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BGAV Elects New Executive Director at 199th Annual Meeting

Attendees inspired and encouraged at first hybrid-format annual meeting

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The 199th meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, ended Wednesday morning with a message of hope from Wayne Faison, BGAV’s newly elected executive director. Shortly after being voted into the position, Faison said, “God has called me to BGAV to keep hope alive! When we are able to recognize God for who he is, then we are able to keep hope alive.”

(left to right) Adam Tyler, Wayne Faison, Carmen Faison, Allen Jessee

Faison, who was introduced as the candidate by the Executive Director search team the morning before, said that his acceptance of the nomination was “a matching of callings. As the Lord was working with the Executive Director search team, the Lord was also working with me.”

He thanked the group of 476 registered attendees, 314 of whom were messengers from BGAV churches, and a virtual online audience. “I don’t take this honor for granted,” he stated.

This year’s annual meeting was the first in a hybrid model, with hundreds in physical attendance and many others attending virtually using BGAV’s own ChurchPoint app and the event website. In-person messengers voted in Wednesday’s business session to pass an amendment to the constitution/bylaws that will allow those attending online in the future the ability to not only view and participate, but also to vote remotely.

Messengers approved a 2023 budget of $8,209,800, reflecting a slight decline from last year’s total of just over $8.6 million.

Also in Wednesday’s business session, messengers elected new leadership for the next year. Herbert Ponder, Senior Pastor of Mount Tabor Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, was elected President to succeed outgoing President Ron Gravatt, who presided over most of the meeting.

(left to right) Herbert Ponder, Becky McKinney, Mark Hughes, Nathan Taylor

Becky McKinney, member of Chatham Heights Baptist Church in Martinsville, VA, was elected as First Vice-President. She was also honored at the event as the outgoing Chair of the BGAV Executive Board.

Mark Hughes, pastor of West End Baptist Church in Dinwiddie, was elected Second Vice-President. Nathan Taylor, Executive Director of theVirginia Baptist Historical Society, was also elected to continue as Clerk for the next year.

Highlights of the event included inspirational messages by best-selling author Carey Nieuwhof, who spoke to the group twice on Tuesday. Freddy Villarreal, Senior Pastor of Freedom Life Church in Hampton, VA, also was a featured preacher. Villarreal spoke twice on Tuesday and led a segment during Wednesday’s closing worship session.

BGAV will celebrate its bicentennial anniversary next year at the 200th annual meeting,November 13-15, 2023, at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Glen Allen, VA.