Kinesiology students from East Texas Baptist University staffed a field day Oct. 31 for Washington Early Childhood Center, a school that serves pre-kindergarten students and Marshall’s Head Start program. Costumed ETBU students interacted with more than 280 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds, leading them in varied physical activities including parachute play, tricycle riding and obstacle courses to test their fundamental motor skills.
The South Texas School of Christian Studies is now Stark College and Seminary, named for benefactors Doris and Bill Stark. Tony Celelli, the school’s president, noted the renamed school will honor the Starks’ commitment to affordable and high-quality Christian education by continuing its mission to “equip educationally underserved followers of Christ for service in the church and community.”
At its fall meeting, the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Council approved 31 grants totaling $502,550 to assist churches and support Texas Baptist missions and ministries. They included grants to help provide KidsFaith discipleship guides for adults leading children who are new believers in Christ, support Bounce Student Disaster Recovery and expand the Texas Baptist Church Planting Center residency programs. A $20,000 grant will help fund Church Planting Centers, which serve as incubators for training and launching new church planters who may not have any other formal theological training. A $20,000 grant to the Texas Baptists’ Counseling Services will help churches develop counseling-related ministries. “We are so appreciative of the foundation donors who make it possible for us to assist these ministries,” said Bill Arnold, president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. “The grants that we funded will allow churches to share the love of Christ all around the state with people of different ages, different language groups and different spiritual needs.”
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor celebrated its annual Military Appreciation Day Nov. 3. More than 300 veterans, active-duty soldiers and their family members attended the final home game of the CRU football program’s regular season, where they enjoyed free admission, hot dogs, chips and drinks. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces were honored before and during the game. Lt. Brian Palmer II, the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command chaplain, gave the invocation. Erin Sims, a UMHB senior who served in both the Army and with the Veterans Affairs Department, sang the national anthem. Sgt. Rayvin Kassabaum, 13th ESC Personnel Strength Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, conducted the coin toss. During halftime, the Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band performed a medley of patriotic music followed by the official hymn of each branch of the Armed Forces.
During homecoming festivities, East Texas Baptist University named William Everett of Carthage as recipient of the Golden Lightkeeper Award. ETBU presents the award to an alumnus who graduated at least 50 years ago and who has demonstrated continuing achievement in his or her vocation, church and community. Annemarie Whaley of Marshall received the J. Wesley Smith Achievement Award, Todd Kaunitz of Longview received the Young Alumnus Award, Scott Surratt of Carthage received the Alumni Achievement Award, Ruth Rhodes of Marshall received the Unsung Hero Award, Jim Webb of Hot Springs Village, Ark., received the Blue and Gold Award, and Charles and Joann Whiteside of Kilgore received the W.T. Tardy Service Award. ETBU named Hollie Atkinson of Georgetown, Vince and Susan Blankenship of Hallsville, Brian and Paula Nichols of Marshall, Martha “Marty” Rich of Cedar Hill, Will and Ruthie Walker of Hallsville and Don Anthis of Houston as Golden Blazers recipients. The Golden Blazers are presented each year to ETBU alumni who have given $10,000 or more and significant volunteer time to their alma mater.
10th for John Whitten in full-time ministry at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene, where he is lead pastor of The Gathering.
Don R. Norris as pastor of adult ministries and pastoral care at First Baptist Church in Odessa, effective Dec. 31. He served 41 years at churches in Houston, Fort Worth, Abilene, Midland, Pasadena, Rockdale, Deport and Odessa, along with five years in Georgia.