Jennifer Davis Rash takes a quick selfie with two of the three new state convention officers (Buddy Champion and Jarman Leatherwood) following their introduction Nov. 17.
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Rashional Thoughts: New state convention officers continue tradition of faithful leadership

Three new state convention officers were elected to serve during the final session of the annual meeting this past week (see story here).

All three were touted as dedicated family men who have a fierce love for their congregations and the communities they serve.

They are proven leaders, each in different ways but proven nonetheless, and all are mentors and coaches of others coming behind them.

And I’m not sure if this is unusual or not, but each also has a personal story of enduring a season of suffering — the kind of pain that brings perspective to what’s really important.

We’ll help you get to know president Buddy Champion, first vice president Morgan Bailey and second vice president Jarman Leatherwood more in the coming days.

For now, know they all expressed sentiments similar to those outgoing president Tim Cox shared during his president’s address the day before  — a sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve in these roles and a deep love and appreciation for Alabama Baptists.

Champion, pastor of First Baptist Church Trussville, served as first vice president for the past three years and served as second vice president for the two years prior.

He made me a little weepy as he teared up during the gavel hand off in the closing session.

“Thank you for your love, support and prayers,” he said. “As we go on this journey wherever God leads us, my wife Lynn (reminded me that) to whom much is given much is required. I pray I live up to what is required, to represent you well and represent our Lord.”

Leatherwood, founding pastor of House of Hope and Restoration Church in Huntsville, said he looks forward to seeing “how God uses us together.”

“I want you to know how much it means to be selected for this role,” Leatherwood said. “The support of all of you who have been so faithful and kind, to encourage us not only in the work that we are doing but also as a person.

“As one of seven young boys dreaming to be something more than what we had been … coming from a small city like York, Alabama, we never thought a day like this would be possible.”

Bailey, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ranburne, was not present due to the death of his father Nov. 15 but has consistently shared his great honor and joy to serve as an officer of the convention. He served as second vice president the past three years.

The day following the annual meeting found Bailey at the funeral of his father, Leatherwood leading his church to serve food boxes to around 200 families in the community and Champion praying over names to select for the new Sexual Abuse Task Force.

Real people living real lives doing real work while loving Jesus, their families, their congregations and their communities — a precise model of who we are as Alabama Baptists.

The word on the street is that the 2021 Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting was “one of the best ever.” To catch up on all that happened, click on the archive link from the menu bar at the top left of the site to flip back through the coverage posted Nov. 14–17.

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Photo by Van Payne/The Alabama Baptist

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