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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Nick Challies remembered at SBTS; SWBTS to hold in-person commencement

Nick Challies remembered as one “living and breathing for God”

By Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Friends, family, and faculty members gathered Friday morning (Nov. 6) on the lawn at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) to remember the life of 20-year-old Nick Challies, son of noted evangelical blogger and author Tim Challies. Nick died unexpectedly Nov. 3.

Challies, a Boyce College junior and Toronto, Canada, native, collapsed suddenly while playing a game with his sister, fiancée and other students at a park near Southern Seminary’s campus. Efforts by emergency personnel to revive him were unsuccessful.

Testimony after testimony described Nick Challies as a young man who worked tirelessly to build strong relationships, prioritized others, and lived every moment, all out, for the glory of his Savior. Nick grew up in church and was saved at age 13. He came to Boyce College and Southern Seminary in 2018 after sensing a divine call to pastoral ministry.

“He came home after his first semester here,and he was a different person,” said Michaela Challies, Nick’s sister. “He was a person who was living and breathing for God…. I know that I’ll think about the things he never got to do, but then I’ll think about what he’s doing right now, what he’s wanted to do since he was 13 years old – he’s living with the Lord.”

While at the seminary, Nick met his fiancée, Ryn Conley, and his sister Abigail joined him this year as a freshman at Boyce. He had made numerous friends and had become a leader among students. All the pieces were falling into place that would position Nick for many years of faithful ministry, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said at the gathering.

“Every single student is a gift,” Mohler said. “Every single student is a stewardship. Every single student is a test: are we really who we say we are? Do we really teach what we say we teach? Do we really serve whom we say we serve? Every student becomes proof of what an institution really is and what it really believes, who it really serves. In the brief time in which he was with us, Nick Challies affirmed that we are who we say we are and we’re the kind of school that would draw the kind of student that Nick Challies was.

“Everything appeared to be coming full circle. In the death of Nick Challies, the world would say that circle was broken. But we’re (here) today to say precisely the opposite; the circle is complete – in the sense that Nick ran his race completely and faithfully. And even as our hearts are broken, and even as we measure loss, for Nick it is entirely gain.”

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Southwestern Seminary to hold in-person commencement ceremony

By Alex Sibley

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) and Scarborough College will hold an in-person commencement ceremony on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. for both spring and fall 2020 graduates, President Adam W. Greenway announced Friday (Nov. 6).

“The central purpose for which Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College exists is to educate ministers of the Gospel for more faithful service,” Greenway said. “Celebrating the men and women who have completed their studies with an in-person commencement ceremony is a vital element of this institution’s mission. We will honor our graduates and commission them in their Gospel service, while also taking all appropriate precautions to minimize risk.”

The seminary had canceled its spring commencement ceremony last May due to COVID-19 – the first such cancelation in the institution’s 112-year history. With proper precautions in place, however, the seminary’s leadership believes a fall commencement service is possible.

“I’m thrilled that we will be able to have our fall graduation in person on the campus,” said Randy L. Stinson, provost and vice president for academic administration, who explained that the school will be taking “COVID-related precautions” that include social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer and multiple viewing venues.

The ceremony will take place in MacGorman Chapel, with only graduates, faculty, and production staff present in the room, Stinson said. The nearly 29,000-square-foot auditorium in MacGorman Chapel has a typical seating capacity of 3,367, which has been significantly reduced for social distancing purposes to less than 600. Currently, 331 graduates have indicated their intention to participate in the ceremony, along with approximately 80 faculty and staff.

Read the full story here.

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