Below is the full text of Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Director Emil Turner's retirement announcement made Aug. 2, 2012:
"In December of 1995 I was elected by the ABSC Executive Board to serve as the Executive Director. Today, August 2, 2012, I am announcing my intention to retire from this position.
"For almost 16 years, Mary and I have enjoyed the privilege of serving the Southern Baptist churches of Arkansas; we have enjoyed the kindness of the pastors and the tolerance of the church members; and have enjoyed the friendship of the other ABSC entity leaders. I have been the beneficiary of the competence and hard work of the ABSC staff members. We are grateful for each kindness shown us by these good people. But Mary and I have prayed about this decision, and have concluded that my most effective ministry service at this time will be found in some other capacity.
"We have been treated with grace and compassion by Arkansas Baptists and I will miss serving the churches as Executive Director. The constitution of the Executive Board requires that I serve until I am replaced, and it gives the Operating Committee the responsibility to find and recommend to you my replacement. I hope that the Operating Committee can find a replacement by the time of the December meeting of this board, but if not, I am prepared to serve until my replacement can be found and elected. And in the event of such occurring by the December board meeting, I have requested that I be allowed to continue until the end of February 2013 that I may effectively orient my replacement.
"Following Don Moore in this task was both easy and intimidating. It was easy because he was so universally loved and respected and this love and respect was conferred upon me. It was daunting because of his sterling character, pulpit skill, and leadership gifts. He left the convention in good shape and I hope that I have been a good steward of what I have received. We are not divided by any issue or controversy. Our staff count is lean, our operating expenses are low, and the respect enjoyed by our employees is great. We restructure regularly, and are in an excellent posture for the future.
"Pray for me and Mary as we prepare for new ministry opportunities. And pray for the Operating Committee of the Executive Board (Don Blackmore, chairman, Gary Hollingsworth, Gary Thomas, Greg Addison, Jason Noel, Ron Kirkland, Tom McCone, Delores Case and Jamey Staley) as they search for the next ABSC exec. And than you for the privilege of ministry."