Around the State

Former staff and residents of Texas Baptist Children’s Home will gather July 26 for the home’s alumni reunion. Festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with cottage tours. At 11 a.m., alumni will gather in front of the chapel for a group photo. A barbecue lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., and the cottages will be open for tours during the afternoon. The alumni association also will award scholarships to graduating seniors. For more information or to RSVP, call (512) 246-4248.

The B.H. Carroll Theological Institute honored four graduates at its spring convocation. Diplomas in ministry were presented to Abraham Barberi and Christopher Ward, both of Houston. Matthew Killough of Grand Prairie and Scott Venable of Denton both received master of arts degrees in Christian education.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor awarded 285 bachelors degrees, and 24 students were presented master’s degrees during the school’s spring commencement ceremony. Among the students earning awards were Austin Fischer of Belton, Christina Hammond of Houston, Chelsea Schilling of Temple and Christa Wright of Georgetown, who were presented the Alpha Chi Award for maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

Howard Payne University bestowed its highest honor, an honorary doctor of humanities degree, upon university chancellor Don Newbury during spring commencement ceremonies. An HPU graduate, Newbury served the school as president from 1985 until 1997.

Dallas Baptist University has named Shirley Mitchell, secretary in the College of Business, as the staff member of the year. She has served the school almost 20 years. She and her husband, Bill, are members of Northway Church in Dallas.

Three members of the San Marcos Baptist Academy graduating class were honored at recent graduation ceremonies for their outstanding overall achievement and performance. Michelle Deschner of Wimberley and Aaron Abugaber of San Marcos were presented with the President’s Cup, and Kimberley Beakley of Lake Charles, La., was awarded the McNiel Cup.

East Texas Baptist University’s nursing department honored several students with awards at the spring pinning ceremony. April Phillips of Tulsa, Okla., was honored with the Carroll Wilson Award for the most professional behavior; Stacey Mitchell of Porter received the Nightingale Award for most demonstrating the spirit of Florence Nightingale; Patrick Evans of Orange received the Nursing Leadership Award; and Kelli Shipley of Longview was given the Spirit of Nursing Award. Students inducted into the ETBU Nursing Honor Society were Evans, Phillips, Nicole Malone of Hallsville, Elizabeth Miller of Allen, Kim Self of Friendswood and Bethany Spears of Houston.

Charles Bacarisse has been named vice president for advancement at Houston Baptist University. He will oversee alumni affairs, church relations, development and communications.


Jerry Royal, 15th, as minister of students at First Church in Wichita Falls, June 1.

Rusty Waller, 15th, as pastor of First Church in Gordonville, June 9.

Danieldale Church in Dallas, 60th, July 6. The morning service will feature special music and testimonies, followed by a luncheon. A special afternoon anniversary service will begin at 1:30 p.m. Todd Mabie is pastor.

Primera Iglesia in San Antonio, 120th, July 20. The date will also mark the beginning of a revival led by Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic ministries for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The revival will conclude July 23. Alfonso Flores is pastor.

First Church in Petersburg, 100th, Aug. 2-3. The church will have a float in Saturday’s Peterburg Day Parade, and at 6 p.m. will hold a brisket dinner. Sunday will begin with a fellowship breakfast at 9:45 a.m., followed by the service at 10:30 a.m. and a chuckwagon lunch. Don Raney is pastor.


Bruce Scofield, as pastor of First Church in The Colony, June 1. He had served the church since 1996. He previously was pastor at two Missouri churches.

Roy DeBrand, as professor of homiletics at Campbell University Divinity School in North Carolina, where he has served the last six years. Among his previous ministry positions were stints as associate pastor of Broadway Church in Fort Worth and as pastor of First Church in Richmond. He was ordained at Second Church in Corpus Christi.


Red Midkiff, June 3 in Tyler, after a battle with cancer. He was a member of Holly Brook Church in Holly Lake Ranch, and was a deacon who loved helping with church construction projects, cooking at the monthly men’s breakfast and being a sound operator during worship services. After his retirement from Halliburton Services, he and his wife, Joan, went on many mission trips. He helped the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief Team serve meals in the Beaumont area after Hurricane Rita. He is survived by his wife of 48 years; son, Mike; daughter, Jaye Hansen; and six grandchildren.

Louis Vannatter, 71, June 7 in Medina. He was the retired pastor of First Church in Bandera, where he served five years. He was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a machine gunner, aircraft electrician, a training instructor, curriculum writer, and as a briefer of VIPs, including the vice president of the United States and many generals. One of his most exciting jobs was to work on the crew of a C-130 that penetrated typhoons for weather readings in the Pacific. He ministered in many Texas communities including Bulverde, Fredricksburg, San Antonio and Chacon Lake. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Sandra; daughters, Deena Pate, Rhonda Patchett, Shannon Carbery and Alex Wooldridge; sons, Grant, Nathan, and Jordan; brothers, Bill and Wilburn; sisters, Jeane Bannister and Patricia Ross; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Bryce Sandlin, 82, June 10 in Birmingham, Ala. He served in the Western Pacific during World War II, and that was when he was baptized by an Army Air Corps chaplain. Following his military service and while attending Howard Payne University, he was ordained in 1949. His first full-time pastorate was at University Church in Portales, N.M. After serving as a Bible instructor and director of the Baptist Student Union at New Mexico State University, he became director of student ministries with the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. He later served with the Home Mission Board before coming back to Howard Payne in 1974 as professor of Bible and Hebrew. He was made dean of the School of Christian studies in 1984 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1988. He also served as a trustee of New Orleans Seminary eight years. After his retirement, he moved to Levelland, where he was interim pastor in churches scattered around the South Plains and a men’s Sunday school teacher at First Church in Levelland. He and his wife moved to Birmingham in 2007 to be close to some of their children and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, LaVerne; sons, Allan, Mark and Woody; brother, Doral; seven grandchildren.

Lois Rogge, 83, June 14 in Midland. A Hardin-Simmons graduate, she began her teaching career at Buckner Children’s Home in Dallas, and then worked several years at Coggin Avenue Church in Brownwood and taught school in Rotan. She moved to Midland in 1955, and continued to work with children. After retiring from the Midland school district, she became minister of childhood education at First Church in Midland, where she established the Child Development Center and helped design a wing of the children’s building.


Comunidad Casa de Alfarero in Houston will recognize Pastor Leopoldo Mata for his 21 years of service July 3.

Cass County Cowboy Church in Atlanta will celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy, July 26, with a full day of western activities. Included is a western trades day with all manner of goods from bits and spurs to leather goods, saddles and western decor on hand. A jackpot barrel race also will be held. At 2 p.m. ranch rodeo teams will begin a competition in four ranch events. A live concert will begin at 7 p.m. Throughout the day there will be a working chuckwagon and many other foods from the church kitchen. A bucking machine also will be available. For more information, call (903) 799-SPUR. Frank Locke is pastor.


First Church, Como; June 29-July 2; evangelists, Billy and Winky Foote; no pastor.

First Church, Hull; June 29-July 2; evangelist, Paul Cherry; music, The Cherry Family; pastor, Cliff Gravitt.

Friendship Church, Pecan Gap; July 6-9; evangelists, Billy and Winky Foote; pastor, Curtis French.

Cornerstone Church in Raywood; July 6-9; evangelist, Paul Cherry; music, The Cherry Family; pastor, Chuck Fountain.

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