Midwestern trustees celebrate Spurgeon Library acquisition, approve Spurgeon, Missouri Chairs
Kansas City – The Charles H. Spurgeon Chair of Biblical Preaching and the Missouri Baptist Chair of Partnership Missions, two historic faculty endowment positions for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS), were approved by the Board of Trustees Oct. 16.
“The establishment of the chairs was basically the highlight of the meeting,” said Trustee Chairman Gene Downing, “We’ve never had chairs before, but we’ve known for some time that we need them.”
“To come to the point in time when we can make it happen – it doesn’t get any better than that! It’s a milestone. Previously, we haven’t had the money to do it, but God’s really been blessing abundantly, through the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Spurgeon Library,” Downing continued.
Acquisition of the Charles Haddon Spurgeon Library, a collection which has more than 6,000 volumes representing the subject areas of literature, theology, travel, biography, science, hymnody, history and humor, with religion being the largest category from the 19th century, was also the highlight of MBTS President R. Philip Roberts’ report.
“The establishment of the Charles Haddon Spurgeon Chair of Biblical Preaching provides a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Roberts. “Through the creation of this chair, we trust that Spurgeon will become an active example of Christ-centered proclamation and warm-hearted evangelism.”
The Board of Trustees reinforced this significant landmark by approving a recommendation to establish the Charles H. Spurgeon Chair of Biblical Preaching to ensure the utilization and promotion of the newly-acquired collection; and as a distinctive means to honor both the Collection and Spurgeon himself.
In addition, an annual conference called the Spurgeon Conference on Biblical Preaching will be regularly scheduled on pertinent themes featuring outstanding Baptist pastors and theologians who will be featured as an integral part of each conference.
Portions of the Collection will be on display immediately in MBTS’ existing library; while the remaining parts will be initially housed in a climate-controlled library annex for classification, cataloguing and restoration.
The Collection costing $400,000 was paid for out of the Seminary’s reserves. While an additional $200,000 will be needed to fully restore the collection, Midwestern received a matching gift of $50,000 to begin the process.
The Long-Range Planning Committee announced the anticipated sale of 30 acres of land in the southwest corner of the seminary’s property on Nov. 8. A motion was passed to allow the president to execute the necessary documents for the sale of the land on behalf of, and in accordance with the stipulations agreed upon by, the Board.
In a complementary action, the Trustees voted unanimously to approve the establishment of the Missouri Baptist Chair of Partnership Missions utilizing $200,000 from the pending land sale to match the gift of the Missouri Baptist Convention given to the MBTS missions/evangelism endowment fund.
“This will be one of the most important contributions Missouri Baptists could make to MBTS. We’re excited about the tremendous impact potential,” said Missouri Baptist Convention President Ralph Sawyer.
Student Development reported that the final report recorded enrollment at 1,096, which is a 21.9 percent increase over 899 the preceding year.
“We’re very pleased that we’ve had several years of record headcount and have broken through that thousand-student ceiling this past year,” said Roberts.
There has been an encouraging growth through the addition of the Midwestern Baptist College established two years ago.
Students enrolled at the Kansas City campus location accounted for 77% (841) of the total headcount. These included students in the doctoral, first professional, masters, undergraduate and WISDOM programs. The remaining 23 percent (255) of the students were enrolled in extension courses in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota.
Enrollment at Midwestern has grown steadily over the past three years. The 2005-2006 headcount is up 56 percent (395) over the 2002-2003 reported headcount of 701. Annual credit hours taken have increased by 57 percent over the past five years from 6,525 in 2000-2001 to 10,236 in 2005-2006.
As a result of the growth, the Board authorized Roberts to build 18 new student housing units following the pending land sale. Apartment complex design is in process with ground breaking expected this winter or early spring 2007.
To meet the needs of increasing student enrollment, the Executive Committee authorized Institutional Advancement to submit an $8.7 million capital campaign proposal to the SBC Executive Committee in order to build a new chapel and increase library space. Funds generated by the new capital campaign will be coupled with approximately $4 million in proceeds from the land sale to make these expansions.
“This is a special blessing because we’ve realized a number of years ago that housing was a concern,” said Downing, “Now that we can make this happen, it is especially gratifying. It shows that we’ve come a long way to be able to put back into our infrastructure the ability to house the increase in student enrollment.”
The Academic Affairs Committee reported the additions of the three new faculty members: Drs. Frederick Cardoza II, Eric Foley and N. Blake Hearson.
Cardoza joins MBTS as associate director for the professional doctoral program, director of distance learning, and the associate dean of Midwestern Baptist College. He obtained a doctor of education in leadership at Southern Seminary, in addition to completing the coursework for a Ph.D. in Christian education at Southern, and has earned a M.A. in Christian education from Southeastern Seminary and a B.S. in youth ministries from Liberty University.
Foley joins MBTS as assistant professor of church music. He received his D.M.A. in choral conducting performance from the University of Kansas, masters of music and bachelors of science in vocal music education major from University of Missouri in Columbia.
Hearson has been appointed assistant professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. He earned his doctorate and a master of philosophy degree in Hebraic and cognate studies from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., and the master and bachelor of arts degrees from Wheaton College, in Wheaton Ill.
Roberts also expressed gratitude for the Lord’s blessing through the Cooperative Program, the churches who give to it, and the 2.73% increase in CP giving this year.
The next scheduled meeting is March 19 to 20, 2007 in Kansas City.