The official announcement of Ramsey's background and hiring in a recent Baptist Press article can be read here.
As background, according to the State Convention's Constitution, the task fell to the Administrative Committee to appoint an Interim state exec, and a search committee to seek out a candidate to be Dr. Henard's replacement. The Administrative Committee met at the end of July to begin the work. Cledith Campbell, pastor of Altizer Baptist Church in Huntington was appointed to serve as the Interim State Executive Director. Cledith is a godly man of integrity and goodwill. He is an exceptional undershepherd to his flock. He is well respected by his peers, locally and around the state. He has been pastor at Altizer for 46 years and has worked with every State Convention Executive Director in its 49 year history. Cledith did an excellent job as our interim, providing a smooth transition for our new Director.
The Admin Committee recommended 15 people to the Executive Board to serve as a Search Committee to seek out, and make recommendation to the Executive Board, a qualified candidate to serve as State Executive Director. The Search Committee is mandated to be comprised of a Pastor from each Association in the State Convention "and other persons as shall give representation to various areas and interests" of the WVCSB, and "shall be knowledgeable of the Executive Board and the State Convention". The Admin Committee nominated the following individuals who consist of Pastors, a Youth Pastor, Association Directors of Missions, and a Pastor's wife who has previously served on the Executive Board, and who has been very active in State Convention activities in the past.
The Executive Board approved each of the following individuals, with no dissenting votes. Six members of the original Search Committee were the members of the Administration Committee, and two of them, Dallas Smith and Paul Harris later resigned from the committee. The following is a list of the final roster of the Search Committee, approved by the State Executive Board:
At our first Committee meeting in Flatwoods, I was elected chairman of this group. Ed Goodman, DOM of Upper Ohio Valley Association was elected Vice Chair, and Jim Messenger served as our Secretary. I was humbled by their confidence and I considered it an honor to serve our State Convention in this way. For the purposes of this blog, I just want to say thank you to this lady and the other gentlemen who served faithfully on this committee. It was not an easy task and it required a good bit of time and travel to serve.
Having worked closely with this group, I want to assure the Southern Baptists in West Virginia that they were well represented in the Search Process. Each member prayerfully approached this task with no personal agendas. There were no pre-concieved favorite candidates brought to the table. We met seven times (six in person and one by conference call) and considered 19 resumes received via email through a system set up by our State Convention Communications Director, Cleve Persinger. We appreciate Cleve's valuable assistance in this task. The Committee considered each resume carefully. We had a number of excellent candidates and it was difficult to narrow them down to six "semi finalists". We interviewed what we deemed to be our top four and then came to the difficult task of selecting one candidate for recommendation to the Executive Board. Eric Ramsey was selected by an 80% vote of our committee and he graciously accepted our recommendation.
I am thankful that the Executive Committee voted to call Eric and I am truly excited to have Eric and his lovely wife, Gaye coming to join us here in the Mountain State. He needs our support, as challenges lie ahead for him. He is up to the challenges, and knows that "With God, all things are possible". I hope each pastor and every Southern Baptist in West Virginia will pray for and support Eric in his work of helping to lead us in accomplishing the Great Commission - starting here in "Wild and Wonderful" West Virginia, and reaching around the globe.
In my next post to "For What It's Worth" I will share what I believe were several positive lessons we learned during this search process.