The story below is posted courtesy of Georgia's Christian Index and written in full by Managing Editor, Joe Westbury. Our dear brother Ray Newman, a Georgia Baptist icon passed away to be with his God and ours on Monday morning, November 25, 2013. Only recently did Georgia Baptists honor him at the annual Georgia Baptist Convention for the service he rendered for our Lord through the local church and both state and national convention assignments. Mr. Westbury's article nicely captures and summarizes Brother Ray's gospel ministry as a lifelong Southern Baptist. Southern Baptists everywhere will miss him.
H. Ray Newman, Georgia Baptist statesman, dies Nov. 25
By Joe Westbury, Managing Editor*
WINDER — H. Ray Newman, 69, longtime Georgia Baptist pastor, state missionary, and statesman, passed away around 4 a.m. on Nov. 25 at his home.
Newman had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor barely six weeks ago. He had retired from the state convention in 2010 but was serving as pastor of Macedonia Community Baptist Church in Braselton.
He had been honored on Nov. 11 during the 192nd annual session of the state convention meeting and, two days later, at a ceremony in Cleveland where the Truett-McConnell Lecture Series was named in his honor.
Services to be held Wednesday
Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Smith Funeral Home in Winder. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 27 at Union Baptist Church of Winder, followed by a graveside service at 4 p.m. that afternoon at Lakeview Memory Gardens in his native Phenix City, AL.
GBC Executive Director J. Robert White described Newman as “a dear friend and a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. It was a great personal joy to be joined with Ray in ministry across many years.
“His influence ‘under the Gold Dome,’ as he would often refer to the General Assembly, was very significant. Georgia Baptists and other followers of Christ throughout Georgia will greatly miss Ray's forthright leadership in matters of concern related to public affairs and the general overall spiritual environment of Georgia and our country as a whole.
Kelly Hopkins/GBC Communications: Newman was honored for outstanding service to the Kingdom on Nov. 11 at the annual state convention meeting. See additional information on the recognition in the Nov. 28 wrap-up of the meeting in the print edition of The Index.
“Ray filled a valuable role in Southern Baptist's work through the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville. He was very effective in keeping up with legislation that had national impact and on many occasions alerted Georgia Baptists about issues of concern for all of us.
“His leadership among us has been an outstanding example of what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ.”
Newman, who was born on Sept. 18, 1944, was a graduate of Columbus State University with a bachelor of science degree and Southwestern Seminary with a master of divinity degree.
Pastor of six churches,
state missionary for 21 years
He pastored six churches – Pittsview Baptist Church, Pittsview, AL; Shady Woods Baptist Church, Phenix City, AL; Norris Road Baptist Church and Chase Memorial Baptist Church, both in Columbus; Forrest Park Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, TX; and Liberty Baptist Church, Columbus, GA – for more than 26 years before joining the staff of the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1990. He served as a state missionary for 21 years.
He had preached in more than 850 Georgia Baptist churches in every county, as well as in 30 states and several countries. He also served as adjunct professor in church administration at Luther Rice Seminary.
Newman began as an associate in the GBC Sunday School Department, then for a decade provided leadership for the Brotherhood Department, which was later renamed Men’s Ministries. From 2001 until 2006 he oversaw all of the Convention’s meeting planning and promotion for its conference centers in Toccoa and Norman Park.
From 2006 until his retirement in 2010 he distinguished himself as the Convention’s primary spokesman for its Ethics and Public Affairs office. In that role he became an influential figure with legislators in the state capitol.
Truett-McConnell College: Newman is flanked by his wife of 48 years, Gwen, and son Rusty, during the naming of the Ray Newman Lecture Series at Truett-McConnell College on Nov. 14. See coverage of the ceremony in the Nov. 28 print edition of The Index.
Upon retirement Newman continued part time as the GBC lobbyist at the Georgia General Assembly. At the time of his death he was serving as a trustee for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, TN, and Washington, DC.
He had served on the GBC Executive and Administration Committee as a member of the Nominating Committee. In addition to his fulltime pastorates he had served as interim pastor in 16 churches in Georgia and Alabama.
In April 2011 Newman celebrated 50 years in the gospel ministry. In 2012 he was elected second vice president of the state convention.
Noted author, columnist, blogger
He published two books and served as columnist for the Dacula Patch and Barrow Patch, and for The Christian Index. Newman also wrote two blogs with Biblical Ethics and Religious Liberty.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Gwen; one son, Rusty, who pastors Walnut Fork Baptist Church in Hoschton; and four grandchildren.
Memorials can be made to the Ray Newman Lecture Series at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, which was established in his honor on Nov. 14. Condolences can be sent to the family at 625 Wellington Dr., Winder, GA 30680.
Truett-McConnell College: GBC State Missionary Glen McCall, in red tie, who was mentored by Newman; pastor and longtime friend Tommy Fountain, center; and Truett-McConnell President Emir Caner, kneeling, lay hands on Newman in a prayer circle during the Nov. 14 naming ceremony at the Cleveland college.[See an excellent article on Truett-McConnell establishing "The Ethics and Religious Liberty Lectures" in honor of Ray Newman by Norm Miller, Director of Communications at TMC.]
*the article was written by Joe Westbury and originally published in its entirety on November 25, 2013 by The Christian Index, the denominational state paper of the Georgia Baptist Convention, Gerald Harris, Editor, Joe Westbury, Managing Editor. Used by permission. We are grateful to Dr. Harris who allows us to periodicly post important articles from The Index to reach a wider readership since there are subscription fees in place for the full content. I encourage anyone who wants to keep up with Southern Baptist life in one of Southern Baptists' most populated and influential conventions to consider subscribing to The Christian Index.