The retirement of a current staff member and a homecoming for a former staffer will mark a season of change for The Baptist Courier this spring.
Butch Blume, a 20-year employee of The Courier — and managing editor for the past 10 years — will retire in April. Todd Deaton, who served as managing editor for 13 years before leaving in 2009 to become editor of a sister state Baptist news publication, will return to The Courier in March.
Editor Rudy Gray said he anticipates a smooth transition as Deaton assumes his prior role.
“We are beyond delighted that Todd will again be joining The Courier family,” said Gray. “He is an accomplished Christian journalist, a successful editor and a South Carolina native who certainly knows South Carolina Baptists.
“As we sought a managing editor to replace Butch Blume, it became evident that God was leading us to Todd. As both of us prayed about this possibility, we recognized that God was at work in our hearts. It has been a smooth process characterized by unity, and we praise God for His guidance.”
Gray said Blume has “played such a key role in the production of the magazine, our web content, Courier Publishing and so many other aspects of this ministry.
“I have enjoyed working beside him for the past six years. Most of our readers probably do not know that he and I graduated from the same high school. (I was two years ahead of him.) I wish him the best as he enters a retirement phase of life. He has graciously agreed to help us in the future, if needed, with Courier Publishing, our book-publishing operation. We will miss him, but we are thankful for his integrity and faithfulness as our friend and coworker.”
Blume, who will turn 64 in May, said he is grateful for the opportunity to have served South Carolina Baptists for more than three decades, including a 14-year stint at Anderson College (now Anderson University) before joining the staff of The Courier.
“I am thankful to [former Courier editor] Don Kirkland and Rudy Gray for allowing me to play a supporting role at this longstanding, forward-leaning institution,” said Blume. “The greatest blessing for me has been working each day alongside people who have become family.
“When Todd was called to serve in Kentucky in 2009, I was privileged to fill his shoes. Now, with my departure and Todd sensing God’s call to return to his home state, it feels providential that the baton is passing back to him. He is a gifted writer and communicator, and, having worked with him for 10 years, I know Todd will serve The Courier with affection and distinction.”
Blume said his wife, Debbie, a public school music teacher, will also retire this spring. They plan to spend more time with their children and grandkids — that is, when they’re not camping by a lake in their travel trailer.
Deaton, who has been editor of the Western Recorder in Kentucky for the past 10 years, said he and his wife, Michelle, “have sensed for some time that God has been loosening our Kentucky ties in preparing us for new challenges in ministry.
“Little did we ever dream that we would be returning to serve the Baptists of my home state and to work with The Baptist Courier again. It is, indeed, a rare blessing to come home again, and I’m delighted that God is providing us with this opportunity to begin our ministry there anew. My wife and I also are looking forward to renewing great friendships among South Carolina Baptists.
“Butch Blume and Rudy Gray have made a fantastic team at The Baptist Courier, and together they’ve carried forward the journalistic ministry of The Courier.
“Butch, I know, will be greatly missed, but he’s to be commended for a job well done and a retirement well deserved. I’m honored to work with Rudy and to follow Butch’s exemplary model in serving South Carolina Baptists.”
Deaton, 55, a graduate of Furman University with a degree in English, holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of education degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.