News Archives: School of Christian Studies

HPU assistant professor publishes books on women in missions

Melody Maxwell books for webBROWNWOOD – July 22, 2014 – Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, recently published two books analyzing the role of women in missions and church leadership.

Dr. Maxwell’s most recent work, “The Woman I Am: Southern Baptist Women’s Writings, 1906-2006,” references Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) publications and traces developing thought patterns regarding the role of women in missions and church leadership throughout the 20th century. The book was published by University of Alabama Press in early July.

Released in April, Dr. Maxwell’s first book, “Torches in the Corridor: 125 Years of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union,” is an expansion of a thesis she published as an undergraduate student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. The book features historical profiles of leaders within Tennessee WMU. Dr. Maxwell had the opportunity to premiere her work at the group’s annual meeting in April.

“It is fascinating to look at the ways that changing American culture has affected Southern Baptist women’s roles,” she said. “Over the past century, Baptist women have advocated and filled positions from missionary homemaker to ordained pastor. My books explore these changes and how they were received by Southern Baptists, both women and men.”

Maxwell also has firsthand experience with her subject matter.

“I grew up in Tennessee, where I met leaders in WMU who helped shape my vocation and my life,” she said. “I also served on the national WMU staff, where I observed trends among Baptist women in the 21st century.”

“The Woman I Am” is available for purchase on Amazon and directly through the publisher at http://www.uapress.ua.edu/. “Torches in the Corridor” is available for purchase from Tennessee WMU by calling (615) 371-2038.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, recently published two books on the role of women in missions and church leadership.

HPU faculty member publishes book on worship and the Baptist faith

Hatch with book for webBROWNWOOD – June 20, 2014 – Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, recently co-edited “Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship,” a collection of essays examining how worship shapes the Baptist faith.

Penned by pastors and scholars from across the United States, the essays take a close look at the act of liturgy or corporate worship. According to Dr. Hatch, a reoccurring metaphor throughout the book views worship as a “seamless garment.”

“Baptists often think of worship as comprised of individual acts such as sermons, music, greeting periods and a time of invitation,” he said. “But ‘Gathering Together’ seeks to examine how each act reinforces the others and serves to strengthen church communities.”

Dr. Hatch stated that the purpose of the book is not to promote or emphasize one style of worship over another, but rather to encourage intentional and theological reflection on these acts by ministers and churchgoers.

“Regardless of style, we want Baptists to think intentionally about worship and to constantly move toward a ‘seamless garment,’” he said.

“Gathering Together” is co-edited by Rodney Wallace Kennedy, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and directly from the publisher at www.wipfandstock.com.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, discusses his new book, “Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship,” at a recent book-signing event on campus.

HPU group travels to Slovakia for cross-cultural mission trip

HPU Slovakia group for webBROWNWOOD – June 13, 2014 – Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at Howard Payne University, and five students from her spring International Missions Practicum course recently traveled to Važec, Slovakia, for a week-long mission experience. The course, required for all cross-cultural studies majors, is designed to give students firsthand experience in cross-cultural ministry.

The group led ministry activities among the Roma and Slovak people and learned from the missiology of Shane and Dianne McNary, the field personnel with whom they served.

“We spent the semester at HPU learning about the history and culture of the Roma, a minority group in Europe that is often mistreated, and were grateful to get to serve among the Roma in Slovakia and learn from the McNarys’ long-term ministry there,” Dr. Maxwell said.

Ministry activities included teaching English in a local school, leading a daily kids club and planning various evening activities. According to Dr. Maxwell, she and the students prepared both academically and spiritually for the trip.

“We studied best practices in short-term missions and prepared for the specific activities we would lead during our trip,” she said. “Among other assignments, students kept journals while in Slovakia and submitted a reflection paper after we returned. All of these activities helped class members grow academically as well as personally through the trip. It was exciting to see students grow in their cross-cultural leadership abilities as we served together.”

The reflection papers reveal the students’ improved knowledge of international missions.

“The biggest thing I feel I can take as a challenge from this trip is that I need to really try to love everyone as God loves everyone,” wrote Mackenzie Gill, a junior from Brownwood.

Sean Locker, a senior from North Richland Hills, wrote, “From this trip I’ve been better able to understand the importance of reading and experiencing different cultures and how it all pertains to global missions. Now that I’ve seen and experienced so much with my own senses I want to study about the world and its affairs all the more.”

In addition to Gill and Locker, students on the trip included Faye Lasserre, senior from Brownwood; Rachel Runnels, senior from Paradise; and Jack Wells, senior from Terrell.

According to Dr. Maxwell, cross-cultural experiences remind students and faculty alike that God’s kingdom is much bigger than HPU, Texas and the United States.

“Experiences like this allow us to participate in the work that God is doing around the world,” she said. “What a privilege!”

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Photo cutline: A group from HPU stands with missionary Dianne McNary in Važec, Slovakia. From left: Jack Wells, Sean Locker, Mackenzie Gill, Dianne McNary, Dr. Melody Maxwell and Faye Lasserre.

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.