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Trustee chairman submits resignation at Southwestern

FORTH WORTH, Texas (BP)–The chairman of the board of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary resigned Oct. 6 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Ollin Collins, longtime pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Watauga, Texas, faxed a letter of resignation to Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill. Collins was elected chairman of the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary’s board of trustees at the body’s biannual meeting last March. He was elected to the trustee board at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans in 1990.
The SBC elects the trustees for all SBC agencies and institutions. Trustees of the seminary come from various states throughout the convention and visit the campus twice yearly. While they set policy, they are not involved in the day-to-day administration of the school.
Hemphill said he accepted Collins’ resignation with deep sorrow.
“We are grieved over the recent events concerning Ollin Collins,” Hemphill said in a statement released to local media. “We continue to pray for him, his family and for Harvest Baptist Church. Our October [trustee] meeting would have been his first meeting as chairman, but he has notified us that he has resigned as a trustee relinquishing his role at Southwestern.”
According to the seminary’s bylaws, the vice chairman will oversee the fall meeting Oct. 19-20, and a new chairman will be elected at the spring meeting. The current vice chairman is Miles Seaborn, a retired Fort Worth pastor and president of Fort Worth-based M.J. Ministries. At its annual meeting in Atlanta next June, the Southern Baptist Convention will elect someone to fill Collins’ unexpired term.
A front-page story in the Oct. 6 Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Collins had been suspended as pastor pending an investigation into the allegations. Under Collins’ leadership, Harvest Baptist has grown to be one of the largest churches in the Fort Worth area.
In the seminary’s regular chapel service Oct. 6, Hemphill told seminary students Collins has had a great evangelistic ministry during the past 20 years. Before praying for Collins, Hemphill told students the situation should serve as a wake-up call for all ministers and as a reminder of the importance of accountability.
In his prepared statement, Hemphill concluded, “We are proud of Southwestern Seminary’s great heritage during its 90-year relationship with the Fort Worth community, and we are equally excited about its future. On behalf of the more than 4,000 folks who work or study on Seminary Hill, we appreciate your continued prayerful support.”