News Archives: School of Christian Studies

HPU’s Currie-Strickland lectures address work and rest in the Christian lifestyle

Dr. Beth Newman lecture for webBROWNWOOD – March 3, 2014 – Large groups of Howard Payne University students, personnel and area residents attended the university’s seventh annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics recently, as Dr. Beth Newman of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond addressed the issue of “Work and Rest: Vice, Virtues and Christian Practices.”

“Dr. Newman’s lectures were insightful and thought-provoking,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies. “Some of us are still talking and thinking about significant issues of resting in God’s gift of rest. As Dr. Newman says, ‘God’s gift of true rest heals our restless (slothful) selves.’ In addition to bringing significant content, Dr. Newman connected with her audience very well. As a result, these lectures were a great experience for us here at HPU.”

Dr. Newman is the Eula Mae and John Baugh Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duke University.

Dr. Newman joined the faculty of BTSR in 2002 after serving on the faculty at Saint Mary’s College, in Notre Dame, Ind., for 12 years. She is the author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers (Brazos Press, 2007) and Attending the Wounds on Christ’s Body: Teresa’s Scriptural Vision (Cascade Books, 2012). She currently serves on the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity and has participated in Baptist World Alliance Conversations with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. She is on the editorial board of Studies in Baptist History and Thought and has helped plan and lead the Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy. She was named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2009. Her husband, Jon Baker, is a United Methodist pastor and they have a daughter, Jessica (16), and a son, Jacob (13).

Currie-Strickland group photo for webDuring the event, four students were honored by HPU faculty as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology. Recognized for their achievements were Lillie Davis, senior cross-cultural studies major from Lampasas; Rick Henderson, senior Christian education major from Plainview; Jared Huntley, senior Bible major from Brownwood; and Zach Tharp, senior youth ministry major from Brownwood.

“These outstanding students have excelled in the areas of Christian ethics and theology,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies. “We are immensely proud of all of their hard work here at Howard Payne, and we look forward to the great things they will accomplish in the future.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

students recognized during currie-strickland for web

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Currie-Strickland group photo: The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Gary and Mrs. Molli Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Mr. Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. From left: Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; Dr. Clark Elliston, son of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston; Mrs. Molli Elliston; Dr. Beth Newman, guest speaker; Mrs. Carolyn Strickland, wife of the late Mr. Phil Strickland; Mrs. Loretta Currie, wife of Dr. David Currie; and Dr. David Currie.

Dr. Beth Newman: Dr. Beth Newman of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond addressed the issue of “Work and Rest: Vice, Virtues and Christian Practices.”

Students recognized during Currie-Strickland: Four students were named Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology during the event. From left: Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies; Zach Tharp, senior youth ministry major from Brownwood; Jared Huntley, senior Bible major from Brownwood; Rick Henderson, senior Christian education major from Plainview; Lillie Davis, senior cross-cultural studies major from Lampasas; and Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of the School of Christian Studies.

HPU’s Currie-Strickland lectures to be held Feb. 20 and 21

Dr. Beth Newman for webBROWNWOOD – January 29, 2014 – Howard Payne University will hold the seventh annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics next month with Dr. Beth Newman of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond addressing the issue of “Work and Rest: Vice, Virtues and Christian Practices.” The public is invited to attend the lectures at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, and 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21.

Thursday evening’s lecture is titled “Sloth is Hard Work.” On Friday morning, Dr. Newman will discuss “Rest and Re-creation: The Lord’s Supper as Divine Plenitude.”

“We’re looking forward to Dr. Newman’s lectures as she addresses these important issues for Christians in today’s society,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “These lectures are designed to be interesting and thought-provoking for anyone interested in Christian theology. You do not have to be a student or a minister to benefit from attending.”

Dr. Newman is the Eula Mae and John Baugh Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duke University.

Dr. Newman joined the faculty of BTSR in 2002 after serving on the faculty at Saint Mary’s College, in Notre Dame, Ind., for 12 years. She is the author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers (Brazos Press, 2007) and Attending the Wounds on Christ’s Body: Teresa’s Scriptural Vision (Cascade Books, 2012). She currently serves on the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity and has participated in Baptist World Alliance Conversations with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. She is on the editorial board of Studies in Baptist History and Thought and has helped plan and lead the Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy. She was named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2009. Her husband, Jon Baker, is a United Methodist pastor and they have a daughter, Jessica (16), and a son, Jacob (13).

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Both lectures will take place in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of the university’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. Attendees may RSVP online at www.hputx.edu/currie-strickland, by phone at (325) 649-8403 or by e-mail at currie-strickland@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Beth Newman is the guest lecturer for Howard Payne University’s seventh annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics to be held Feb. 20 and 21.

HPU to host Lectures in Christian Scriptures event

robert ellisBROWNWOOD – November 4, 2013 – Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies will host guest lecturer Dr. Robert R. Ellis, Phillips Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Hardin-Simmons University, during HPU’s fall Lectures in Christian Scriptures tomorrow, November 5, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Ellis’ presentation is titled “Amos: Prophet of Economic Justice for Our Day.” Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies, calls this a “timely topic.”

“Dr. Bob Ellis does a great job of applying the words of the Old Testament prophets to our contemporary circumstances and situations,” said Dr. Auvenshine. “Given the widespread discussion of economic issues, including economic justice issues, this should be an insightful and thought-provoking lecture.”

Dr. Ellis is the brother of Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president. For more information about the event, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403.

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Photo cutline: HPU will host Dr. Robert R. Ellis tomorrow evening during the university’s fall Lectures in Christian Scriptures event.

Students can earn two degrees in five years with new HPU accelerated degree program

BROWNWOOD – July 24, 2013 – Beginning this fall, students in Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies will have the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in as few as five years.

Through the Accelerated Program in Christian Studies, a student will complete 75 hours toward an undergraduate degree, choosing from any of the Christian studies majors – Bible, biblical languages, Christian education, cross-cultural studies, practical theology and youth ministry.

If the student maintains a minimum GPA of 3.0, he or she may then apply for admission to the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry program or the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry program. Upon acceptance, the student will complete 12 hours of graduate coursework, which counts toward the undergraduate degree requirements as well as toward a 42-hour graduate degree.

“The Accelerated Program in Christian Studies provides a tremendous opportunity for our undergraduate students, and we are thrilled that so many of them are expressing interest,” said Dr. Gary Gramling, director of the programs and professor of Christian studies. “We feel that this program will help us accomplish our mission of preparing students for the ministries to which God has called them.”

HPU hosts Super Summer camp for Christian youth

Blue School by Old Main for webBy Kendyl Moore, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – July 15, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently hosted Super Summer, a youth leadership camp created by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The camp ran from June 24 through June 28, and 458 eighth graders to high school graduates attended. Among the leaders present were 40 HPU alumni, faculty or current students.

Super Summer was created in 1974 for the training and teaching of Christian students. Originally a cooperative effort by several churches in the Dallas area, Super Summer has grown to include many churches and camps across the state and is held at five Baptist university campuses.

“Since Super Summer returned to HPU three years ago, I have brought a group of students from our student ministry,” said Tim Stary, a 2007 HPU graduate and youth pastor from First Baptist Church in Salado. “The impact of Super Summer is huge, and many of the students had life-changing experiences with God while here.”

The camp is designed to be a challenging week of discipleship training for young Christian leaders. Students attend small-group sessions, worship services, lectures, games and other activities. The campers are divided into color-coded schools by grade. This year, HPU was the only location to offer the Purple School, designed specifically for students who feel called to ministry.

Although there were a wide variety of activities happening on campus, the week proceeded smoothly. Wolverton family for web

“Howard Payne has always done a wonderful job of rolling out the red carpet for us,” stated Leighton Flowers, director of Super Summer and youth evangelism at the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “This year’s camp went as smoothly as ever.”

Also available through Super Summer is a leadership forum for youth pastors. The leadership forum provides an opportunity for youth pastors to ask questions, present concerns and have them answered by other leaders and educators.

“We feel so honored to have hosted Super Summer weeks on our campus for the past three years,” said Dr. Gary Gramling ’81, director of HPU’s youth ministry program and professor of Christian studies. “It is an opportunity for Howard Payne University to serve as the setting for an intensive week of discipleship for some of the finest Christian students in Texas. We are grateful to God and to Texas Baptists for allowing us to be a part of such an important week in the lives of students.”

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Photo cutlines: Members of the Super Summer “Blue School” pass by HPU’s Old Main Tower while on campus for Super Summer 2013.

Kelly Wolverton, center, Super Summer recreation director and pastor of Adamsville Baptist Church near Lampasas, stops for a photo with daughters Kelsan, left, and Sharon. Kelsan is an HPU sophomore and member of the summer camp staff and Sharon will be a freshman at the university this fall.

HPU students recognized as 2013 Young Maston Scholars through HSU

maston_scholars_for_webBROWNWOOD – April 26, 2013 – Two Howard Payne University students were recognized recently as 2013 Young Maston Scholars during the T.B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics, an annual conference hosted by Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary.

Trent Gainey, a junior biblical languages major from Kermit, and Joshua Puckett, a senior Bible major from Hobbs, N.M., were nominated for the honor by Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies, and other HPU faculty members.

“Trent and Joshua are outstanding examples of the caliber of those studying through HPU’s School of Christian Studies,” Dr. Auvenshine said. “They daily live out their commitments to Christ in everything they do. We could not be prouder of their accomplishments.”

The Young Maston Scholar designation is awarded by Hardin-Simmons University in conjunction with nominations made by HPU and other Texas Baptist-partnering universities in an effort to recognize outstanding undergraduate students for their interest in, engagement with and integration of Christian ethics.

Nominations are based upon a student’s demonstrated faithfulness to the ethical example of Christ; a commitment to Christian ethics lived out in theological inquiry and academic excellence; an established reputation among peers for ethical Christian leadership; and an articulated clarity in an occupational expression of ministry, though it is not required to be in a congregational setting.

In addition to receiving formal recognition during this year’s lectures, Gainey and Puckett participated in an auxiliary ethics retreat sponsored by the T.B. Maston Foundation, as well as an exclusive ethics roundtable with this year’s Maston Lecturer, Dr. Molly Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan.

Both the Young Maston Scholar designation and the T.B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics seek to honor the legacy of Dr. T.B. Maston, longtime professor of Christian ethics and pioneering Baptist ethicist, known for his writing and teaching in the areas of biblical ethics, race relations, family life, the Christian life and vocation, church and state, and character formation.

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Photo cutline: Two Howard Payne University students were named 2013 Young Maston Scholars by Hardin-Simmons University. They are pictured with Young Maston Scholars from partnering universities. Bottom row (left to right): Joshua Puckett (HPU), David Bertrand (University of Mary-Hardin Baylor), Yvonne Harold (UMHB), Jorge Arias (East Texas Baptist University); Middle row: Deborah Isosaki (Baptist University of the Américas), Jordan Upchurch (ETBU); Top row: Matthew Molina (Wayland Baptist University), Kendra Holt (HSU), Venantie Uwishyaka (HSU), Adrianna Martinez (Baptist University of the Américas), Andrew Humphrey (Baylor University), Trent Gainey (HPU).

Photo and information in news release was provided by HSU Communications

HPU students recognized by faculty for achievements in Christian studies

student_award_recipients_with_dr_hatch_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 8, 2013 – Four students in Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies were honored as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology during the Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics held recently on the HPU campus.

The students included Jessica Baniewicz, a senior cross-cultural studies and Spanish major from Plano; Colton Curry, a senior practical theology major from Lubbock; EJ Davila, a senior psychology major (with emphasis in psychology and ministry) from Brownwood; and Mary Vasquez, a junior biblical languages and English major from Blanket.

“The faculty of the School of Christian Studies honored these individuals, among our many hard-working and gifted students, based on our evaluation of their achievement in their courses and the ways in which they have excelled in thinking in, and related to, the fields of Christian ethics and theology,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.

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Photo cutline: Four HPU students were honored during a recent event on campus. From left are Mary Vasquez, EJ Davila, Colton Curry, Jessica Baniewicz and Dr. Derek Hatch.

HPU’s Perspectives Conference explores ministering in changing cultures

chuck_gartman_perspectives_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently hosted its second annual Perspectives Conference, an event which brings together youth ministry professionals to explore the many facets of their field of ministry. Among the participants were HPU undergraduate and graduate students as well as other youth ministers from around the state.

This year’s theme was “Penetrating the Cultures with the Gospel,” and covered ways to minister in a lost culture, a changing community culture, a changing youth culture and more.

Guest speakers included Dr. Mary Carpenter, former missionary and retired professor of cross-cultural ministries at HPU; Danny Dawdy, director and CEO of Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center in Spicewood; Elias Garcia, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Plainview; Dr. Allen Jackson, professor of youth ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and adjunct faculty member at HPU; Mike Satterfield, lecturer and staff evangelist at Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington; and Jane Wilson, youth ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“We are grateful for good attendance and especially for mutual encouragement and insight gained from sitting around the table with other youth ministers, discussing topics that are so vital to effective ministry,” said Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of the youth ministry graduate program. “Our hope is that this conference provided a context in which ‘iron sharpens iron’ as youth ministers learned from our speakers and engaged in dialogue with one another.”

The third annual Perspectives Conference is slated for the spring 2014 semester. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403.

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Photo cutline: Chuck Gartman, adjunct faculty member in HPU’s School of Christian Studies, addresses youth ministers gathered for the second annual Perspectives Conference.

HPU’s Currie-Strickland lectures addresses issues of Christian moral discernment

holloway_speaking_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 5, 2013 – Howard Payne University held its sixth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics, Feb. 28-March 1 on the HPU campus.

Guest lecturer Dr. Jeph Holloway, professor of theology and ethics at East Texas Baptist University, addressed the topic of “The Practice of Christian Moral Discernment.”

“Dr. Holloway’s lectures were both thought- and action-provoking,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “He challenged the audience to carefully and prayerfully consider the way we live out our faith as Christians.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.currie-strickland_group_shot_for_web

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Photo cutlines: Dr. Jeph Holloway was the guest speaker at the recent Currie-Strickland lectures on the HPU campus.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie and the memory of Mr. Phil Strickland. From left are Dr. Bill and Dr. Diana Ellis, Dr. Jeph and Mrs. Joy Holloway, Dr. David and Mrs. Loretta Currie, Mrs. Carolyn and Mr. Danny Slaughter (sister and brother-in-law of Mr. Currie).

Group from HPU recalls trip to Israel

auvenshine_at_israel_lecture_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 5, 2013 – Several faculty, staff and students from Howard Payne University gathered recently to share with peers their reflections from a trip to Israel. The group returned from the Holy Land in January with more than just suitcases full of souvenirs – they brought back memories to last a lifetime.

Seven of the 23 who journeyed to Israel spoke at the semester’s first installment of the University Colloquium Series, events designed to provide a forum for interdisciplinary conversations among faculty, staff and students with a wide-ranging scope of topics in focus.

“These colloquia, or conversations, allow a broad sense of learning as well as fascinating engagement with other fields of study within the context of a community of scholars and teachers,” said Dr. Danny Brunette-López, chair of the modern languages department and associate professor of Spanish.

Dr. Brunette-López organizes the University Colloquium Series with Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.

Speaking about their trip to Israel were Nancy Anderson, dean of libraries and professor of library science; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Dr. Bill Fowler, assistant professor of Christian studies; Dr. Gary Gramling, director of the youth ministry graduate program and professor of Christian studies; Coby Kestner, director of media relations; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, assistant professor of education; and Clarissa Toler, a sophomore Bible major from Duncanville.

Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Gramling have led many HPU trips to Israel.

“We enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the interesting experiences we had during our trip,” Dr. Auvenshine said of the Colloquium event. “I am always fascinated by the different things that impress each one of us. Dr. Gramling and I love to take people to Israel and expose them to biblical history and geography, as well as the contemporary cultures and political circumstances of modern Israel.”

The group toured the country for 11 days, tracing the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Among many other notable sites, the HPU group visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, thought to be built over the location where Jesus was born; the Garden of Gethsemane where, according to the Gospels, Jesus and His disciples prayed before He was arrested and crucified; and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb, each thought to be the place where the body of Jesus was placed and where He subsequently was resurrected.israel_group_in_qumran_for_web

The group also visited sites crucial to Jesus’ ministry including the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum and Sepphoris.
“This trip has made the Bible more real for me,” said Dr. Fowler. “As I read the Gospels, I go back and visit Jerusalem, Galilee – I get to go back and visit it over and over again. Now when I show pictures in class, I show my own pictures.”

Others on the trip included Allison Auvenshine and Sande Auvenshine of Brownwood; Phillip Bertrand, a December 2012 graduate from Early; Hannah Gramling, a May 2012 graduate from Brownwood; PJ Gramling, director of admission; Dustin MacTavish and Jo Beth MacTavish, alumni from Houston; Cooper Morelock and Scott Morelock of Brownwood; Dr. Frankie Rainey, a former HPU faculty member; David Taylor and Zac Taylor of Corsicana; Amy Fowler-Tennison and Thane Tennison of Round Rock; Edmond Wheeless of Brownwood; and Brandi Wright, senior youth ministry major from Farmington, N.M.

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Photo cutlines: While in Israel, the HPU group and their tour guide paused to take a photo at Qumran, the discovery place of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of the School of Christian Studies at HPU, discusses a recent trip he led to Israel during the semester’s first installment of the University Colloquium Series.