Executive Board seeks balance with Pathway
Hopeful action will put to rest battle
over editorial control of the newspaper
JEFFERSON CITY – The Pathway will continue to be free to report Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) news without executive director oversight and the MBC Executive Board retains the sole authority to hire and fire the state newspaper editor.
The editor will return to being under the administrative supervision of the executive director, however, the day-to-day operations of the news journal and its staff will remain under the supervision of the editor.
That is the result of an administrative committee recommendation that was overwhelmingly passed by the Executive Board July 10. The recommendation comes after a three-month evaluation of The Pathway ministry and Editor Don Hinkle’s performance. The evaluation was initiated after the Investigative Committee, that recommended the termination of former Executive Director David Clippard, referred allegations made against Hinkle to the administrative committee, noting that Matthew 18 had not been followed with many of the allegations and that Hinkle had not been given a chance to defend himself against the allegations.
The July 10 action by the Executive Board is an effort to end five years of controversy over who will have editorial control of the Convention’s official news journal.
The Pathway, in June 2002, was originally placed under the direction of the Executive Board after it was created as a theologically conservative alternative to Word & Way. The Pathway in 2003 was placed under the control of the executive director. The Executive Board voted, 23-21, to return control of The Pathway to the Executive Board in April 2006 and reaffirmed that it is a “news journal“ and not a newsletter. That move intensified the controversy between those who wanted the paper controlled by the executive director and those who wanted it to be a more prophetic voice and free to report the news.
The evaluation was conducted by the Executive Board’s administrative committee and The Pathway Work Group, a subcommittee of the Executive Board’s communications and development committee. The administrative committee spent 274 man-hours and interviewed 31 people in completing the evaluation. The history of The Pathway and Hinkle’s relationships with Clippard, The Pathway Workgroup, the Executive Board, The Pathway staff, the MBC staff and Project 1000 Leader Roger Moran were among the areas examined.
After the report was approved by the Executive Board, Michael Knight, pastor, First Baptist Church, Viburnum, offered the following resolution that was overwhelmingly passed by the Board:
“In celebration of the fifth anniversary of The Pathway, the Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board in its July 2007 meeting rejoices in this official, award-winning news journal, and we heartily commend its effective editor and hard-working staff.”