Around the State: Camp Buckner staff encourages foster families; Liebrum to HPU as VP

Six college-aged Camp Buckner employees have hand-written more than 350 encouraging notes to foster families across the state of Texas.

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Due to the threat of COVID-19, Camp Buckner has been closed for retreats and day camps, but that hasn’t stopped the staff from continuing to serve families and children—even while working remotely. Six college-aged Camp Buckner employees have hand-written more than 350 encouraging notes to foster families across the state of Texas. “We want to continue to serve in some way, even if the camp itself is closed,” said Bill Joe Averitt, Camp Buckner retreat director. “We thought this would be a great opportunity for our camp staff to keep busy and continue to provide ministry to families during difficult times.” The letters were meant to show foster families they were not alone and expressed hope and encouragement for the present and future. Buckner invites others to join in writing encouraging and uplifting notes to foster families. Writers are urged to share experiences about how they have found hope during challenging times and include a favorite Bible verse. Send notes or artwork to albert.reyes@buckner.org, and they will be forwarded to foster families.

Howard Payne University has named veteran denominational leader Chris Liebrum as vice president for external affairs, effective Aug. 1. Liebrum, a 1973 HPU graduate, will work with church relations, recruiting and fundraising. He recently retired as director of Texas Baptists’ office of Cooperative Program ministry after serving more than 35 years with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. His previous roles at the BGCT included director of human resources, associate to the executive director, director of church ministry resources and director of disaster recovery. During his time as coordinator of student ministry for Texas Baptists from 1984 to 1999, he helping to develop the See You at the Pole student-led prayer initiative and the True Love Waits sexual purity emphasis. Liebrum was the liaison between the BGCT and the Baptist World Alliance and a member of the BWA General Council. In addition to his undergraduate degree from HPU, he earned a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also was awarded an honorary doctorate from HPU in 2006. He and his wife Cindy have two adult sons, Corey and Clay, and four grandchildren.

Four universities affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas have been named to the Military Friendly Schools list compiled by Viqtory, a military marketing company for military personnel entering the civilian workforce. Dallas Baptist University, Hardin-Simmons University, Howard Payne University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor are among the 625 colleges, universities and trade schools in the United States that the firm identifies. Listed schools are selected from among more than 8,800 institutions nationwide on the basis of their excellence in welcoming and preparing military service members, veterans and their spouses for success as students. The company judges schools based on criteria such as rates of student retention, graduation, job placement and loan repayment.

Baptist University of the Américas plans to begin its fall semester Aug. 24, pending any new directives from government officials. Some classes will be offered in person face-to-face, while others are virtual and online. Students will register for courses understanding that not all classes may be offered for each platform. In-person classes will end Nov. 24, prior to the Thanksgiving break, and transition to a virtual and online platform the week of Nov. 30. Final exams for all classes will take place virtually or online the week of Dec.7. The schedule is designed to reduce non-essential travel over the holidays and minimize time on-campus during the peak of the flu and cold season. BUA has in place numerous health and safety protocols for faculty, staff and students, with limits on classroom occupancy and disinfecting procedures for common areas and surfaces. “In the event of another stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order from the government, the university is prepared to shift face-to-face classroom instruction to virtual or online delivery methods,” President Abe Jaquez said. “Since the transition in mid-March, faculty and staff have been working arduously to improve the remote teaching and learning experience, positioning the university to shift quickly and effectively. Our student’s safety and success is of utmost importance to Baptist University of the Américas.”


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