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The Baptist General Association of Virginia made history on November 16 when he elected Wayne Faison as general manager.

Faison, who is black, is the first executive director in BGAV’s 200-year history who is not a white male. He was elected in a show of hands at the BGAV annual meeting in Hampton, Va., then received a standing ovation from the crowd.

He was nominated for the position by a search committee and then confirmed by vote of the BGAV board on August 30.

In a live broadcast interview Immediately after his election, Faison acknowledged he was beginning his work at a time when many churches and pastors were still trying to emerge from the pandemic.

“A lot of churches are still hurting, trying to figure out where they need to go,” he said. “But I see a feeling of encouragement. I see a feeling of perseverance. I see a feeling of wanting, and so I’m so happy to see that. Virginia Baptist still stands the test of time. … I see a feeling I see a sense of really trying to follow God and see what God wants and keep the main thing, and that’s sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Faison was previously the National Coordinator of BGAV’s Ascent Team, which includes three generative movements: Fresh Expressions, Missio Alliance and V3. He was on staff at BGAV for 21 years. He is also Senior Pastor of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia.

Before entering the ministry of vocations, Faison spent 15 years in the banking industry. He earned a Doctorate in Black Church Leadership from the School of Theology, a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a mini-MBA from the University of Richmond, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Florida.

Not only does his election make history in Virginia, it is a first in one of the predominantly white Baptist conventions in the Old South.

The BGAV, however, has been a leader in diversity among state conventions historically tied to the Southern Baptist Convention. Former BGAV leaders, including recently retired John Upton, have worked to create a big-tent mentality among the 1,300 churches in the state body, which also includes member congregations outside of the State of Virginia.

Editor’s note: BGAV is a financial partner of Baptist News Global.

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