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The editor of Virginia’s moderate Baptist newspaper is being recommended as pastor of a Richmond church.

Michael Clingenpeel, editor of the Religious Herald for 12 years, is unanimous nominee of the pastor search committee at River Road Church, Baptist, EthicsDaily.com has learned.

The recommendation, announced at Sunday’s worship service, is scheduled for vote at a called church business meeting July 11.

Clingenpeel said he is honored to be nominated as pastor of a congregation that has “served Christ with faithfulness and excellence in Richmond, among Virginia Baptists and around the world.”

“If elected I will do my best to continue its traditions and mission,” he said.

A former pastor, Clingenpeel in May 1992 became ninth editor of the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s official newspaper, which has about 20,000 subscribers and has been published since 1828.

The BGAV claims 1,436 churches. A competing Baptist state convention, the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, formed in 1996 and counts more than 400 churches that are either singly or dually aligned.

If elected Clingenpeel would become fifth pastor of River Road, which was founded in 1945. The church is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the BGAV and Richmond Baptist Association.

Former pastor James Slatton served at River Road 30 years before retiring early in 2003 and now holds the title of pastor emeritus. Cecil Sherman, retired coordinator of the Atlanta-based CBF, has been interim pastor.

Clingenpeel said he experienced the anticipated move as “a divine call to return to local church ministry and not a rejection of the role of a free and responsible press among Baptists.”

“A free press is a primary guardian of our Baptist way of doing things, and I have confidence that the Religious Herald will continue to enhance the work of the Baptist General Association of Virginia as it has since 1828,” he said.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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