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EDUCATION BRIEFS: Speaker series launched at Golden Gate Seminary

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., has launched a fall speaker series titled “Leading Pastors of the West” with an initial message from a California pastor.

“Why are you still here? Consider the alternative,” Walter Price, pastor of Fellowship in the Pass in Beaumont, Calif., said to students Sept. 4.

With Philippians 1:19-26 as his text, Price noted the Apostle Paul’s statement that “to die is gain,” and he explained that Paul was willing to remain “in the body” for the Philippians’ sake.

“Why do we need to live at all once we are saved? Why are we not taken up into heaven when we first become believers?” Price asked, adding that God gives believers more time in order to bring Him glory through their lives and to tell others about Him.

“We can harvest more fruit for God’s Kingdom and work for the ministry as we grow in our faith here on earth,” Price said.

A native of Mississippi, Price has been pastor of Fellowship of the Pass since 1984, and before that he earned two degrees from Mississippi College, a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry from Luther Rice Seminary. He is a trustee of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Also scheduled for Golden Gate’s pastor speaker series this fall are Keith Evans of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Ore., Sept. 18; Kevin White of First Baptist Church in Longview, Wash., Oct. 2; and Steve Davidson of Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis, Calif., Nov. 13.

SOUTHERN LAUNCHES URBAN MINISTRY CENTER — Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has launched a center to help reach people for Christ in urban areas.

Named after a prominent 20th-century Southern Baptist leader, the Wayne and LeAlice Dehoney Center for Urban Ministry will conduct Great Commission research on church growth in the city and provide training and resources for urban ministers.

“More than half of the world now lives in urban settings — including cities in North America to which much of the world has come,” Chuck Lawless, dean of Southern’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, said. “If the church does not invest in the cities, we will miss primary opportunities to touch the world. My prayer is that students will catch a vision for the city, go to the city and plant their lives there for the sake of the Gospel.”

Among the center’s main activities will be hosting conferences and offering continuing education for pastors. The center also plans to produce an online journal for urban ministry practitioners and scholars.

“We want to offer internships and training opportunities for students who want to serve in urban settings,” Lawless said. “Because Southern Seminary has extension center connections near Baltimore, New York, Boston, Cleveland and Chicago, we already have open doors to begin this process.”

Wayne Dehoney, the center’s namesake, pastored Louisville’s Walnut Street Baptist Church from 1967-85. In 1968 he ministered to people participating in race riots within two blocks of the church and urged his congregation to be compassionate and loving. Prior to his tenure at Walnut Street he served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.

“Through his leadership, Walnut Street Baptist stayed in the city when members and others were fleeing to the suburbs,” Lawless said of Dehoney. “He led the church to influence the urban community around the church. Mrs. Dehoney served alongside her husband for many years. The Dehoney family has graciously supported this center through their giving and prayers.”

George Martin, M. Theron Rankin Professor of Christian Missions, will serve as the center’s director and doctoral student Jeff Walters will be associate director.

“This decade, for the first time in human history, most of the world’s people live in urban settings,” Martin said. “With the same concern for the city exhibited in the lives and ministries of Wayne and LeAlice Dehoney, the Dehoney Center exists in order to provide resources and training for those who will minister in the cities and take the good news of the Gospel to them.”

UNION DEDICATES NEW HOUSING COMPLEX — Less than seven months after massive tornado damage forced the demolition of multiple student housing buildings, Union University dedicated 14 new residence life buildings in a special ceremony Sept. 12.

“Peace be to this new residential complex, and to all enter and abide here,” Union University President David S. Dockery said to start the ceremony.

Dockery thanked those who served as “God’s agents and instruments of grace and mercy” during the rebuilding process that began after a Feb. 5 tornado caused extensive destruction to the former Hurt and Watters residential complexes. Those two complexes were demolished in the days after the storm.

“It is hardly possible to thank everyone appropriately,” Dockery said. “We begin with 5,000 volunteers who came to help us. We begin with 6,500 donors who have given more than $16 million to help us in the recovery. For each and every one of those, we are thankful. For the amazing generosity of so many that continues to compound itself project after project, we offer our thanks to God.”

The four quads in the new complex have been named Ayers, Grace, Hurt and Watters.

Dockery noted the work of the contractors — Worsham Brothers Construction Co. of Corinth, Miss., and Brasfield Construction Co. of Jackson, Tenn. — who finished the complexes ahead of schedule. He also praised Gary Carter, Union’s senior vice president for business and financial services, and Kimberly Thornbury, Union’s dean of students, for their dedication to the project.

The two-story buildings in the residence life complex house about 700 students. A 15th residential building in the complex is under construction and is scheduled for completion later this fall. A final building scheduled for construction will serve as a commons building.

Total cost for the project was about $30 million. Original plans called for half of the 14 buildings to be ready by the start of the fall semester, with the other half to be completed by the spring semester in 2009.

The new student housing facilities are located on the site of the previous buildings. The apartment-style suites in the new housing complex accommodate four students, each of whom will have a private bedroom. Each suite also features two bathrooms, a kitchenette and a washer/dryer. Each building in the complex contains 39, 47 or 55 bedrooms.

All downstairs apartments contain a safe room to provide storm shelters for students, and a memorial marker to the previous buildings is located on the sidewalk through the middle of the new complex.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach, with reporting by Phyllis Evans of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, David Roach of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Tim Ellsworth of Union University.

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