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H. Ray Newman, Georgia Baptist statesman, dies


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.

Ray Newman

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.

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.”

Newman was a graduate of Columbus State University with a bachelor of science degree and Southwestern Seminary with a master of divinity degree.

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.

Upon retirement Newman continued part time as the GBC lobbyist at the Georgia General Assembly.

He published two books and served as columnist for the Dacula Patch and Barrow Patch as well as 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.