Marshall wants to help alma mater any way he can
NOBTS graduate still holds deep affection for stricken seminary
By Allen Palmeri
Septmeber 20, 2005
SPRINGFIELD– John Marshall, pastor of the 6,400-member Second Baptist Church, Springfield, received the Distinguished Alumni award from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) in 2004. Now he wonders every day about what the future holds for his alma mater, flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and tenuous in terms of its long-term prognosis in an evacuated city.
“I think the best way to put it is I’m just stunned,” Marshall said.
“It’s a very heart-wrenching and a very sad situation for me. I hope they’re going to come back with full guns blazing and rebuild that campus, and I hope that we at Second will be right in the middle of it.”
Marshall said he would love it if his church decided to adopt the seminary during this time of crisis. For now, Second is doing all that it can, as part of the greater Southern Baptist effort, to send as much relief as possible to the hurricane-ravaged area. On Sept. 4, $53,000 was collected in a special offering for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. And church members are doing more than just writing checks, Marshall said.
“We’re going to send a (disaster relief) team once a week for the next month into McComb, Miss.,” Marshall said.
It is important right now for Missouri Baptist churches to find a way to get in touch with the hurricane victims, Marshall said. For example, Second has adopted First Baptist Church, Covington, La., as a means of putting a face on the crisis to remember it once it starts to fade from daily prominence on the news broadcasts. Second is sending food and other items to First Covington so that the Louisiana church can be strengthened as a distribution point for disaster relief.
“I would really recommend that churches find a specific church to help,” Marshall said. “Then you have someone you’re dealing with directly, and all of a sudden the tragedy becomes personalized. You now have a face and a name to it. That will motivate your people to keep going.”
Marshall said he has no doubt that God’s people will do everything they can to minister in the midst of the suffering as ambassadors of hope.
“Christianity shines in the time of crisis,” he said. “We’ve always been the first ones to respond. We do the most and we stay the longest, and I’m sure this will be no different this time.”