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OPINION: What art can be made of this?

“SLAVE.” The word, painted in a gray scrawl under an abstract skeletal figure, confronts me every time I walk into my house. Sometimes accusing, sometimes sympathetic, the painting hanging on the wall in our entry is both beautiful and disturbing. Read More

TRENDING: Leaders as motivators

Economist Tyler Cowen believes the new model for educational formation will be the “professor as impresario.” He predicts that as we think of forming new leaders, we will return to an ancient practice of face-to-face formation. What the Greeks did in the symposia and agora, the effective professor will do today. Read More

OPINION: God moved into the neighborhood

Have you ever had the opportunity to drive through an old neighborhood and thought, “Why haven’t they just bulldozed this whole place? This is a mess! This is an eyesore! The people still living here should get a medal.” How do we respond to a place like this?

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Bible Belt Baptists can learn from small Baptist minorities overseas

If they have ears to hear, Baptists in places like the United States’ Bible Belt, where Christianity is the norm, can learn lessons from Baptist minorities in other parts of the world, where their existence is more tenuous, Baptist World Alliance leaders insist.

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Humanitarian aid, human rights advocacy bolster Baptist witness

Aid and advocacy create a positive witness for Baptists globally, say leaders of the Baptist World Alliance. The amount of assistance the BWA grants is not large in terms of dollars, but it makes a big difference. So does concern for religious liberty and human rights. Read More

Ruling removes what has been called the most important tax benefit available to ministers

A federal judge said Nov. 23 that an IRS rule allowing clergy to avoid paying taxes on a part of their income designated as a housing allowance violates the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. Read More

At Women's Get-Away, participants challenged to hear and tell stories of God's work in their lives

Fall colors and bright sunshine highlighted the Nov. 1-3 Women’s Get-Away, an annual event sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia, which this year drew almost 800 women to Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center around the theme, “Connect, Commit, Celebrate.” Read More

HERITAGE: An overlooked story

Lynn Blue, minister of music at Poplar Springs Baptist Church near Richmond, is interested in his family’s history and shared with the Virginia Baptist Historical Society an overlooked story about his great-great grandfather, Daniel Fowler Leach, who in 1870 came South from New York as a missionary. Read More

EDITORIAL: Parting words

As I write this I am sitting at Williamsburg Baptist Church, where I am serving as interim pastor. Outside the window a large red-tailed hawk stands like a sentinel. I couldn’t help but wonder at her lonely vigil and her patience as she waited ... and waited. A part of me can identify with that hawk. Read More

LEADERSHIP LINK: Prophets: champions of compassion

Prophets are rare today. Traditionally, they expose our blind spots, unclog our deaf ears and rub raw our calloused hearts. This challenging prophetic function is largely unappreciated by the church and the world. As a result, prophets often fight their friends and love their enemies. Read More

VITAL SIGNS: Making sense of change

Everywhere I look, I see transitions underway as we close out 2013. Whether it be friends in the news business, local congregations, ministers in transition, my own employment situation or significant family transitions, everyone is undergoing some sort of change. Read More

HeraldBeat: Tracking Baptists across the Mid-Atlantic

Church events, staff moves and other news of Baptists in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Read More


The Merger

GOOD news becomes GREAT news

In October 2013, the governing boards of The Religious Herald and Associated Baptist Press (ABPnews) unanimously approved a merger of the two independent news organizations.

This historic agreement emerged from a shared conviction that we could best serve Baptist Christians and churches in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world by collaborating rather than competing for readers and resources. The merger builds on our respective strengths while consolidating and streamlining core operations, eliminating duplications, and achieving economies of scale. It also equips us to embrace the challenges of dramatic changes in Baptist life, in religious journalism and in communication technologies.

The merger is good news for everyone who believes that a free press is essential to the health and vitality of the Baptist witness to the gospel. It offers a way to preserve and perpetuate the rich legacy of an influential, 185-year-old Baptist newspaper while also strengthening our capacity to provide timely, compelling content across multiple media platforms.

On December 31, 2013, The Religious Herald will officially cease publication as a bi-weekly print and electronic newsjournal. Beginning January 1, 2014, it will find new life and new expressions through the merger with ABPnews.

The information faithful subscribers have valued — reliable news stories, compelling features, thoughtful analysis, and engaging commentary — will enjoy greater visibility as part of a national platform via the integrated ABPnews/Religious Herald website and social media tools.

Many of the stories about mission and ministry endeavors of Baptist churches in Virginia, North Carolina, the District of Columbia and Maryland have broader appeal to Christians across the country. These articles will be incorporated into the daily news flow on the national website. Regionally-centered information, from ministry transitions to regional events to news about Baptist universities, seminaries and theology schools, also will continue to have a prominent place.

In addition, every person who contributes to The Herald Legacy Initiative will receive the Herald, a new, bi-monthly magazine provided as a benefit of membership in the annual fund.

The bottom line: by integrating the content and core audiences of our two news organizations, we believe good news will become great news for you and other Baptist Christians around the globe.

Click here to learn more about The Herald Legacy Initiative.

The Religious Herald and ABPnews

Our Mission
Serving Christ by providing credible and compelling information about matters of faith

Our Vision
To be the leading source of news and commentary for Baptist Christians worldwide

Our Identity
We are Baptist in heritage, ecumenical in spirit and global in reach.

Meet Our New Team

The merger agreement adopts the model of ABPnews as a virtual organization. We do not own or lease office space. Our staff members will be located in at least five states. The goal is to minimize overhead costs while concentrating our resources on the primary tasks of gathering, reporting, editing and publishing news and opinion content every business day.

David Wilkinson, Executive Director and Publisher
Waco, TX

Robert Dilday, Editor-in-Chief
Richmond, VA

Lindsay Bergstrom, Director of Creative Services
Jacksonville, FL

Bob Allen, News Editor
Smyrna, TN

Jeff Brumley, Assistant Editor
Jacksonville, FL

_____________, Staff Writer
Location to be determined.

Barbara Francis, Business Manager/Advertising Director
Richmond, VA

Natalie Aho, Interactive Communication Specialist (part-time)
Oxford, NC

________________, Development Assistant (part-time)
Waco, TX

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Herald Legacy Initiative

The Herald Legacy Initiative

Perpetuating the legacy and values of The Religious Herald through The Fund for ABPnews

The historic merger of The Religious Herald and Associated Baptist Press purposefully embraces a bold business model: providing compelling information about matters of faith every day free of charge to readers worldwide. We rely upon the generosity of our readers — together with contributions from churches, partner organizations and foundations — who believe in our unique ministry within the global Baptist family.

As part of The Fund for ABPnews, The Herald Legacy Initiative offers a way for you to invest in a free and trustworthy source of news and opinion for Baptist Christians and churches while supporting our commitment to perpetuate the legacy and values of The Religious Herald.

The Fund for ABPnews, launched in June 2012, will continue to function as the annual fund for the consolidated news organization.

The annual fund constitutes the financial backbone of our ministry. Your unrestricted gifts to the fund support our day-to-day operations. They help underwrite the costs of news gathering, reporting, editing and publishing. They support the website, the blog and the social media tools that enable us to deliver our content directly to our audiences.

The Herald Legacy Initiative is an endeavor to sustain and build upon the financial investment of subscribers to the print and electronic editions of The Religious Herald and the donors who have supported the Herald through their additional contributions.

Individuals who make a commitment to the Legacy Initiative automatically become members of the annual fund.

As stakeholders in our mission, annual fund members receive an informative annual report about the organization’s progress and ways their gifts have been put to work. Annual fund members gather with other friends for a dinner event during the annual General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to celebrate the cause of a free press for free Baptists. They also are invited to receptions and other events held in different regions of the country.

As another benefit of membership, each individual member or household also receives a copy of the new Herald magazine, a bi-monthly print magazine that debuts in early 2014. Although the audience has expanded, the magazine will inherit and reflect the spirit that has permeated The Religious Herald since 1828. A core objective of the magazine — along with content offered daily on the website and social media platforms — is to perpetuate the legacy and values of this historic newsjournal. All costs for designing, printing and mailing the Herald magazine will be covered by advertising.

Your participation in the Herald Legacy Initiative, along with your ongoing support through The Fund for ABPnews, will help propel us toward our vision: to be the leading source of news and commentary for Baptist Christians worldwide.

With your support, we will offer:

  • free and responsible journalism that encourages accountability and transparency in Baptist life;
  • inspiring stories about the ways churches and individuals are making a difference in the world;
  • practical ideas about how to live faithfully at the intersections of life and faith;
  • meaningful conversation illumined by truthful and accurate information;
  • ways to connect with others in the Baptist network and the larger Christian community;
  • a diversity of viewpoints that help shed light rather than heat on the challenging moral and social issues of our day;
  • reflections and ideas from a new generation of Baptists including emerging leaders who are bringing new energy and vitality to the Baptist movement;
  • a voice for the voiceless, including the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalized people in our world;
  • and much more.

We are an autonomous, nonprofit religion news organization. We are not controlled by or beholden to a denominational body or any special interest group. The Fund for ABPnews helps keep us free. It undergirds our credibility as an independent source of news and opinion. It enables us to report honestly and accurately, free from coercion or control.

The Herald Legacy Initiative

The Herald Legacy Initiative is an endeavor to sustain and build upon the financial investment of The Religious Herald subscribers and donors.

To join this special initiative:

  • Review the giving levels described below. Prayerfully consider how you can generously support a free press for free Baptists.
  • Make a two-year financial pledge for 2014 and 2015 by December 31, 2013. Your pledge is vital. It will help sustain our work during the critical first two years as a consolidated organization. It also will help guide us in the budgeting process as we move forward. Once you have fulfilled your pledge, your total pledge amount becomes eligible for a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution.

Each participant will be recognized as a Herald Legacy member of The Fund for ABPnews.

Annual Fund Membership Levels based on total yearly contributions

Supporter                Sustainer             Advocate                 Investor                                  
$25 - $49                $50 - $99             $100 - $499          $500 to $1,999

Leadership Gifts

For information about our Leadership Gifts program for the annual fund, contact David Wilkinson, Executive Director and Publisher, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 800.340.6626, ext. 3.

Baugh Foundation Matching Incentive Grant

The Religious Herald has received a generous grant from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation of San Antonio, Texas. To encourage persons to join the annual fund and to express support for the merger of the Herald and ABPnews, the Baugh Foundation agreed to set aside some funds as an incentive-based grant, up to a total of $250,000 through December 31, 2015.

As a result, you have an opportunity to multiply the impact of your gifts through the Herald Legacy Initiative.

Your two-year pledge commitment becomes eligible for a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution from the Baugh Foundation once the pledge is fulfilled. Your pledge for 2014 and 2015 also will enroll you each year as a member of the annual fund and automatically add you to the mailing list for the new Herald magazine.

To illustrate the impact of this matching grant, consider the following examples:

Two-Year Pledge                Annual Fund                            Total
2014        2015                  Giving Level                  with Matching Gift

$25            $25                       Supporter                             $100
$50            $50                       Sustainer                              $200
$100          $150                     Advocate                              $500
$400          $600                      Investor                             $2,000                            

You may also express your support by making a contribution today. Your year-end gift would be a tremendous boost for us, helping to offset costs associated with the merger process that we could not have anticipated in planning our 2013 operating budget.

All contributions received by December 31, 2013, also will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Baugh Foundation.

How to make your pledge or year-end gift

Pledge online. Click here to access a secure online giving form on the ABPnews website to record your two-year pledge to The Herald Legacy Initiative. Pledges begin Jan. 1.

Once your pledge is recorded, you will automatically become a member of our annual fund, The Fund for ABPnews. You will receive our new, bi-monthly magazine, titled Herald, as a benefit of membership.

Remember, once your pledge has been fulfilled or exceeded by Dec. 31, 2015, your total contributions to the annual fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Baugh Foundation, effectively doubling your gifts.

Make a gift online. Our secure online giving form may also be used to make a year-end gift to the Herald’s 2013 operating budget to help offset the costs associated with the merger process. The form also provides a convenient way to make your gift in honor or memory of someone.

Give or pledge by mail. Contact Barbara Francis by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 804.672.1973 to receive a brochure about The Herald Legacy Initiative. (The brochure includes a contribution/pledge form.)

Give by credit card. Call Barbara Francis at 804.672.1973 if you would like to use a credit card to make a secure, year-end donation.

All gifts to The Religious Herald and ABPnews are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

For more information about The Fund for ABPnews and other ways you can invest in our ministry, contact David Wilkinson, Executive Director and Publisher, at 800.340.6626, ext. 3, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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'Churchy' lingo turning off Millennials

If there were an 11th commandment, for Millennials it might be “thou shalt ban pious slogans from thy midst.” In fact, faith-based lingo — like “everything happens for a reason” and “God is in control” — is coming under increased scrutiny as younger Americans increasingly cite it as a major turn-off to congregational life. Read More

Controversy underscores importance of theology in hymns

Worship leaders seldom welcome controversy. But some church musicians see value in the dust-up created earlier this year by a line in a hymn. Read More

What enables some worship songs to last for generations, others to disappear?

Some worship songs endure for centuries, while others stir the souls of one generation and leave others cold. What enables some songs to span centuries, cross denominational lines and contribute to the worship of multiple generations in diverse settings? Read More

Singing our faith: Worship songs reflect and shape theology

When congregations join their hearts and voices in song any given Sunday, the choice of worship songs both reflect and shape their theology. The teaching function of music places heavy responsibility on worship leaders to examine the songs they select, say church musicians and pastors. Read More

HERITAGE: Perfect timing

Iris Ellen Wright Taylor of Waynesboro, Va., visited the Virginia Baptist Historical Society on a recent Wednesday. She came to present a second installment of papers and books related to her grandfather, James Henry Wright, who was a Baptist minister in the late 1800s. Read More