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TRUSTEES: Music prof, counseling specialization added at New Orleans Seminary

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees elected a music professor, created a new counseling specialization and approved a certificate training site during a June 9 meeting of the board’s executive committee.

The trustees elected Gregory Woodward to the faculty as assistant professor of conducting. He also will serve as chairperson for NOBTS’ division of church music ministries.

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said of Woodward, “With his vision for the future and his excellent training, we think he will help us prepare students for the 21st century of church music.”

Woodward has been director of choral activities at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., since 2002. He also gained teaching experience serving as an instructor at Florida State University from 1999-2002 and as choir director at Pascagoula (Miss.) Public Schools from 1995-99. An experienced church musician and minister and son of a pastor, Woodward has served as minister of music/worship leader at six Southern Baptist churches. At three of the churches, he also directed youth ministry programs.

Moving to New Orleans marks a return home for Woodward, who spent his first nine years in the city before his family moved to Mississippi.

Woodward holds bachelor of music education and master of music education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a doctor of philosophy degree in music education at Florida State.

Woodward and his wife Michelle have three sons and two daughters. The couple is expecting their sixth child in July.

The board also approved a new 114-semester-hour master of divinity specialization in counseling, created in response to new counseling licensure standards adopted by the state of Louisiana. The new specialization includes 60 hours in counseling, the new requirement for Louisiana licensure. The degree also meets academic requirements for state counseling licensure throughout the United States.

In addition to the emphasis on counseling, the new specialization preserves the core elements of the master of divinity degree, which prepares students for numerous positions in Christian ministry through coursework in spiritual formation, biblical studies, theology, pastoral ministry and Baptist heritage.

“Providing the courses that lead to licensure is a distinctive of our counseling program,” NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke said. “Blending this counseling preparation with classical ministerial training prepares the graduates of this program for a wide variety of ministerial positions.”

NOBTS will continue to offer a master of divinity specialization in psychology and counseling for students preparing for ministry assignments in which a counseling background is needed. However, in states like Louisiana, the psychology and counseling specialization will not fulfill all the requirements for state licensure.

The board also approved a certificate training program in Baton Rouge as an outreach to National Baptist pastors and church leaders in the area. Coursework would lead to a certificate in church leadership.

Fourth District National Baptist leaders met with Roddy Conerly, director of the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, about the lack of accredited training opportunities available for African American pastors in the Baton Rouge area. The National Baptist Convention is beginning to require some accredited training for all ordained ministers. Conerly, who also serves as the director of the seminary’s Baton Rouge extension, began working with Leavell College officials to address this need. The resulting plan establishes a new certificate training site that will meet at Second Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.
Gary D. Myers is director of public relations at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.