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‘Adopt-a-Faculty-Member’ joins SEBTS, NOBTS seminaries

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern College at Wake Forest professor Logan Carson knows the power of having fellow believers pray for him in the midst of a crisis.

Two years ago, when Carson lost his wife, Glenwood, friends from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his church were diligent to lift him before the Lord.

That’s one reason why Carson, an avid prayer warrior, was eager to enlist his support as soon as he heard about a new program recently launched by administrators at Southeastern Seminary to minister to members of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, some of whom lost homes and almost all of their belongings to Hurricane Katrina.

The effort, known as the “Adopt-a-Faculty-Member” program, pairs up a NOBTS professor with one from Southeastern. Southeastern faculty members will send their New Orleans counterparts handwritten notes and e-mails of encouragement over the course of the next year, pray for them daily and support them in any other way they may choose.

The idea is part of Southeastern’s Operation G.R.A.C.E. initiative, instituted by President Daniel Akin as a comprehensive plan to aid not only its sister seminary in New Orleans but the entire Gulf Coast region that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

When Akin announced the program in a Southeastern faculty meeting, Carson was all for it.

“When I heard about (the program), the first thing I said was, ‘Let’s do it. Give me two (names),’” said Carson, who has already sent two prayer e-mails to one of his adopted NOBTS professors and received grateful responses. “It’s because I love to pray. It’s a joy. I get such anticipation out of talking with the Lord. The reason I do this is because I love to communicate with the Lord. I love to take other people’s problems to the Lord, and I love to see the results.”

Akin said that the new “Adopt-a-Faculty-Member” program is the perfect way for Southeastern professors to express their support for their colleagues in New Orleans.

“Southeastern has a special relationship with all of her sister seminaries,” Akin said. “When one hurts, we all hurt. To have the opportunity to reach out in a personal way and express our love and concern is actually our privilege. Anything we can do at this time to encourage the wonderful faculty of New Orleans Seminary is our honor, and it lets them know we are behind them and beside them 100 percent during these challenging days.”

Southeastern faculty members received an e-mail from Waylan Owens, Southeastern Seminary’s vice president for planning and communication, listing the names and positions of all the New Orleans Seminary faculty members from which to select one or more members to support.

According to Owens, the response by the members of the Southeastern faculty was immediate and overwhelming.

“Our faculty has been excited and thrilled,” Owens said. “We have received nothing but positive thank-yous. I have had virtually the entire faculty respond in almost a single day to claim names. I do not know of any faculty member who knows about (the program), who is in town, who hasn’t claimed names. And many of them claimed names within mere minutes of finding out what was going on.

“… There have been some on the faculty who have claimed multiple people. It has been overwhelming.”

Owens reflected on the devastation that members of the NOBTS faculty have experienced, adding that it is hard for anyone who has never been through a similar situation to appreciate fully what they have endured.

“There has been a tremendous upheaval in the lives of the faculty at New Orleans,” said Owens, himself a New Orleans Seminary graduate. “It has been terrible for them. Some have lost all of their family videos and pictures –- things that can’t be retrieved –- and personal belongings.

“The way I describe it to somebody is, ‘It’s like a house fire.’ Except when you have a house fire, you go to church and you go to your friends, and they console you and love you and lift you up and take care of you. Except the problem is here, everybody had a ‘house fire.’ The whole city ‘burned down.’ There’s nobody to turn to, to care for you. And so it’s been devastating, and we just think that the natural relationships between people who have the same mission and the same calling would build bonds of support that perhaps couldn’t be built other ways.”

Owens said that his prayer for the partnership is that as a result of it, professors from both Southeastern and New Orleans seminaries will walk more closely with the Lord.

“I think God is working on (the New Orleans professors) and is doing some powerful things in their lives,” Owens said. “And I think by our engaging them, identifying with them, supporting them and knowing them, it will have a spiritual impact on us as well. I hope to provide genuine support, and I hope there comes a time in the future that there is a bond and connectedness that develops … That can prove nothing but beneficial in the long haul for the kingdom and for the (Southern Baptist) Convention. However, my first goal is just to provide some support, encouragement and love for people who are really suffering.”

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  • Kyle Smith