Around the State: Students on mission throughout summer

Cynthia Shirley, a student at Hardin-Simmons University, served in Peru with Beltway Park Baptist Church in Abilene.

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Students from Texas Baptist-affiliated universities, as well as students at state universities serving through Baptist Student Ministries and Go Now Missions, are on the state, domestic and global mission fields this summer. Others are working with recreation teams at Christian encampments. More than 230 students are serving through Go Now Missions in locations ranging from Mission Arlington in North Texas to sports camps in New York to work among indigenous people groups along the Amazon River in Brazil. Students also are part of Texas Baptist churches’ summer mission trips. Cynthia Shirley, a student at Hardin-Simmons University, served in Peru with Beltway Park Baptist Church in Abilene. In partnership with other churches, the missions team set up medical clinics for five days, caring for more than 600 patients. Team members distributed more than 400 Bibles, and more than 200 people professed faith commitments to Christ.

A Grandparenting Matters seminar is scheduled Sept. 7 at First Baptist Church in Marble Falls. Sponsored by the Legacy Coalition, the seminar is designed to equip and encourage grandparents to stay connected and involved with their grandchildren in positive, powerful ways and to pass on a legacy of faith. Sessions are open not only to grandparents, but also to pastors or adult ministries leaders who want to learn how to provide grandparents the encouragement and resources they need. The seminar begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. Cost is $25 per individual or $40 for a married couple. The fee includes a workbook for each participant, a continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and door prizes. To register, click here. For more information, contact Associate Pastor Weldon French at or (830) 693-4381.

GuideStone Financial Resources is sponsoring a Church Security and Awareness seminar at Crossroads Christian Church in Grand Prairie from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 22. Barry Young, vice president of Strategos International will talk about recognizing physical indicators of suspicious behavior, approaching armed individuals, verbally de-escalating conflict and implementing lockdown procedures. The cost is $99 per participant. To register, click here.

Jason Palmer

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor named Jason Palmer as dean of spiritual life and university chaplain. Palmer, an ordained Baptist minister, will begin working part-time on Aug.14 and will transition to full-time status on Nov. 4. He is retiring from the U.S. Army after 25 years of service. He currently serves as assistant division chaplain for 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood. He supervises 35 chaplains and 37 religious affairs specialists, providing religious support to 18,900 soldiers deployed worldwide, as well as their families. Palmer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. He completed his Master of Divinity degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2008. Palmer and his wife Christie have been married for 20 years and have four sons: Joshua, Eli, Caleb and Nathan.

Hardin-Simmons University hosted Trauma-Informed Care training for about 60 professionals from HSU, Abilene Christian University and McMurry University on Aug. 24. Police officers, student life coordinators and counselors learned from specialists during the three-hour course. “As reporting rates increase, our campuses are realizing just how many students are impacted by trauma, either present or historical, and this offers us a specific tool to care for our students holistically,” said Nikki Rhodes, HSU director of counseling services.

Thomas Sanders (left), provost and vice president for academic affairs at East Texas Baptist University, and Rebekah Grigsby (right), dean of the ETBU School of Nursing, congratulate nursing students (left to right) Colby Simmons, Stacie Simmons and Joshua Hartley, recipients of the Polly Cargill Scholarship.

Three East Texas Baptist University nursing students—Joshua Hartley, Colby Simmons and Stacie Simmons—received the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship on behalf of the Cargill family and Christus Good Shepherd Foundation. Jerry and Jack Cargill established the scholarship to honor their mother’s memory and in recognition of the care she received from nurses at a local hospital. Since its inception 17 years ago, the Polly Cargill Nursing Scholarship has provided financial aid to about 60 nursing students from schools across East Texas. This year, six students at ETBU, the University of Texas at Tyler, Kilgore College and the University of Texas at Arlington received the scholarship.

Stark College and Seminary in Corpus Christi signed a memorandum of understanding with B.H. Carroll Theological Institute to create an academic relationship between the two institutions. It ensures ease of transfer for Bachelor in Ministry degree graduates of Stark to enroll in one of several advanced track master’s degree programs at Carroll, using undergraduate credit hours completed at Stark toward the master-level degrees. In addition, the agreement ensures ease of transfer for Stark Master of Arts in Ministry degree students to reach Master of Divinity degree equivalency or complete a Master of Divinity degree at Carroll. It also provides an avenue for Stark students to complete additional studies and enroll in the Carroll Doctor of Ministry degree program. Students will be able to participate face-to-face in a physical classroom at one of the network teaching churches, in live video conferencing broadcasts delivered over the Internet or online courses.

Texas Baptists’ Hispanic Education Initiative sponsored a Hispanic Education Fair at East Texas Baptist University. High school participants attended workshops such as “Keeping God First in College” and “Academic and Emotional Success.” College-age participants learned about financial aid and other aspects of higher education. Eighteen students who attended the education fair received $500 scholarships from the Hispanic Education Initiative.


Jack Staples after 60 years in music ministry, including the last 40 years as minister of music at Second Baptist Church in Abilene.

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