Around the State: UMHB students begin semester with community service

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor students packed snack bags, hygiene kits and household essentials for Helping Hands Ministry of Belton. (UMHB Photo)

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As part of Welcome Week at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, students participated Aug. 10 in Love CTX, an annual event designed to engage students in community service. This year, students packed snack bags, hygiene kits and household essentials for Helping Hands Ministry of Belton. UMHB students also wrote supportive notes that Project Apple Tree included in backpacks distributed to area public school students.

Howard Payne University will hold its commencement ceremony for spring and summer 2020 graduates at 10 a.m. on Aug. 22 at Brownwood Coliseum. Antonio Josué Miranda, president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, will deliver the charge to graduates. Miranda is campus pastor and the director of the Master of Arts in ministry program at Stark College and Seminary in Corpus Christi and the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Robstown. During commencement, graduates and presenters will observe social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings. On the eve of commencement, HPU will continue its Chime Out tradition at 6 p.m. on Aug. 21. During the outdoor ceremony, graduating seniors will pass a chain of ivy to underclassmen, representing the passing of authority, responsibility and privileges to students who remain on campus. A livestream of both Chime Out and commencement will be available for viewing at

Wayland Baptist University students have been divided into 48 small groups for weekly chapel services. The groups are meeting all over campus in areas that can accommodate social distancing guidelines.

Chapel takes on a new look at Wayland Baptist University, due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Rather than meeting in one location, the student body has been divided into 48 small groups who meet across the campus at 11 a.m. each Wednesday in locations that can accommodate social distancing guidelines. Donnie Brown, director of spiritual life, has developed a series of chapel programs focused on the theme “Let Your Light Shine,” based on Matthew 5:16. Each small group will choose a social justice topic such as racism, human trafficking and poverty. Then each group will conduct a project to increase awareness of the issue and enact change where possible.

Beverly Roberts Gaventa

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, distinguished professor of New Testament Interpretation in the religion department at Baylor University, has been awarded the Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies by The British Academy. She is one of only a few Americans to receive this award, established in 1923 by The British Academy, a fellowship of about 1,400 leading national and international academics elected for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. The Burkitt Medal is awarded annually in recognition of special service to biblical studies, with Hebrew Bible studies in odd years and New Testament studies in even years. Gaventa joined the Baylor faculty in 2013. She previously taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, Columbia Seminary and Colgate Rochester Divinity School. She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and religion from Phillips University, a Master of Divinity degree in New Testament at Union Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in religion from Duke University. She is a past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the largest professional organization of biblical scholars in the world.

The B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and its Carroll Teaching Church Network will offer a four-week course, “Christianity and Politics,” open to the public and offered at a discounted rate of $40. The course will meet on four consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning Oct. 6 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. An optional question-and-answer session will be held after each session, from 8:30-9 p.m. Gregory Tomlin, Carroll Fellow and associate professor of Christian heritage, will teach the course, which explores the historical, theological and philosophical roots of various Christian views of government and civic engagement. For more information, click here.

Bobby Hall

Wayland Baptist University President Bobby Hall participated in an Aug. 18 panel discussion about the state of higher education in dealing with COVID-19. Sponsored by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and Carpet Tech, Hall and administrators from Lubbock Christian University, Texas Tech and South Plains College fielded questions about the state of higher education as students return to campus this fall. Hall characterized this time in history as a transitional moment. “It is probably the defining moment in our lifetime,” he said. “This is a special time to be in the position of trying to educate others for the future.”


Roy Cotton

Roy Cotton as director of African American ministries for Texas Baptists, after 42 years in ministry and 21 years with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He will continue serving on a contract basis as needed by the convention. Under his leadership, about 200 Black churches chose to affiliate with Texas Baptists, bringing the total number of African American churches in the BGCT to nearly 900. Cotton joined the BGCT staff in 1999 as a church starter. He became director of African American ministries in 2016 after an extended time as interim director. Before serving Texas Baptists, Cotton worked 21 years with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, first as director of special campus ministries and later as the association’s first director of African American church development at BGAV. He also has been an adjunct professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and the graduate school at Dallas Baptist University. As an accomplished musician with more than 55 years of experience in church music, Cotton was inducted into the Dallas Metroplex Musicians’ Association Hall of Fame in February 2016.

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