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NOBTS buoyed by red beans & rice, teen’s $1,400 birthday party

ATLANTA (BP)–Red beans and rice. The meal is a weekly staple on New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s main campus — something NOBTS administrators, professors and staff members have missed during their time of displacement in Decatur, Ga.

That changed on Dec. 14 when NOBTS alumnus Nelson Price came to the seminary’s North Georgia Campus with two large pots of the Louisiana delicacy that he and his wife, Trudy, spent the morning (and much of the day before) preparing.

“Having lived in New Orleans so long, I know New Orleans is famous for its red beans,” Price said. “With dear friends being displaced from there, I thought perhaps their palettes might be appealed to by red beans and rice.

“I wanted the joy of trying to revive those memories for them.”

Price, a Mississippi native, learned to cook red beans and rice during the years he studied and served in Louisiana. He initially moved to Louisiana to attend Southeastern Louisiana University where he starred on the school’s basketball and track teams. He stayed to attend NOBTS and later pastored Oak Park Baptist Church on New Orleans’ West Bank.

A longtime NOBTS Foundation Board member and former trustee, Price has been a generous donor to the seminary. In 2002, a building was named in his honor, the Nelson L. Price Center for Urban Missions. The center has housed thousands of mission volunteers since it opened. An endowed leadership chair at the North Georgia Extension Center also was established in his honor. And he recently established the Trudy Price Scholarship in honor of his wife.

Price is pastor emeritus at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga. He served the church 35 years before his retirement in 2000. He was a key figure in the establishment of the seminary’s North Georgia Extension Center. His church was home to the extension center from its beginning in 1979 until 1994.

“I’m so proud of you,” Price told the seminary staff and faculty during lunch. “I love you and pray for you often.”

For almost 30 years, Price hosted a red beans and rice meal at Roswell Street Baptist Church as a community outreach.

In other NOBTS news, when Amy Campbell’s 14th birthday rolled around in September, the Russellville, Ark., the teen wanted to do something special for Hurricane Katrina victims.

So Amy invited all her friends to a party, but instead of gifts, she asked them to bring a monetary donation to help families from New Orleans Seminary, where her dad Craig serves as a trustee.

Amy knew that her dad’s State Farm insurance agency would match any of the friends’ gifts. The invitations went out and her friends responded by bringing $700 worth of coins and small bills. With the agency’s matching gift, the party raised $1,400 for NOBTS families.

“My daughter is meant for missions, she is very sensitive to the Spirit,” Campbell said. “This gave her the opportunity to do something directly [for Katrina victims].”

Seminary President Chuck Kelley was touched by the teen’s concern for New Orleans Seminary. He said gifts like Amy’s are an encouragement during difficult circumstances.

“The most compelling thing about Hurricane Katrina, to me is not the stories of the devastation, it is the stories of the sacrifices made by people responding to the needs,” Kelley said.

Amy, a 5’11” basketball player, attends Russellville Junior High School. The Campbells are members of First Baptist Church in Russellville.