April 17, 2007

Christianity Today International, the publisher of evangelical magazines and online periodicals, has named a new editor-in-chief. Harold B. Smith, the publishing company’s former executive vice president, has succeeded the leadership team of Harold Myra and Paul D. Robbins. Myra, most recently executive chair and CEO, and Robbins, the former president and publisher, retired after three decades with CTI. Smith first joined the company as a special projects editor for Christianity Today magazine in 1984. He started his new post March 1. CTI publishes 13 print magazines, operates a Web site and produces dozens of electronic newsletters.

Neville Callam, a Jamaican pastor and theologian, has been nominated to succeed Denton Lotz as general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Callam served the Virginia-based umbrella alliance as vice president from 2000 to 2005. A Harvard graduate and author of five books, he has also been on numerous BWA committees over the years. In Jamaica, he was active in radio and television broadcasting and taught theology in Caribbean colleges and seminaries. The BWA General Council will elect a general secretary at its July meeting in Accra, Ghana. Lotz retires in December.

Gilbert E. Patterson, 67, the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, a predominantly black Pentecostal denomination, died March 20 of heart failure. He was in his second term as presiding bishop of the Memphis-based denomination and was pastor in the same city of the 12,000-member Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ. “The entire church and world mourns the loss of our leader,” said Los Angeles bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. Blake will serve as interim presiding bishop until COGIC’s convention next year or until a special election is held. Patterson prayed at President Bush’s inaugural prayer service in 2005 and supported his faith-based initiative, but also criticized the Bush administration’s plans for the Iraq war and declared that he was “not recruiting African-Americans for the GOP.”