Religious Herald

By Adwoah Yeboah

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The Religious Herald is the news journal of the Baptist General Association of Virginia . The first issues of the Religious Herald were released on January 11, 1828 in Richmond . In 1831, Eli Ball became the editor. Two years later, when Ball resigned because of other press duties, William Sands, who was then the publisher, assumed the editorial position. He served the newspaper for 37 years during times of turbulent religious controversies and doctrinal disputes.

The journal reduced its length from four to two pages due to problems it faced during the Civil War. Retreating Confederate troops set fire to Richmond ‘s business district on April 3, 1865, and the Religious Herald’s offices were destroyed. The remains of the paper were sold to Jeremiah B. Jeter and Alfred Dickinson in October, 1865. Jeter served as editor until his death in 1880; Dickinson then assumed leadership of the paper until 1906. Dickinson was followed as editor by the associate editor Robert H. Pitt, who served in that capacity until his death in 1937. Each editor brought his own distinctive style to the editor’s chair.

The Religious Herald was purchased by an experienced Virginia Baptist pastor, Reuben Alley, in September, 1937. The circulation grew from 2,500 to almost 35,000 as a result of Alley’s hard word and innovations. From the beginning, the paper was owned by its editor, but in 1950 the Religious Herald Publishing Association, Inc. was formed as the paper became an agency of the Baptist General Association of Virginia .

When Alley retired in 1969, Julian Pentecost was called to be editor. Thomas Miller joined the staff as associate editor in 1970 and served until 1986, when he became vice president for communications at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annuity Board , which is now known as Guide Stone Financial Services Robert Dilday then became associate editor. In 1990, Pentecost announced his retirement, and the trustees turned to a Virginia Baptist pastor, Michael Clingenpeel, who became editor in 1992. Clingenpeel served until 2004, when he became pastor of River Road Church , Baptist, in Richmond . The next year, another Virginia Baptist pastor, James White, became editor.

The Religious Herald’s mission is to inform, interpret, and inspire in the context of the witness and work of the Baptist General Association of Virginia . The journal consists of editorials and opinions, Virginia news, world news national, news about the church and its people, letters to the editor, classifieds, archives and a heritage column. The Religious Herald assists congregations with their own communication needs by printing church newsletters on the back page.

Religious Herald
P.O. Box 8377
2828 Emery Wood Parkway
Richmond , VA. 23226
(804)-672-1973

Sources:
Religious Herald staff member
Religious Herald website

Profile prepared by Adwoa Yeboah
February, 2008

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