Baptist Heritage Award

Baptist Heritage Award

Since 1997 the Florida Baptist Historical Society has conferred the Baptist Heritage Award upon persons who have exhibited rare and unusual dedication to the cause of Florida Southern Baptist history and also have made a significant impact through such means as writing Baptist history, teaching Baptist history, and/or promoting the importance of Florida Southern Baptist history. The following individuals have been so honored.

1997-Earl Joiner
1998-Adolph Bedsole
1999-Joe Bamberg
2000-Ruth Bagwell
2001-John Hillhouse
2002-Martha Trotter
2003-Wiley Richards
2004-E. B. Browning, Sr.
2005-E. H. Rennolds, Sr.
2006-Harry Crawford Garwood
2007-Pope Duncan
2008-John Leonidas Rosser
2009-Doak Campbell
2010-Judith Jolly
2011-Jack Dalton
2012-James C. Bryant
2013-David Elder
2014-Mark Rathel
2015 No recipient
2016-David Lema and Roger Richards
2017-Jerry M. Windsor
2018-Sid Smith
2019-Thomas Kinchen


2019 Baptist Heritage Award Recipient: Dr. Thomas Kinchen

Dr. Thomas Kinchen, as president of The Baptist College of Florida, readily offered to accept stewardship of the Florida Baptist Historical Collection which had been surrendered by Stetson University in the late-1990s. The collection, which at the time, contained nearly 1000 volumes of unique publications on Florida Baptist church histories and other significant volumes related to Southern Baptist history, was added to the library collection of The Baptist College of Florida. Additionally, Dr. Kinchen made provision on the college campus to accommodate at no cost the offices of the Florida Baptist Historical Society for nearly two decades between 1998 and 2017. In a rare effort to retain and restore historically significant Baptist church buildings, Dr. Kinchen conceived and led the college board of trustees to approve the establishment of the Heritage Village on the college campus. The Heritage Village is comprised of an eight-acre site on the northeast corner of the college property. The Village features mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century wood frame structures consisting of three churches, a school building, a WPA-constructed community center and five former residences. All the structures were removed from their original locations in the Florida Panhandle and South Georgia and transported to the Village. Once re-located the buildings were renovated to provide modern electrical and plumbing services and were restored to retain the integrity of the building’s original architectural design and construction. Dr. Kinchen has served as college president since 1990, when the school was still known as the Florida Baptist Theological College. He came to the Graceville school from the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists where he served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer from 1986. He previously served as a pastor of churches in Georgia and Louisiana. Dr. Kinchen also served several academic-administrative positions on the staff of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary prior to going to West Virginia. The Thomasville, Georgia, native graduated from the Georgia Southern College with a B.A. degree, and the University of Georgia, with a Master of Education degree. He later attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary earning a Master of Divinity degree and the Doctor of Education degree. . [For full article see LEGACY newsletter October, 2019.]