Around the State: Buckner and HPU collaborate

Cory Hines (left), president of Howard Payne University president, and Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International, signed documents formally instituting a collaboration to give students opportunities to serve their communities better and learn about ministry and service.

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Buckner International and Howard Payne University launched a collaboration to provide volunteer and missions opportunities, humanitarian aid drives and enhanced experiential learning opportunities for HPU students. Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International, and HPU President Cory Hines signed a memorandum of understanding Feb. 12. “This collaboration with Howard Payne University allows students to experience true servant leadership while on mission,” said Dr. Reyes. “Encouraging students to give back to those in need will support HPU’s ongoing goal of building an inspired, caring and Christ-like community within the university.” Hines called the collaboration “a perfect fit between two Christ-centered institutions with distinguished histories and ongoing vitality.” HPU will provide Buckner with student volunteers, mission volunteers and humanitarian aid drives. The broad categories of service include shoe drives and mission trips. HPU also will create credit and non-credit opportunities for students to intern and train at Buckner ministry locations in Texas and internationally. Buckner will work with HPU students in campus mission organizations to serve Buckner clients and assist Buckner personnel. Buckner will also provide support and orientation, working within international and domestic leadership to find opportunities for HPU students to serve vulnerable children, families and senior adults.

Texas Baptists will accept nominations beginning April 1 for recipients of the inaugural BEST (Baptist Educators Serving Texans) Award. To be eligible for a BEST Award, a candidate must be a teacher, coach, counselor or administrator serving in an accredited Texas public school system who is a graduate of a university related to the Baptist General Convention of Texas and a member of a BGCT-affiliated church. Organizers said the awards are intended to “celebrate exceptional educators who live out their faith to the students they serve” and to recognize Texas Baptist universities for developing “educator-missionaries.” The award also is designed to remind affiliated churches their Cooperative Program giving that helps support the universities has an impact on generations to come by producing about 800 new public school educators annually. Nominations will be accepted from April 1 to June 1 at txb.org/best. Finalists will be notified in August. Awards will be presented at various venues in September and October, and winners will be announced at the 2020 BGCT annual meeting in November.

Howard Payne University students recognized as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology include (left to right) Conner Faught, Paul Chandler and Landon James. They are pictured with Myles Wertnz, who delivered the 2020 Currie-Strickland Lecture in Christian Ethics. Not pictured is Xavier Hianes.

Four Howard Payne University students were named Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology at the university’s annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics event recently. They are Paul Chandler, a Christian Education major from Mount Pleasant; Conner Faught, a Bible, jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Brownfield; Landon James, a youth ministry major from Bangs; and Xavier Haines, a Christian education and history major from Belton. Each year, students are selected as Currie-Strickland Scholars based on an evaluation of achievement in their classes and on the ways they have excelled in their thinking in the fields of Christian ethics and theology.


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