Transition is a very familiar word in our day. Almost everything, it seems, is in transition. Checking my computer Thesaurus, the first word that appears as a synonym for “transition” is change. In many instances the word transition does not signify improvement-it simply means things are moving, switching, altering, modifying, etc. You get my drift.

Transition usually stirs both negative and positive emotions. For example, when a child graduates from college, there is rejoicing because the parents will no longer suffer “maltuition.” However, they realize this means a new era in their relationship that may include even more separation. When a child gets married, the parents’ feeling is much the same. When someone gets a new job, friends are happy for them, but don’t want them to leave. One transition usually triggers others.

I am experiencing many of those contradictory feelings as I announce to you that Ray E. Sanders, executive editor of the Baptist Messenger and Communications Team leader, has given me his resignation. He will be leaving us to join the company Giant Leaders. Ray has served the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma with excellence for the last 10 years. He has facilitated the development of a fledgling public relations department into a tremendously effective, full Communications Team.

Ray has demonstrated many strengths over these years. I have personally valued his creative genius, dynamic energy and keen insight. He has a tremendous relationship with the media outlets across Oklahoma, and has helped the BGCO and our churches get in front of the public state wide. Ray has guided us through many media buys and evangelistic efforts in the media. He was a prime contributor to multiple major events such as the Falls Creek Reunion, BGCO’s 100th anniversary and the tabernacle opening. He has been a consistent and strong voice during battles for the moral consciousness of our state. He was a point person in many issues such as abortion and gambling.

You, as readers of the Messenger, have known Ray best for his innovative and creative work in bringing both a new design and new content to the Messenger. You have enjoyed his editorials as well as his personal column. We will miss his humorous look at life and his strong word about family. Behind the scenes, Ray has developed a strategic plan for the future of the Messenger and set in motion many cost-cutting processes.

I will forever be personally indebted to Ray for mentoring me in public relations and developing my sensitivity to issues related to telling the story of Jesus to a lost world and communicating the work of the BGCO. We are a stronger and more effective organization for his having invested in us the last 10 years.

Ray will be missed by Oklahoma Baptists. I will miss him as a colleague and friend. We wish him the best and God’s blessing upon his life and ministry.