Around the State: TBM offers relief after storms; ETBU honors law enforcement

At the request of the City Emergency Manager in San Angelo, Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers provided meals for displaced families who either sustained damage to their homes or were without utilities after a tornado hit the city. (TBM Photo)

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An EF-2 tornado hit the west part of Abilene, causing extensive damage. (Photo / Grace Mitchell)

Texas Baptist Men volunteers are responding to needs after a series of tornados touched down in West Texas on May 18. In Abilene, area TBM volunteers have cleared debris from 55 homes.  So far, crews in Abilene have donated more than 1,100 volunteer hours, completing 54 chainsaw jobs, logging 41 heavy equipment hours and installing temporary roofs on four homes. In San Angelo, a TBM emergency food-service crew provided 1,200 meals for families in shelters. Meanwhile, TBM disaster relief volunteers from around the state continue to work in Longview, removing downed pine trees from the homes of residents after 90 mph straight line winds hit the area on May 8. TBM chainsaw crews, heavy equipment operators and others have donated more than 5,300 volunteer hours in the community. To date, the volunteers have completed more than 70 chainsaw jobs, logged 270 heavy equipment hours, made 800 personal contacts and distributed more than 50 Bibles. To contribute financially, send a check designated “disaster relief” to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron, Dallas, TX 75227, call (214) 275-1116 or click here.

East Texas Baptist University President Blair Blackburn talks with Harrison County Deputy Dwight May during the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon. (ETBU Photo)

East Texas Baptist University celebrated the 2019 National Police Week by hosting its annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon. ETBU presented a certificate of appreciation to Harrison County Sheriff Tom McCool, Marshall Police Department Chief Cliff Carruth and Texas Department of Public Safety Cpl. Kevin Arnold. The university also distributed to each attending officer a travel mug inscribed with the ETBU logo and Matthew 5:9, which reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” At the event, ETBU President Blair Blackburn announced the university would donate $5,000 to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department to purchase enough tourniquets to have one available for every deputy. The Marshall Police Department had received a federal grant to purchase 50 tourniquets and used two of them to save the life of Zachary Lastra, an officer injured on duty. However, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department did not have any of the life-saving devices. Deputy Dwight Mays said he prayed God would provide a way for his department to secure them. At the ETBU event, he was seated at a table with Carruth and Blackburn, who were discussing the injured officer and how access to the tourniquets saved his life. Blackburn asked Mays if the sheriff’s department also had tourniquets available, and he learned the department lacked funding to secure them. Blackburn subsequently announced that ETBU would provide the necessary funds. “I have never had a prayer request answered that quickly,” Mays said.

Wayland Baptist University trustees recently voted to change the name of the university’s School of Religion and Philosophy to the School of Christian Studies. The name change, along with a redesign of curriculum, reflect the school’s desire to offer the type of education that ministry students are seeking, Dean Stephen Stookey said. The School of Christian Ministry will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies degree that prepares students for service in the church or careers that are outside traditional vocational ministry, as well as a Bachelor of Christian Ministry degree aimed at students who will serve smaller congregations and/or serve in bivocational ministry. In February, Wayland announced an accelerated program that allows students to earn both a Bachelor of Christian Ministry degree and a Master of Divinity degree in as little as five years. The School of Christian Studies also will offer accelerated Bachelor of Christian Ministry degree programs that lead to a Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration degree, offered jointly with Wayland’s School of Business; a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree; and a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree. For more information, call (806) 291-1165 or by email

Donalyn Alexander

The Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, an intercollegiate consortium of Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University, named Donalyn Alexander as dean, effective June 1. Most recently, Alexander was associate dean and associate professor at the Shelton School of Nursing. Previously, she was director of education and professional development at Hendrick Medical Center. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the Shelton School and her doctorate from Oklahoma City University.

Raquel Contreras

At spring commencement ceremonies, Dallas Baptist University awarded honorary doctorates to Raquel Contreras, general director of the Spanish Baptist Publishing House in El Paso; Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; and Roberto Silvado, president of the Brazilian Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Bacacheri Baptist Church in Curitiba, Brazil.

The Center for First-generation Student Success named Baylor University to its inaugural cohort of First Forward institutions. The designation recognizes institutions of higher education that demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Baylor’s First in Line program is an on-campus support unit that provides scholarships, directed programming, mentoring and a network of faculty and staff to assist first-generation student success.

East Texas Baptist University will host its 24th annual tribute to Sam B. Hall Jr., the late congressman and U.S. District Court judge, at 7 p.m. May 27 at the historic Harrison County Courthouse Square in downtown Marshall. The Sam B. Hall Memorial Celebration: A Patriotic Concert is a free event that will feature patriotic live music performed by the East Texas Symphonic Band and a salute to those who gave their lives in U.S. military service.


130th for Elliott Baptist Church in Hearne. A homecoming celebration is scheduled June 9. After Sunday school at 10 a.m., the 11 a.m. worship service will include a sermon by guest preacher Harold Cook, former director of missions for FIRM Baptist Area. A program featuring congregational singing and special music is scheduled at 1 p.m. Dale Wells is pastor.

70th for Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. A luncheon is scheduled June 22 for founding members, charter members and individuals who have been members of Trinity Baptist more than 60 years. A barbecue dinner is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 22 in the dining room and gym at Trinity Baptist. Tickets for the barbecue are $7 each and can be purchased online here. An anniversary celebration featuring videos, music, memories and special recognitions is scheduled after the dinner from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Mulberry Sanctuary. A joint worship service is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 23. Pastor Leslie Hollon will speak.

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50th for Toby Irwin in the ministry. He is pastor of Belmore Baptist Church in San Angelo.


Lee Fuller after 43 years in pastoral ministry and seven years as pastor of River Oaks Baptist Church in River Oaks, effective Aug. 25.

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