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Roger Skelton, GGBTS prof from 1967-83, dies at 87

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–J. Roger Skelton, professor of religious education at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, died in Nashville, Tenn., on Dec. 29. He was 87.

A member of the California seminary’s faculty from 1967 until his retirement in 1983, Skelton was a pioneer in bringing new church growth philosophies to the seminary. Leading the faculty to emphasize growing churches through a healthy Sunday School program, Skelton was the first to teach classes on church growth at the seminary.

Before coming to Golden Gate, Skelton served as a denominational leader at the Baptist Sunday School Board and as a minister of education for churches in California, Texas and Arkansas.

Jerry Stubblefield, senior professor of educational leadership, remembered him as an encourager. “He was the epitome of a Christian gentleman and his love for the church and his students was always evident in his life. Roger was a trusted mentor to me and left a lasting impact on the seminary.”

While a student at Golden Gate, Rick Durst, now the seminary’s academic dean, recalled the professor that students called “Jolly Roger” for his positive demeanor. “He was famous as a list-maker and giver. I still have and refer to the list he gave us in class on the process for enlisting volunteer leaders for church ministry.”

Skelton is survived by his two children, Martha and Fredrick, and was preceded in death by his wife, Bessie. Funeral services were held Monday, Jan. 3, at First Baptist Church in Nashville.

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