RALEIGH, N.C. (ABP) – North Carolina Baptists have chosen a pastor as editor of their state newspaper.
The Biblical Recorder reported April 24 on the April 18 election of Allan Blume, pastor of Mount Vernon
Baptist Church in Boone, N.C., as the newspaper’s editor and president. Blume announced the decision to his congregation during two Sunday morning services. His last sermon is May 15, his final Sunday May 22 and his first day as editor May 25.
Blume succeeds Norman Jameson, who resigned Oct. 21 to save the news journal from a floor fight over an anticipated move to defund its budget at the state convention’s annual meeting in November. Jameson, a Baptist journalist for 34 years, now writes as a freelancer, and one of his jobs is a contract assignment for news writing and special projects for Associated Baptist Press.
Blume has served in elected leadership positions at both the state and national denominational level. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and has been appointed to serve on the SBC Resolutions Committee this summer. Due to SBC bylaw requirements, he must now resign both positions.
Jameson said in October that no one fired him or asked him to resign, but he decided to resign after a director of missions wrote board members warning if they did not remove Jameson as editor then there would be a motion from the floor to amend the budget to defund the newspaper.
The letter said Jameson’s publishing of unpopular stories indicated that he “does not know the mindset of this predominantly biblically conservative state.”
The directors of Associated Baptist Press happened to be meeting when word of Jameson’s resignation began to spread. They responded with a resolution describing Jameson’s ministry as “marked by the utmost integrity and highest standards of journalistic excellence.”
In November one member of the Recorder’s board resigned, attributing Jameson’s resignation to “pressure from a few who do not want any diversity in our congregations” and signaling it as an end to press freedom in North Carolina Baptist life.
Blume said in an interview with the Biblical Recorder that he views the journal as a “central convergence” for various voices of Baptists to come together. He said others tell him his administrative and leadership abilities will serve his new job well.
Blume said he didn’t want the Recorder to get caught “in the world of the negative” but rather to move ahead. He pledged not to “rewrite history” but said his goal would be for the Biblical Recorder to “live up to its name” and be biblical in theology, practice and conduct, including integrity and civility.
Gerald Hodges, chair of the Recorder’s board of directors, said he received 18 resumes from qualified candidates and chose Blume from three finalists interviewed in March. Hodge’s said during Blume and his wife’s time with the board “I think it was clear to all of us hat God had long been at work in many ways preparing them for this task.”
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press. This story includes reporting from Diana Cagle, assistant managing editor for the Biblical Recorder.