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6 faculty members elected for New Orleans Seminary


NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees elected six faculty members during their Oct. 10-11 fall meeting, with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including pastoral ministry, Christian education, church history, theology, archeology and education technology.

“Born and raised in different regions in the country, trained to master a variety of academic disciplines in a diversity of schools, the faculty of 2000 share a common vision of raising up a new generation of leaders to help churches learn to grow again, said Chuck Kelley, NOBTS president. “I am thrilled to bring in professors who combine such knowledge, skills and passion to use in training our students.”

The seminary added two faculty members, Dan Parker and Margie Williamson, to its North Georgia campus near Atlanta, Georgia. “The addition of these two experienced teachers to our two other trustee-elected faculty members at our North Georgia campus underscores our commitment to extension center education,” said Steve Lemke, NOBTS provost. “We want our students who attend seminary at one of our extension centers to receive the same quality of education that they would receive at the New Orleans campus.”

Lemke continued, “At NOBTS, our extension centers are not merely a sidelight. It is a crucial delivery system to make theological education accessible to students where they live, so that they can help their churches learn to grow again.”

W. Dan Parker of Stone Mountain, Ga., was elected associate professor of pastoral ministry and director of the undergraduate extension center system, after serving as adjunct professor at the NOBTS extension center in Decatur, Ga., the past 20 years.

Currently serving as pastor of First Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Parker has served as pastor for more than 40 years across North Carolina and Georgia, including his most recent pastorates at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., from 1968-75, Sylvan Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta from 1975-79 and Fortified Hills Baptist Church, Smyrna, Ga., from 1979-91.

Also, Parker has served extensively in denominational work, including various positions in the Atlanta-area Noonday Baptist Association (chairman of trustees, resolutions and budget committees), Georgia Baptist Convention (resolutions and nominations committees), among others. He also served eight years as a trustee on the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns and has worked with other Christian civic organizations including the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, prayer chapel chaplaincy program at Hartsfield International Airport, the mayor’s religious advisory committee, and consultant and speaker for the “We care in Georgia” (an affiliate of American Family Association) program.

Parker has also preached in evangelistic crusades, including the Whispering Pines Association in Idaho, in New Brunswick, Canada, and in India. He has also led six mission trips to Belarus in the former Soviet Union, planting two new churches.

Parker earned his bachelor of arts degree from Baylor University, Waco, Texas, in 1960 and his master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., in 1963. Having also attended Central State Hospital in clinical pastoral education in 1973, Parker earned his doctor of ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1979. He and his wife of 41 years, the former Jean Rainwater, have four adult children, Tim, Chris, Dana and Rance.

“Dan Parker brings many years of pastoral experience, as well as teaching experience, to our faculty,” said Jimmy Dukes, dean of the NOBTS extension center system and director of the North Georgia campus. “I am thankful to have him as a part of our team.”

Margaret “Margie” Williamson, of Conyers, Ga., was elected instructor of Christian education and will continue to serve as associate director of the NOBTS extension center system. She has served for the past four years at the North Georgia campus as director of academic counseling. While her former responsibilities included academic advisement, registration, orientation, student services, recruitment and teaching, Williamson will now be responsible for scheduling and coordinating the work of all of the seminary’s extension centers.

Williamson has served as an adjunct faculty member in Christian education since 1992, teaching courses such as Teaching Methods, Conflict Management, Human Development, Foundations of Christian Education and Integrating Academics and Ministry. From 1994-96, Williamson was minister of youth at First Baptist Church, Lithonia, Ga., after serving as a growth strategist for the Atlanta Baptist Association from 1992-94. She has also served as a conference leader throughout the United States since 1983 in the areas of youth and adults, and as a curriculum writer for LifeWay Christian Resources since 1983, for which she wrote the 1994 Youth Sunday School Handbook.

Williamson earned her bachelor of arts degree in social work from the University of Georgia in Athens in 1974 and her master of arts in Christian education from NOBTS in 1992. She is anticipating graduating this December with her doctor of philosophy degree in Christian education, also from NOBTS. She and her husband, Bob, have two children, Scott and Jenna.

“Margie Williamson is one of the best organizers I know,” Dukes said. “She has already made a tremendous contribution in the lives of our extension center students through her teaching. I am happy to welcome her to our faculty.”

Two other full-time faculty members were elected by trustees for the New Orleans campus, Lloyd A. Harsch and Steve Ortiz.

Harsch, originally from Grand Forks, N.D., who was elected assistant professor of church history, completed both the bachelor of arts degree in languages (French and German) and the bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 1983. He also completed both his master of divinity degree in biblical languages and doctor of philosophy degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1986 and 1999, respectively.

As a teaching fellow at SWBTS, Harsch taught Baptist History, Beginning and Intermediate Theological French and Beginning and Intermediate Theological German. He also served as adjunct professor at Butler County Community College in Marion, Kan., and Dallas Baptist University. In addition, he served as production manager for Fides et Historia, the journal of the Conference on Faith and History, as well as a variety of ministerial positions in Texas, Kansas and North Dakota churches. He and his wife, Jill, have one son, Chris.

“In Lloyd Harsch, we have not only an imminently qualified church historian, but also an excellent linguist and educational technology specialist. He has a gift for bringing church history alive to the students,” Lemke said. “He will make contributions in many areas of seminary life.”

Ortiz, of Tuscon, Ariz., elected assistant professor of archaeology, has been active in the discipline of field archaeology for 17 years (13 years in a supervisory or staff position) at the Tel Zeitah, Tel Migne-Ekron, Gezer, Ketef Hinnom, Tell el-Hamma, Lachish and Tell Dor sites. He currently serves as field archaeologist for the Tel Zeitah excavation project and has served as a senior staff member of the Tel Miqne-Ekron excavation and publication project since 1988. He also served as researcher for the Arizona State Museum from 1996-98. Ortiz’ main research focus is the Iron Age in southern Levant. He specializes in the use of archaeological method and theory in the interpretation of the past, and specifically how this enterprise can illuminate and reconstruct history, particularly in reference to ancient Israel and the Bible.

Ortiz completed his bachelor of arts degree in both anthropology and sociology from California State University in Los Angeles in 1985. He received his master of arts degree in Bible history from Jerusalem University College (formerly called the Institute of Holy Land Studies) in 1989, and both his master of arts degree in Near Eastern archaeology and biblical studies and doctor of philosophy degree in Near Eastern archaeology from the University of Arizona in 1994 and 2000, respectively. He and his wife, Beth, have two young children, Elizabeth and Nathaniel.

“We believe that Dr. Ortiz has the potential to be a leading voice in biblical archeology in defense of the truthfulness of Scripture,” Lemke said. “He has incredible credentials in the field of archeology, which he sees as his ministry for the Lord.”

Two others were elected by the trustees to administrative faculty positions, Kenneth Keathley and Laurie Story Watts.

Keathley was elected as dean of students and assistant professor of theology and philosophy. Formerly director of the doctor of ministry program and assistant professor of theology and philosophy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo., Keathley has also served a variety of pastoral positions, including churches in Missouri and Raleigh, N.C., bringing a pastor’s heart to the dean of students position.

Keathley received both his doctor of philosophy and master of divinity degrees from Southeastern Seminary in 2000 and 1995, respectively. He also earned a master of natural sciences degree in mathematics from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1993 and a bachelor of arts degree in Bible from Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1980. He and his wife, Penny, have two teenage children, Matthew and Allison.

“Dr. Keathley’s rich experience in mentoring students is a real asset to our seminary,” Lemke said. “He has served in a church whose membership included more than 100 seminary students, and he has personally mentored a number of students at both the master’s and doctoral level. He will serve as a pastor to our students. The bonus is that he is an outstanding thinker, teacher and communicator in the disciplines of theology and philosophy.”

Watts was elected assistant professor of education technology. She has served a variety of positions at New Orleans Seminary since 1985, including her present position as assistant to the vice president for business affairs for information technology services, an administrative support position designed to undergird faculty and staff in technological issues related to their teaching. She has also served as adjunct professor in the areas of Christian education and computer technology.

“As we continue our process of reinventing seminary, people with technology skills such as Dr. Watts will become more and more essential for quality theological education,” Lemke said. “We have already profited from her expertise, and her appointment to the faculty makes her even more valuable to our institution.”

Watts previously served as minister of children at Elysian Fields Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans from 1987-97. She has also served as consultant of collaborative programming on Logos Church Management Accounting System for Lowell Brown Enterprises in Los Angeles as well as various ministry positions in churches and conventions in Louisiana and Alabama. She earned the bachelor of arts degree in psychology and religion from Judson College, Marion, Ala., in 1984 and both the master of divinity and doctor of education degrees from New Orleans Seminary in 1988 and 1996, respectively. She and her husband, Stanley, who serves as NOBTS director of special services, have one child, Ryan.
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    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker
    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United. Read All by Shannon Baker ›