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Golden Gate trustees set stage for seminary to become debt-free

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary soon will be debt-free following action by the seminary’s board of trustees at their regular fall meeting Oct. 12 in Mill Valley, Calif.
Trustees agreed to use proceeds from property sales to retire bonds on the Southern California campus building in Brea. The action sets a limit of $1,070,000 for the bond retirement and is expected to save the seminary $147,000 a year.
“If and when this is done, it will mean that the seminary is completely debt-free, and that’s a good position to be in,” said William O. “Bill” Crews, GGBTS president.
Trustees commended seminary administrators for finishing the 1998-99 fiscal year within budget while adding new positions including a full-time dean of student life. Creation of the new post came more than a year after officials eliminated a half-time dean of students in a cost-cutting move.
“Your support for students should never be doubted,” Bobby Swift, a trustee from Kentucky, told Crews.
Bob Baker, who taught pastoral care at GGBTS for three years, was appointed dean of student life in August. Baker told trustees he is working “to embody on this campus what we hope [students] will be able to recreate in their ministry settings: trust in God, willingness to be what God wants them to be and to develop leadership activities while they are here.”
Gary Black, a trustee from Novato, Calif., and chairman of the trustee committee on finance and property, said, “The committee applauds the efforts of the seminary through a lot of hard work to … have the second consecutive year of a budget with no deficit.”
In a related action, trustees increased the fiscal year 1999-2000 budget $100,200 over the $7,573,800 figure approved in April. Black said the change was “based upon reality versus projections” and stressed the revised budget remains a balanced spending plan.
Trustees also voted to increase tuition at the seminary’s five campuses and approved a small monthly rate increase for housing at the main campus located near San Francisco.
In other action, trustees elected Mark McClellan as the new director of the seminary’s campus in Phoenix, Ariz., and ratified a church-planting partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.
McClellan, 50, who also was elected to the faculty in theology and ethics, is a former trial lawyer who has served as a Southern Baptist missionary in Guatemala as well as a non-residential missionary working with an Islamic people group. He currently works as a consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, developing a ministry institute to train ethnic pastors.
McClellan is a candidate for the Ph.D. degree in theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife, Cindy, have three children.
Trustees elected Allan Karr to the Golden Gate faculty as the professor to direct the seminary’s Nehemiah Project center for church planting. The Nehemiah Project, sponsored by the North American Mission Board, is placing a professor of church planting at each SBC seminary.
Karr, 36, is the founding pastor and church planter at Castle Valley Community Church (SBC) in Castle Rock, Colo. He and his wife, Kathy, have four children. Karr is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his Ph.D. in humanities with an emphasis in religion from Florida State University.
Trustee David George, pastor of Lake Arlington Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said trustees were “excited” with the qualifications and doctrinal statements of both new faculty members. George stressed the importance of determining a proper doctrinal stance when hiring seminary professors.
“My understanding is [that] had some of the trustee committees in other institutions done what they were supposed to do, they might not have had the controversy we had in the past 20 years,” George averred.
Trustees adopted a resolution of appreciation for David McCormick, founding director of the seminary’s Arizona campus. McCormick recently relocated to California with his wife, Deana, and currently teaches pastoral care at GGBTS.
Trustees approved a motion to “affirm our love and appreciation and support for President Crews’ godly, wise leadership, obvious integrity and statesmanlike character.”
Mel McClellan, trustee from Rifle, Colo., said he introduced the motion “in light of recent developments in … seminary life.” It was an apparent reference to the September firing of Mark Coppenger as president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. Midwestern trustees previously had reprimanded Coppenger for what was termed “misappropriation of anger.”
“I think I can speak for all of us … Bill Crews, we love you and appreciate you,” McClellan said. His fellow trustees registered their agreement with applause.
Crews thanked trustees for their affirmation and reflected on “13 wonderful, exciting and challenging years” as GGBTS president.
“I look forward to the years just ahead and I believe we are in the place of the most effective work we have ever done,” he said.
Trustees responded to a pair of motions referred to the seminary from the 1999 SBC annual meeting last summer in Atlanta. One motion sought to “require all SBC seminaries to fund qualified professional sign language interpreters for all deaf students.”
Golden Gate trustees noted the seminary “has on one occasion” provided an interpreter for a deaf student. But requiring the seminary “to provide this assistance for hearing impaired students on an ongoing basis” would be prohibitive, they concluded.
The second motion called on SBC boards, agencies and committees to “begin utilizing … technology such as video conferencing and the Internet … .” Trustees noted that Golden Gate Seminary “is already utilizing this technology in many areas” and encouraged messengers to access the seminary’s Internet web page at www.ggbts.edu for further information.
Trustees also heard a report that GGBTS has received a $10,000 planning grant from the Lilly Foundation. The grant permits the seminary to proceed with plans for a new classroom technology project. An additional $300,000 grant from Lilly will fund the project, seminary officials reported.
In other matters, trustees:
— granted six-month sabbatical leaves for Ronald Hornecker, professor of minister and director of the doctor of ministry program, and Michael Kuykendall, associate professor of biblical studies.
— accepted the resignation of Gary Gober, trustee from Nashville, Tenn., who cited personal and professional reasons.
— delayed for 18 months the start of a long-range planning process approved at their previous meeting in April.

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  • Mark A. Wyatt