsible during the last 25 years for gathering and compiling information from churches and organizations for a page devoted to staff changes, retirements, ordinations and church events.
“Early on most of the information was gleaned from hundreds of printed newspapers from Virginia Baptist churches mailed to the Herald,” Francis said. “Now, the changes are nationwide and most of the news is gathered from websites, electronic newsletters and social media.”
BNG Executive Director and Publisher David Wilkinson said Francis excelled in her work.
“Barbara has been the glue that has kept us afloat and moving forward, whether the water was smooth and the sailing easy, or whether we were navigating choppy seas,” Wilkinson said. “She has been a quiet and unassuming but vital part of BNG’s ministry of independent, faith-based journalism. All of us wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement.”
Francis said she considers those she worked with to be dear friends.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to stretch my talents and be involved in many tasks. It’s never been boring. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve had the privilege to work with for 30 years.”
As for retirement plans, Francis said she’s not sure what she’ll do.
“I just want to get there, and I’m sure that I’ll figure it out then.”
Francis will remain active at Biltmore Baptist Church in Glen Allen, where she has served as the church treasurer for 35 years.
“I’ve served in almost every position there is at the church,” she said. “It is a congregation that is close to my heart.”