After 10 years as editor of the Western Recorder, Todd Deaton is leaving the official news journal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention March 1.
Deaton, 55, has been named managing editor of the Baptist Courier, news magazine of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the paper where he worked 13 years before his election by the KBC Mission Board in 2009.
In his new job he replaces Butch Bloom, who replaced Deaton as managing editor a decade ago and is retiring after working at the Baptist Courier for a total of 20 years.
A South Carolina native and graduate of Furman University, Deaton said he and his wife “have sensed for some time that God has been loosening our ties here in preparing us for new challenges in His perfect timing.”
“Little did we ever dream that we would be returning to serve the Baptists of my home state and to work with the Baptist Courier again,” he said. “It is, indeed, a rare blessing to go home again, and I’m delighted that God is providing us with the opportunity to begin our ministry there anew.”
Deaton is a 1988 graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, with a master-of-divinity degree. He added a doctor-of-education degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2009.
From 1989 until 1996 he was associate editor of the North Carolina newspaper Biblical Recorder, working under direction of R.G. Puckett, one-time board chair of what is now called Baptist News Global, who died in 2013.
Deaton switched to South Carolina to work for Don Kirkland, who followed his former boss John Roberts as editor of the Baptist Courier in 1996. Roberts, also a one-time board member of BNG-precursor Associated Baptist Press, died in 2012. Kirkland retired at the end of 2012.
Current Baptist Courier editor Rudy Gray described Deaton as “an accomplished and award-winning Christian journalist, successful editor, and a South Carolina native who certainly knows South Carolina Baptists.”
“As we sought God’s direction in locating the best managing editor we could find, one name surfaced above all others: Todd Deaton,” Gray said. “He was my first choice from the beginning.”
Western Recorder board chairman Chip Hutcheson said he appreciated Deaton for “his desire to build bridges rather than cause discord.”
Hutcheson, recently retired publisher of the Times Leader in Princeton, Kentucky, said the newspaper world has changed dramatically during Deaton’s time at Western Recorder.
“In recent times he has continued to edit the newspaper with a much smaller staff than when he arrived here, and has done so without complaint,” said Hutcheson, a former president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
In 2015 the KBC launched Kentucky Today, part of a strategy to influence state legislators with a “world-class online newspaper” to serve as “a complement” to Western Recorder, a print newspaper published since 1825.
Last fall the convention voted to exclude churches that are dually aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship based on the moderate group’s decision to remove language about sexual orientation from a hiring policy adopted amid controversy over the church and homosexuality in 2000.
Deaton isn’t the only KBC official moving to greener pastures. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 2011, was elected in November as president of the SBC International Mission Board. A search for his replacement is underway.
On Tuesday SBC President J.D. Greear announced the appointment of Curtis Woods — one of two co-interim executive directors filling in since Chitwood’s departure — as chairman of the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee.