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6 faculty members added to NOBTS faculty

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Trustees at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary elected six professors to the faculty, promoted three faculty members and granted tenure to four professors during their meeting April 12.

Benjamin Harlan, who served on the NOBTS faculty from 1989-95, was elected as professor of church music. He served at the seminary under presidential appointment during the 2005-06 school year.

A respected composer/arranger and experienced music minister, Harlan served as dean of the school of church music and music professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, from 1995-2005. Harlan also has served as a church minister and his choral, keyboard and handbell works have been released by several major music publishers.

“Adding Dr. Harlan enhances what we believe is one of the best church music programs in the country,” NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke said. “He is one of the most prolific composers in the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a respected musician under whom students from all over the nation will want to come and study.”

Lemke said Harlan’s church experience meshes well with the strong connection that the existing faculty members have with local church music ministry, most of whom also serve on church staffs as ministers of music.

Harlan, a Louisiana native, earned bachelor of music and master of music degrees at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the doctor of musical arts at Southwestern.

Preston Nix, appointed to the faculty by NOBTS President Chuck Kelley just weeks before Hurricane Katrina, was elected to serve as associate professor of preaching and evangelism. Nix also oversees the seminary’s supervised ministry program.

In ministry since 1975, Nix has served in youth ministry and as a campus evangelism coordinator and a senior pastor. He came to NOBTS after 11 years as senior pastor at Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa, Okla.

“Dr. Nix has served effectively as a pastor of growing churches,” Lemke said. “Our students will profit from his rich ministry experience.”

Nix earned a bachelor of arts at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees at Southwestern.

During the seminary displacement due to Hurricane Katrina, Nix worked tirelessly to develop supervised ministry opportunities throughout the country. He currently is working with Ken Taylor, professor of urban missions at the seminary, developing a plan to involve NOBTS students, faculty and staff in the city’s rebuilding process.

Trustees elected Trish Hawley as assistant professor of women’s ministry. She also serves as women’s ministry coordinator for the dean of students office.

Hawley came to New Orleans Seminary in 2004 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. At Southern, Hawley coordinated the work of FOCUS, the student organization for women’s ministry.

Hawley earned a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and a master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. She recently completed a doctor of philosophy degree at Southern Seminary.

“We see women’s ministry emerging the way youth ministry did about 30 years ago,” Lemke said. “It started with volunteer ministry and has gradually moved toward a professional ministry. Trish Hawley will enhance the theological and biblical foundations of our graduate women’s ministry program.”

The board elected three extension center directors, David Lema Jr., John Robson and Johnny Bley to the ministry-based faculty at Leavell College. Each will hold the title of associate professor of Christian ministry –- ministry-based faculty.

The ministry-based faculty category is designed for instructors who serve in other ministries to bring their practical experience into the classroom. These trustee-elected non-tenure track professors provide instruction for focused disciplines or delivery systems.

“Dr. Robson and Dr. Bley have served selflessly teaching in our nationally acclaimed undergraduate programs at Angola and Parchman prisons. These students deeply appreciate the sacrificial commitment of these men to teach them,” Lemke said. “Dr. Lema is an experienced church planter in Miami who has done a spectacular job in directing our south Florida extension center in Miami.”

Lema, a Cuban-born, third-generation minister, serves as director of NOBTS’ Center for the Americas. His fluency in both Spanish and English is a must at the seminary’s most diverse extension center.

After living for a while in Spain, Lema’s family moved to New Orleans. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of New Orleans and master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees at NOBTS.

Robson, Baton Rouge extension center director for a number of years, also serves as a chaplain and director of the seminary’s undergraduate program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Robson has 34 years of Christian ministry experience. For 27 years he pastored churches in Kentucky, Georgia and Louisiana.

A Louisiana native, Robson earned his undergraduate degree at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. He received a master of divinity degree at Southern Seminary and a doctor of ministry from NOBTS.

Bley, a former adjunct professor with the Angola Prison education program, is working to create a program like the one at Angola in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Bley also serves as pastor of Cherry Street Baptist Church in Clarksdale, Miss.

Bley, who earned master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from NOBTS, has 16 years of pastoral experience serving churches in Mississippi and Louisiana. From 1995-2003 he served as an adjunct professor at Angola.

Seminary President Chuck Kelley also announced the appointment of Jerry Garrard to the NOBTS faculty. He will serve as associate professor of evangelism and church growth and special assistant to the president. In his role as special assistant to the president, Garrard will help with student enlistment and will speak at churches across the convention.

Garrard, who has 29 years of ministry experience, comes to NOBTS after serving 20 years as the pastor of Celebration Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla. -– a church he founded.

A former trustee at NOBTS, Garrard has served on numerous denominational and state convention committees, and in 1998 he was president of the Florida Baptist Convention.

Garrard graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., and earned a master of divinity degree and a doctor of ministry degree at NOBTS.

Trustees also voted to suspend the faculty sabbatical program for one year. The program will resume during the 2007-08 school year.

Trustees approved the following rank promotions:

— Steven F. Echols, from associate professor to professor of leadership.

— Kenneth J. Gabrielse, from associate professor to professor of church music.

— Margie Williamson, from assistant professor to associate professor of Christian education.

The board granted tenure to the following faculty members:

— William H. Day, associate professor of evangelism and church growth and associate director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth, occupying the Gurney Chair of Evangelism.

— Archie W. England, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and director of the Baptist College Partnership Program.

— David F. Meacham, associate professor of evangelism and director of the Leavell Center, occupying the Leavell Chair of Evangelism.

— Margie Williamson, assistant professor of Christian education.

Kelley also announced the following appointments:

— David Meacham was named the chair of the division of pastoral ministry and director of the communications center.

— Joel B. Sherrer was named the chair of the division of Christian education.

— Preston L. Nix will occupy the J.D. Grey Chair of Preaching.

— Benjamin L. Harlan will occupy the Lallage Feazell Chair of Worship and Praise.

— Jimmy W. Dukes was named associate provost.

— Charles E. Harvey Jr. was named professor of Christian education – ministry-based faculty.