AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–More than 100 alumni and friends of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary attended a special luncheon during the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting Nov. 14.
The gathering at Fleming’s Austin Steakhouse drew 108 former students and laypeople from BGCT churches. The event was sponsored by Harold Riley, a longtime supporter of Southwestern Seminary who was responsible for providing much of the funding for the construction of the seminary’s Center for Leadership Development.
During the luncheon, Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson offered guests an inside look at plans for the seminary’s new chapel, a facility that will seat 3,500 students and guests. The chapel, which will reflect the Spanish influence on the architecture of the Southwest, also will have an indoor-outdoor baptistery and a 108-foot-tall prayer tower. Patterson said the tower, which will be visible from a nearby interstate, will offer a commanding view of the city.
“God’s put it in our heart to build a chapel,” Patterson said. “The tower, where our students can climb to the top and pray over the city, will be a reminder to us that our task is getting the Gospel to 6 billion people on the face of this earth.”
Students at the Fort Worth seminary “have their afterburners lit and they are ready to go where no one else is willing to go,” Patterson said, citing as examples the interior of Siberia and Zambia. This past summer, students planted three churches among the remote villages of northern Zambia, he said.
“Some of these places are 25 miles off the end of the road and our students have to hike in there,” he said. “But they are more than willing to go.”
Elwin Collom, president of the seminary’s BGCT alumni association and pastor of First Baptist Church of Coahoma, encouraged seminary alumni to continue praying for the institution so that it would one day reach its goal of 6,000 students. “I am a firm believer that much more can be accomplished on Seminary Hill than on Capitol Hill,” Collom said.
Collom nominated James “David” Kimberly to serve as president of Southwestern’s BGCT alumni association next year. Kimberly is director of missions for the Central Texas area (Limestone, Freestone, Corsicana, Hill and Leon counties). He was elected unanimously.