Fletcher Seminary has Baugh Foundation backing

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More than a year after supporters of Logsdon Theological Seminary announced their intention to launch a seminary at Baptist Temple in San Antonio, the planned school has secured significant financial support from a prominent family foundation.

Jesse C. Fletcher Seminary—named for the 14th president of Hardin-Simmons University—announced March 24 it had received “a generous award” from the San Antonio-based Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.

Seminary leaders characterized the grant as a major lead gift that will provide financial stability for the school’s start-up phase. Classes are expected to launch in the fall.

Don Williford

“The Baugh Foundation’s generosity will help us launch with a strong footing, and put us on a good path to meeting the challenges of theological education in the 21st century,” said Don Williford, founding president of Fletcher Seminary and dean of Logsdon Seminary from 2011 to 2017.

“We place a high value on creative, inclusive and generous partnerships with a variety of like-minded organizations, and the Baugh Foundation clearly shares those values with Fletcher. We look forward to a fruitful and productive partnership for years to come.”

Two years ago, HSU trustees approved a recommendation from the university’s administration to begin the process of closing Logsdon Seminary. Citing a $4 million deficit, university leaders asserted the graduate program in theology was not financially sustainable.

Continuing the Logsdon ‘legacy’

Fletcher Seminary supporters see themselves as carrying on the Logsdon legacy.

Logsdon Seminary chapel (Photo by John Whitten)

“Fletcher Seminary is founded by former administrators, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the former Logsdon Seminary in Abilene,” the school’s website states.

“With more than 200-plus years of experience in theological education, we are uniquely qualified to continue that legacy of academic excellence and providing preparation and training for the ministry in the church and in the community and culture.”

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Saying it “aspires to stand apart from other seminaries in south Texas,” Fletcher Seminary identifies itself as “fully ecumenical” and “committed to innovation in theological education.” It has set a goal of being “the most practically driven seminary in Texas,” and it has pledged to be “flexible in class delivery, offering hybrid model classes.”

Four institutions related to the Baptist General Convention of Texas provide graduate-level theological education in South Texas.

Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary announced in May 2020 its plans to launch an extension campus in San Antonio. In March 2021, Truett announced it would begin offering courses the next fall semester leading to the Master of Divinity degree at its San Antonio location at Trinity Baptist Church, as well as its Houston location. Truett in San Antonio also offers the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree and the Master of Theological Studies degree.

Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio School of Christian Studies also offers several graduate Christian ministry degrees—the Master of Divinity, the Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and the Master of Arts in Theological Studies.

Stark College and Seminary —which focuses on providing ministry training to under-served populations—offers the Master of Arts in Ministry degree. Based in Corpus Christi, Stark also offers classes in San Antonio, McAllen and Victoria.

Houston Baptist University’s Houston Theological Seminary offers the Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of ministry degree, as well as Master of Arts programs in Christian leadership, theological studies, apologetics, intercultural studies, biblical languages, and classics and early Christianity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The final paragraph of the article was added March 31 to include information about Houston Theological Seminary that was not included in the version as originally posted.

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