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Golden Gate students, faculty honor retiring Christian ed prof

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–Students, faculty and alumni of Golden Gate Seminary honored Jerry Stubblefield, 65, professor of Christian education at the seminary since 1977, who is retiring July 31, at the end of the seminary’s current academic year.

Speaking during a chapel celebration May 1 at the seminary’s San Francisco Campus in Mill Valley, Calif., colleagues and former students alike affirmed Stubblefield’s commitment to his students, the ministry of teaching and his investment in the local church.

“His legacy will continue to enrich as we study and teach here in the years ahead,” said Dwight Honeycutt, the seminary’s William A. Carleton Professor of Church History.

While at Golden Gate, Stubblefield has occupied the J.M. Frost Baptist Sunday School Board Chair of Religious Education.

“We honor your commitment to teaching, your dedication to ministry and your faithfulness to your students,” said Shera Melick, associate professor of Christian education.

Several former students shared appreciation for all they learned while in his classroom.

“I was able to share my life with him and gain a lot of wisdom from him,” said former student Hyejung Kim. “He has a profound understanding and knowledge of the church.”

Another former student, Joe Taylor, noted: “Dr. Stubblefield taught me the basics — which don’t change — about getting along with people and how to listen to others. He is about relationships and friendships. He continues to be a friend of young men and women who are ministers.”

The seminary’s board of trustees, at its meeting in April, honored Stubblefield by naming him senior professor of Christian education at Golden Gate.

Stubblefield, who pastored churches in Tennessee and Kentucky, began his career in Christian education as teaching fellow at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and later as special instructor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

He received the bachelor of arts degree from Belmont College and the master of arts degree from George Peabody College for Teachers (Vanderbilt University), both in Nashville, Tenn. He earned the bachelor of divinity, master of religious education and doctor of education degrees from Southern Seminary.

“It’s been a privilege to have Jerry Stubblefield as a member of our faculty,” said seminary president William O. Crews. “For a quarter of a century here at Golden Gate, he has shaped hundreds of Christian education students for ministries around the world.”

Recognized for his commitment to world missions, Stubblefield used his sabbatical study leaves to teach on the mission field in West Africa and in south Asia.

“He always desires to be of service,” said Faith Kim, associate professor of intercultural education and Christian education. “He stands up for people for the right reasons.”

Stubblefield’s pastor praised the long-time educator for his investment in the local church.

“As a pastor, there is little more important than knowing you have the love and support of your church members,” said Barry Stricker, a former professor at Golden Gate now serving as pastor of the Tiuron (Calif.) Baptist Church. “Dr. Stubblefield has demonstrated that to me and I am grateful for it. He has invested himself in the life of his local church.”

Another former student, now serving as an associational staff member in San Diego, Calif., praised Stubblefield’s friendship and encouragement in teaching.

“For the last 25 years, he’s been my friend. I always know I can call him anytime,” said Jerry Bennet. “He helped me see … the most important thing is relationships. On behalf of hundreds of students, I thank God for giving us a man of integrity and ministry.”

Keeping his own remarks brief, Stubblefield told those gathered: “I feel I’ve made an investment in the lives of students here at Golden Gate.”

Active in denominational life, Stubblefield has served as president, vice president and western vice president of the Southern Baptist Religious Education Association. He also served as president of the Western Baptist Religious Education Association.

He is listed in Who’s Who in Religion. He holds membership with the Southern Baptist Religious Education Association, and the Professional Association of Christian Educators and the North American Professor of Christian Education.

He compiled and contributed to A Church Ministering to Adults, released in 1986, and in 1993 wrote The Effective Minister of Education, published by Broadman and Holman. He has contributed to numerous Southern Baptist publications, including Adult Leadership, The Quarterly Review, Baptist History and Heritage, and Church Administration. In 1980 he was a contributing author to Baptists and Ecumenism, published by Judson Press, and in 1981 contributed to the Christian Education Handbook, revised edition 1996, published by Broadman and Holman.

Born in Paducah, Ky., he married the former Joanne McCaffrey in 1957. They have three children, Robert, Mason and Alice.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: JERRY STUBBLEFIELD.

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