Please submit transitions — including staff changes, ordinations, anniversaries or deaths — to Barbara Francis. This page will be updated weekly.
Nikki Byers, to First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., as interim minister for missions.
Michael Danishek, concluding his tenure as manager of multimedia at Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Rodney Franklin, to Baptist Church of the Covenant, Birmingham, Ala.; as interim pastor.
Brent Greene, to First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., as interim minister to discipleship.
Joe Kutter, concluding his tenure as director of interim ministries at American Baptist Churches of the Central Region.
Mike McMeniman, to Four Mile Creek Baptist Church, Henrico, Va., as lead pastor. Previously he was pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, Green Bay, Va.
David Morton, to First Baptist Church, Hillsborough, N.C., as interim pastor.
Keith Riley, to Menlo Church, Menlo Park, Calif., as director of life groups. He comes from Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, where he was singles associate.
Jeremy Scott, to Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, as minister of missions. He comes from Sugar Land (Texas) Baptist Church, where he was missions associate.
Shawn Shannon, to Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, as spiritual formation director. She formerly was Baptist student ministry director at Mary Hardin Baylor University.
Mike Smith, announcing plans to retire as pastor of Central Baptist Church Fountain City, Knoxville, Tenn., effective Nov. 17.
Omunique Owens, ordained to gospel ministry on May 19 by Emerson Avenue Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Ind.
William J. “Bill” Bigger, 56, died May 1 in Durham, N.C. He had served as pastor of Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham since 2012. Previously he served pastorates at Enka (N.C.) Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, Drexel, N.C., Briarcliff Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., and First Baptist Church, Rome, Ga. He is survived by his wife, Leigh; son, Matthew; daughter, Kaylee Bigger Kuzbary; and two grandchildren.
Robert ”Bob” Burgbacher, 79, died April 21 in Indianapolis, Ind. He was an American Baptist minister who served churches in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, La Porte and Greenwood, Ind. After 20 years he left the ministry to pursue a career in social services and became the executive director of Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and a leader in the LGBTQ community. In retirement he was interim pastor of Big Flatrock Christian Church, Rushville, Ind. He is survived by two sons, Mark and Jon; and three grandchildren.
Richard E. “Dick” Chorley, 79, died April 14 in Burlington, N.C. During his ministry he served as organist and choir director at Central Congregational Church, Middleboro, Mass., minister of Christian education and music at First Baptist Church, Keene, N.H., and at First Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. In 1979 he joined the staff of Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C., a position he held until 2002. He is survived by his wife, Virginia; two daughters, Heather and Susan; a son, Kevin; and three grandchildren.
Rachel Held Evans, 37, died May 4 in Nashville, Tenn. She was a best-selling progressive Christian author who challenged the conservative evangelical community by championing the voice of people who have been marginalized in the church, including the LGBTQ She served on former President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She spoke at churches, conferences and universities around the country. She is survived by her husband, Dan, and two children.
Alan W. Gragg, 86, died April 12 in Asheville, N.C. He taught at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Furman University. He taught almost 15 years at Georgetown College, Georgetown, Ky., where he was a religion professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department. From 1984 he served as vice president and dean of academic affairs at Brewton-Parker College. He is survived by his wife, Jessie; three daughters, Cheryl Gragg, Ruth Colnot and Joy McIver; and seven grandchildren.
Hilton Baptist Church, Newport News, Va.; 100 years; May 5.
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