Hampton, VA – During Tuesday’s business session at the 194th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), Virginia Baptists recognized and honored Fred Anderson and Ron Crawford, two men who are leaving an indelible mark on Virginia Baptist history through their leadership and service. Through resolutions of appreciation, each was individually recognized before the gathered body of messengers.
Fred Anderson retired on June 1, 2017 after 38 years as executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society (VBHS) and also the Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies, of which he led the creation in 1999. Fred became the first full-time director of the Historical Society in 1979 and quickly became “Mr. Virginia Baptist History” for BGAV churches and leaders. He has written 1,157 heritage columns for the former Religious Herald, biographies of key leaders, and histories of numerous churches, associations, and regions. His book, God’s Stories: An Illustrated History of Baptists in Virginia was published in 2007.
Fred is also widely known for his costumed monologues of several Virginia Baptist heroes—most notably his portrayals of William E. Hatcher and John Leland. He has more than tripled the number of church records in the VBHS’s holdings, added traveling exhibits, managed the University of Richmond’s archives, and established the Heritage Fellows’ program for select college students. Fred has also served as clerk for the BGAV from 1982 to the present. His professional excellence has been recognized with many awards, including the first Davis C. Woolley Award for outstanding achievement in state Baptist history from the Baptist History and Heritage Society in 1991, awarded again by the same national organization in 2002 and 2006 to spotlight the stellar work done by the Society and Center, and he was honored with the Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bluefield College in 2002.
Ron Crawford retired on June 30, 2017 after completing ten years as President of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR). Ron had previously served as pastor of two Virginia Baptist congregations—Vandola in Danville (1980-1984) and Lakeside in Richmond (1984-1995)—along with churches outside Virginia. He also served as President of the BGAV for the 1993-1994 term.
He later participated in the Coordinating Council, the national governing body of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Before becoming President of BTSR, Ron served two stints there as a trustee, including a term as Board Chairperson. While serving at BTSR, he focused on preparing women and men for excellence in ministry while matching and managing seminary resources to the school’s most pressing needs. In retirement, he will continue to contribute as President Emeritus of the seminary.
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,400 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, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.