Posted: 11/14/19 at 3:10pm. Article by Will Cumbia.
ROANOKE, VA — During Tuesday’s business session at the 196th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), Virginia Baptists recognized and honored William J. (Jeff) Cranford, II and Stephen Richerson, two men who leave a definite mark on Virginia Baptist life through their leadership and service. Through resolutions of appreciation, each was individually recognized before the gathered body of messengers.
Cranford retired on March 1, 2019, from BGAV Congregational Field Staff after serving 20 years as the Central Region Field Strategist and Compensation Planning Specialist. He has served in Baptist life in Virginia since 1995, serving as Director of Missions in the Central Virginia Baptist Association and later joined the Virginia Baptist State office in 1999. Previously, Cranford had served 23 years in pastoral leadership in North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia.
Through his training in theology and talents he served the BGAV family in a variety of roles, including guiding churches through transitions, helping ministers plan for retirement, and Bible teaching in churches. He has helped thousands prepare for retirement. Cranford holds degrees from Gardner-Webb University and Baylor University and taught as an adjunct professor at Averett University, Bluefield College, the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
Stephen Richerson recently retired as President and Executive Director of HopeTree Family Services, corporately known as the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services. Richerson has long had a heart for children and families and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Home in 1985, serving as Board President for seven years. He later was chosen as president of the organization in November 2002.
A graduate of the University of Richmond and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Richerson dedicated his talents and life experiences to serve the spiritual and practical needs of Virginia’s families with HopeTree. HopeTree, known originally as the Baptist Orphanage of Virginia at its inception in 1890, expanded under Richerson’s leadership to include homes of intellectually disabled adults, adoption and foster family services, alternative schools for children in need of personalized educational opportunities, and the establishment of the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services Foundation.
Members present joined John Upton in expressing their deep gratitude to the two men as they were presented with plaques of appreciation.
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,360 autonomous churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as churches from Seoul, South Korea, Toronto, Ontario, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.