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SBC DIGEST: NOBTS & Louisiana College aim for collaboration; former House staffer joins ERLC in D.C.

NOBTS & Louisiana College sign memo of understanding

PINEVILLE, La. (BP) — Students at Louisiana College who plan to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will soon be able to apply college credits in theological studies to a seminary degree thanks to a memorandum of understanding between the two Southern Baptist schools.

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley and LC President Rick Brewer signed the agreement in a news conference on the college’s campus in Pineville on Oct. 29.

NOBTS and LC, as described by Brewer, “have agreed to explore partnerships that will identify pathways that may include, but are not limited to, degree program articulation agreements, appropriate 3+2 programs [of campus studies followed by field experience] and collaborative curricular development.”

Louisiana College, founded in 1906 and affiliated with the Louisiana Baptist Convention, has 1,300 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kelley said the agreement will allow students to receive their degree at the seminary more quickly as they pursue God’s call in the field of ministry.

“There is enough compatibility between these two institutions with our call and commitment to Christ and the Gospel, our call and commitment to Louisiana Baptists that we are delighted to enter into this memorandum of understanding,” Kelley said, “and to look for those ways that we can keep the education preparation process seamless for students at both of our schools and let students take advantage of what each of us does very, very well for the maximum benefit of the students.

“We think we will have some good overlapping and mesh points that will make education more efficient and less expensive — more efficient for students and faster for students to be able to get out into the field to minister and to serve in the way that God is calling them,” Kelley said.

Brewer voiced gratitude “for the kindred spirit in Dr. Kelley. His forward thinking will help us attract more students to Louisiana College and to the seminary.” The partnership is a “win for both institutions, and the students will reap the rewards that such cooperation brings. Louisiana Baptist churches will profit, too, because more graduates will be on the field sooner than usual.”

Brewer noted “Dr. Kelley’s leadership throughout his long tenure at the seminary, and as well, his vision for the future of the seminary and Louisiana College. We look forward to a long and beneficial relationship with another Southern Baptist institution whose curricula are built upon a Christian worldview and that has a burden for both the Lord’s people and lost people.”


Former House staffer joins ERLC staff in Washington

WASHINGTON (BP) — Former congressional staff member Chelsea Sobolik is a new policy director in the Washington office of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Sobolik worked on pro-life, adoption and foster care issues as well as domestic and international religious freedom during three years of service in the House of Representatives. Her work with the ERLC will include advocating for the entity’s policy positions and analyzing legislation.

Travis Wussow, the ERLC’s general counsel and vice president for public policy, announced Sobolik’s addition to the commission’s staff Oct. 30.

Sobolik will bring experience in “working on a wide array of policies in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Wussow told Baptist Press. “We look forward to the impact she will make advocating for pro-life policy, religious liberty and other issues Southern Baptists care deeply about.”

Sobolik told BP, “I’m thrilled to be joining the ERLC and work under the leadership of [ERLC President] Dr. Russell Moore. I’ve long respected the work and the winsome tone of the ERLC, and look forward to joining the team.”

A blogger and writer, Sobolik is the author of the book “Longing for Motherhood: Holding Onto Hope in the Midst of Childlessness,” which was released in March. She has a bachelor of arts in international relations from Liberty University. Sobolik and her husband Michael live in Washington, D.C.

Matthew Hawkins served previously as a policy director for the ERLC in Washington but left that position recently to work on a doctor of philosophy degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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  • Baptist College, ERLC & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor from reporting Norm Miller, vice president for communications and integrative marketing at Louisiana College, and Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief of Baptist Press.

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