Around the State

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has commissioned six people with Texas ties as missionaries. Cynthia Levesque of San Antonio will teach English in China. Brittany Phillips, a member of Meadow Oaks Church in Temple, will be an outreach program director at a Christian English center in China, teaching classes and developing new programs. Christopher and Jessica Rose, members of Tallowood Church in Houston, will serve at Operacion San Andres, a holistic ministry center in Peru. Dan and Jolene Tucker, members of San Jacinto Church in Deer Park, will be pastors of Iglesia Bautista Bethel in Tuxpan, Mexico.

Kevin Kim has been appointed as a church-starting pastor in Euless by the North American Mission Board. He will focus on international, multi-ethnic students. He and his wife, Lanhee, have two children—Rebecca, 12, and Peter, 9. They are members of Wedgwood Church in Fort Worth.

Zane Gruznina, a business administration major from Latvia, recently was crowned Miss East Texas Baptist University.


Howard Payne University awarded the Nat Tracy Servant Leadership Award to two seniors. The awards were presented to seniors Kirk House, a youth ministry major from Gordon, Ark., and Hannah Lee Carter, a theater and Christian studies major from Wichita Falls. The HPU Servant Leadership Award was presented to four upperclassmen not graduating—Mark Cartwright, Cora Durain, Hailey McClelland and Jami Oliver. Each received a $1,000 scholarship, $250 of which each designated to a charity of their choice.

Houston Baptist University recognized its outstanding students recently. Rishi Kumar and Sandra Mathoslah were named Mr. and Miss HBU. They also earned the President’s Award along with David Crow, Joseph Dittfurth, Jennifer Hall, Ashley Hatchett, Christopher Hill, Ash-ley Nunes, Ben Ware, Nathan Yap and Megan Yarrington. Class academic awards were presented to freshman Elizabeth Tisdale, sophomore Rebecca Barton, junior Jennifer Acres and senior Kimberly Gutowsky.

Dallas Baptist University presented its annual Good Samaritan Awards to Betty Hatfield and Christ for the Nations earlier this month. Hatfield has been secretary at Grace Temple Church in Dallas 52 years. Christ for the Nations is an international, interdenominational organization that equips men and women for ministry around the world.

Thirty-eight graduates of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Scott and White College of Nursing participated in the college’s traditional pinning ceremony signaling their graduation from the program. Award-winning graduates included Nicole Meine-Nielsen, Jennifer Boelter, Heidi Dexter, Kristin McGilvray and Lauren Mathiews.

Brian Nichols is retiring as dean of the School of Education at East Texas Baptist University. He came to ETBU in 2002 after retiring as superintendent of the Marshall Independent School District.

John Herring, formerly of Bryan, was awarded the doctor of ministry degree at Fuller Seminary. He is teaching pastor and minister to adults at Johnson Ferry Church in Marietta, Ga.


Wesley Shotwell, 10th, as pastor of Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle, April 20.

Bob Mashburn, fifth, as pastor of Ferris Fellowship, May 15.

Emily Ford, 10th, as pianist at Allison Church in Lipan, May 25.

Timothy Chang, fifth, as pastor of Corpus Christi Chinese Church in Corpus Christi.

Stephen Teal, fifth, as pastor of Northwest Church in Austin, June 21.

Living Faith Church in Austin, June 29. James Shugart will be the guest preacher. After a lunch, Brian Byrne and Bor-rowed Time will sing. Henry Swofford is pastor.


Bobby Gregory, 74, May 5 in Columbus, after a four-month bout with cancer. He began his ministry at Shiloh Church near Itasca, where he was ordained in 1962. He also was pastor of First Church in Cotulla, First Church in Robstown, Retama Park Church in Kingsville and First Church in Wolfe City, where he retired from full-time ministry in 1997. After his retirement, he expected to supply preach, but he was surprised to have less than a dozen Sundays in more than 11 years when he did not preach. The final church, Greenvine Church in Burton, he served five years. He is survived by his wife, Chaney; daughter, Jan Gregory; son, Jon; and three grandchildren.

Forrest Pollock, 44, May 12 in the mountains of North Carolina. He and his 13-year-old son, Preston, were killed in the crash of a single-engine plane Pollock was piloting. Pollock was to have been a featured speaker at the Southern Baptist Conven-tion’s June 10-11 annual meeting in Indianapolis. He also had been appointed to serve on the convention’s committee on committees. In 2006, Pollock nominated Frank Page to serve as SBC president. He was pastor of Bell Shoals Church in Brandon, Fla. He also had been pastor of Istrouma Church in Baton Rouge, La., and Rosen Heights Church in Fort Worth. He previously served as associate pastor of church growth at Prestonwood Church in Plano. He is survived by his wife, Dawn; and five children, Courtney, Brooke, Hope, Blake and Kirk.

Fritz Smith, 81, May 14 in Tyler. He served on the staffs of several Texas churches in music and education positions including Calvary Church in Lufkin, First Church in Jasper, First Church in Galena Park, First Church in Garland and First Church in San Antonio. In 1966, Smith resigned his minister of music position at the San Antonio church to begin his music evangelism ministry and moved to Tyler. He recently celebrated his 41st year in music evangelism. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Greta. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley; daughters, Gayla Amerman and Ginger Bell; and brothers, Jimmy and John.

Larra Druin, 73, May 20 in Waxahachie. She worked in the special mission ministries department of the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, and later in the stewardship and public relations departments of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. She retired in 1983 to devote her life to her grandchildren. Her husband, Toby, worked in Baptist journalism positions in North Carolina and Georgia before moving back to Texas to work for the Baptist Standard, where he became editor in 1996 before retiring in 1998. They were members of First Church in Duncanville 27 years before moving to Wax-ahachie in 2003, when they became members of First Church there. She was preceded in death by a son, David. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Toby; daughters, DeAnna Jarnagin, Christie Windsor and Sherry Hight; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


On Mother’s Day, Mount Pleasant Church in Comanche honored Oma Dale Connally, the pastor’s wife, for her 50 years of service in that role. “I’ve been honored and recognized by churches and church groups from Texas to New York to Brazil to Mexico,” said her husband, Dan. “It is time my wife is recognized for her significant contribution to our ministry together.”


Damon Boniface as a deacon at First Church in Temple.

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