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Hannibal-LaGrange University faces severe budget shortfall

Anthony Schindler, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Hannibal, Mo., prays during the Solemn Assembly March 10 at HLGU. HLGU Facebook photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. (BP) – Hannibal LaGrange University (HLGU) held a 10-hour prayer meeting March 10 to intercede for the university’s financial shortfall, which is reportedly between one-half million and $1 million.

“This Solemn Assembly is in an environment of deep challenge at Hannibal LaGrange University,” John Yeats told the Illinois Baptist. Yeats is the executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, with which HLGU is affiliated.

Yeats urged calm and issued reassurance about the university’s future. “The Lord is fully aware of the HLGU situation. He did not call an emergency session of the heavenly hosts,” he said. “He has already promised an open ear to His children calling out to the Father with intercession for faculty, staff, students, administration of HLGU.”

More than 100 people participated in the day-long prayer meeting, which was led by “Experiencing God” co-author Claude King. He urged the gathering to focus on the Kingdom of God.

“I anticipate HLGU to emerge from this present situation as a healthier, stronger and greater institution than it has been,” said Tom Rains, pastor of Quincy (Ill.) First Southern Baptist Church. Rains served on the HLGU Board of Trustees from 2010-2020. He currently serves on its strategic planning committee. “I do not believe that God is finished with the school,” Rains said. “He still has plans to touch the world for His glory through HLGU.”

The school, situated near the Mississippi River, draws from Illinois as well as Missouri for enrollment, which was 746 in fall 2019, according to U.S News & World Report. That figure was down from 1,191 in 2011. The school offers 30 majors, with degrees in ministry, education and nursing among the most popular.

HLGU Vice President Ray Carty remains positive despite the current crisis.

“(HLGU) has been and continues to be focus on making a Kingdom Impact,” Carty said. “That is what we always have done and will continue to do through our students. We will continue to teach our students how to have a ‘biblical world view’ so they can make a Kingdom impact wherever God has them.”

Rodney A. Harrison, head of Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries in Missouri, began serving as transitional president of the school March 7. The former president, Anthony Allen, resigned Jan. 21 citing health reasons.

It is expected that HLGU will appeal for financial gifts from alumni and Midwest supporters to cover the immediate shortfall. University trustees met Friday to discuss the situation.

“When individuals and institutions come against an impassable issue, there are usually three initial responses: denial, humanistic manipulation to kick the can down the road with hope for a silver bullet or start with humble repentance and confession,” Yeats said. “Gratefully, the participants recognized the value of turning our hearts toward our Lord.”

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  • Illinois Baptist staff