News Archives: School of Christian Studies

HPU’s accelerated Christian studies program provides the opportunity to earn two degrees in five years

Dr. Wheelington grad class 2018BROWNWOOD – May 31, 2018 – Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies offers its majors the opportunity to complete either a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry or a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry one year after completing an undergraduate degree.

Students who have completed 75 hours of classes and have a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply for entry to the accelerated master’s program. In the accelerated program, students take 12 hours of graduate classes as a part of their undergraduate studies. These hours also count toward a 42-hour graduate degree.

Anna Lauren Jeffers is a graduate student in the program set to graduate in December 2018. She is currently serving at West University Baptist Church in Houston as the KidStuff preschool ministry director. Because of this position, she has been able to see how the program is benefiting her.

“I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to work towards my master’s degree while also being surrounded and supported by professors who cared about me as a student, a person and a minister,” said Jeffers. “I am able to be a better minister because of this investment.”

The accelerated master’s program was begun in 2012 to allow Christian studies majors to efficiently earn a graduate degree. At HPU, there is financial assistance available to graduate students in the School of Christian Studies.

“We offer a church match scholarship for grad students,” said Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of graduate programs in the School of Christian Studies. “If a church gives $100 per hour, HPU will match that.”

He added that there is an additional benefit for students of the accelerated program. Typically, graduate courses in the School of Christian Studies will include students who are currently serving as full-time ministers in churches.

“When you are in this accelerated program, you are in classes with our other grad students, so you begin to build this great network of fellow students,” said Dr. Gramling. “If you can make some lifelong friends in ministry, they will be a wonderful network of encouragement and support to you in the days to come.”

Another important feature is the focus of the Christian studies faculty, staff and students.

“This is the part in the journey where students get to come and be prepared for what it is God is calling them to do,” said Dr. Gramling. “We do not want you to major in Christian studies unless you sense God has put it in your heart to do that. That is a great thing for us though because we get to welcome in men and women who feel called by God to a certain ministry vocation.”

Jeffers noted the ways her classes in the accelerated program have taught her and encouraged growth.

“I learned valuable lessons in the classroom that challenged me to think deeper and grow in knowledge,” she said. “I also learned equally important lessons out of the classroom about serving and loving people by watching the professors at HPU embody their teaching.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Undergraduate students at HPU have the opportunity to take graduate courses through the accelerated Christian studies program.

Kaitlyn Bush pursues ministry and music at HPU

Kaitlyn BushBROWNWOOD – May 30, 2018 – Kaitlyn Bush has long had a connection to Howard Payne University. The HPU senior, majoring in practical theology and minoring in music, said living just a few miles outside of Brownwood meant the university was a familiar feature throughout her early years.

She says her youth pastors, HPU alumni Dustin Wright ’12 and Seth Pitman ’11, MATM ’15, brought their students to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’s discipleship camp Super Summer at HPU. These trips were some of her early experiences at the university.

“While at Super Summer, I got to meet members of the Christian studies department who were helping,” she said. “It seemed like a really encouraging atmosphere.”

This encouraging atmosphere and the closeness of the HPU community, found in the relationships of faculty, staff and students, is a key part of what makes the university special in Bush’s eyes.

“I feel like everyone cares about everyone,” she said. “Where else are you going to see that?”

She has found the School of Christian Studies to be full of great people with meaningful experiences. The faculty’s familiarity with a variety of ministries imparts a unique value to the education that they offer their students.

“What our Christian studies faculty are teaching us is important on its own, but also a lot of it comes from their personal experiences,” she said. “What they have experienced is not going to be very different from what we are going through or will go through as ministers, so their knowledge is very helpful.”

When she first came to HPU, Bush knew God was leading her to pursue a life serving in music ministry.

“I came to HPU to become equipped for music ministry and decided I wanted to focus on the ministry aspect of this and study toward a major in the Christian Studies department,” she said. “However, because music is a part of my calling and also a passion of mine, I chose to minor in music.”

Bush is active in the HPU music department in addition to pursuing a life of ministry. In the fall, she plays the mellophone and marching horn while also serving as a drum major. During the spring concert season, she plays in HPU’s Symphonic Band.

Music has played a significant role in her life. While in high school, Bush said she benefited from her participation in her high school’s band. In addition to spurring personal growth, music brings her enjoyment even when practicing.

“In music, there are compositions from great composers who express feeling through music,” said Bush. “Knowing this and getting to play that expression is meaningful, especially when the expression aligns with your life and experience.”

Thanks to the faculty of HPU’s music department, she has been able to follow God’s leading in an atmosphere conducive to learning about a subject she loves.

“The professors in the music department are so talented and knowledgeable,” said Bush. “They care about our lives, not just about what we are playing, but what is going on in our personal lives.”

As she nears the final year of her time at HPU, Bush reflected on what the university has meant to her life.

“Hopefully when you leave these walls you are a reflection of what you are learning and a reflection of the God you serve,” she said. “The person I was when first arriving on campus two years ago is different than the person I am now. I am definitely shaping and forming as a person and it’s because of the people pouring into my life.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Kaitlyn Bush has chosen to follow the passions God has given her, pursuing a life in music ministry.

HPU honors six students for servant leadership

Nat Tracy Servant Leader awards 2018, Josh Dykes, Jordan PitmanBROWNWOOD – May 22, 2018 – Six Howard Payne University students were recently honored for acts of servant leadership on campus and in the community. The awards were presented during HPU’s annual Servant Leadership Program.

The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was presented to spring 2018 graduates Josh Dykes and Jordan Pitman. Dykes, a native of Mount Pleasant, majored in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and youth ministry with a minor in Spanish. Pitman, a native of Bangs, majored in cross-cultural studies with a minor in psychology.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to juniors Jessica Catlett, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social work major from Alleyton; Sarah Fernandez, education major from Goliad; Caleb Kostreva, Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major and social science major from Clifton, Colorado; and Emma Reed, Guy D. Newman Honors academy major and family studies major from Arlington.

“Formally recognizing servant leadership is an indication that it is an attribute highly valued by the university,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, professor of Christian studies and dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “As a Christian university, we cherish the type of servant leadership demonstrated most clearly by Jesus Christ.”

The Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award was established in 1998 to honor the life of the late Dr. Nat Tracy, a member of HPU’s Bible faculty from 1950 to 1975.

Dykes is the son of Chris and Martha Dykes of Mount Pleasant. He was involved in the Ministerial Alliance, Student Government Association, Student Appeals Committee, Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), BSM state lead team, Mock Trial and Model United Nations and Delta Epsilon Omega Christian-service fraternity. He also served as a resident assistant in one of the men’s residence halls. Dykes received the Servant Leadership Award in 2017, made honorable mention as Model United Nations delegate in 2017, received the Model United Nations Distinguished Delegation Award in the fall of 2017 and was the outstanding youth ministry student in 2017. He serves in youth ministry at Southside Baptist Church in Brownwood and plans to spend the next year doing mission work in Gracias, Honduras, with 61 Isaiah Ministries.

Pitman is the daughter of Seth and Amy Pitman of Bangs. She was involved in the Ministerial Alliance in which she served as vice president and president, Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority, BSM, BSM state lead team, Jacket Ambassadors, Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society and Gamma Beta Phi honor society. She also served as a student worker for HPU’s University Services office running A/V for campus events. Pitman has served as a Mission Friends leader to children at Zephyr Baptist Church in Zephyr, a youth worker at First Baptist Church in Bangs and part of HPU’s summer staff working with and serving the needs of the university’s summer camps. She was honored as a Currie-Strickland Scholar in Christian Ethics and Theology in 2017 and a Young Maston Scholar in 2018. Pitman plans to finish her Master of Arts degree in theology and ministry at HPU in spring 2019. After completing her education, she plans to work in immediate-disaster-response ministry by running an organization that can monitor weather patterns and deploy relief and aid teams soon after disasters occur.

HPU Servant Leadership Awards 2018Established in 2007 by the Moore Foundation and Barney II Foundation, the HPU Servant Leadership Award recognizes student excellence in the areas of service and leadership. A $1,000 scholarship is provided to each recipient of the award, and each student designates $250 of the scholarship award to be given to his or her chosen charity.

Catlett is the daughter of Bart and Amy Catlett of Alleyton. A Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, she is also involved in the Social Work Club, BSM leadership team, Gamma Beta Phi honor society and Spring Sing committee for 2017. Catlett has also served as a resident assistant in the women’s residence hall on campus. She volunteers in the children’s AWANA program at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood and at Good Samaritan Ministries in Brownwood. She has been an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 2013. After she graduates, Catlett wants to become a licensed social worker.

Fernandez is the daughter of Lee and Nycki Fernandez of Goliad. She is involved in the BSM and Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority, in which she is the organization’s vice president for philanthropy and missions. Fernandez interns at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood and has participated many times in the “Love Brownwood” ministry that her church hosts as well as other mission- and child-related ministries. After she graduates, she plans to be a teacher and also hopes to work with victims of human-trafficking in whatever way God leads, whether by volunteering or being part of an organization that spreads awareness.

Kostreva is the son of Kyle and Michelle Kostreva of Clifton, Colorado. He is involved in the BSM through its drama ministry, community groups, student-led worship and leadership team. He is also involved in the Alpha Psi Omega theatre organization, HPU theatre, Mock Trial team and the Model United Nations team. Kostreva is a resident assistant at one of the men’s residence halls on campus and is part of the Student Government Association as well as the Christian Association of Student Leaders 2019 conference planning committee. He also studied abroad in China during 2016 and had the opportunity to volunteer at the Shanghai Healing Home, an orphanage for disabled and special-needs children. When he graduates, Kostreva plans to engage in humanitarian aid and policy development for underserved and oppressed populations throughout the world.

Reed is the daughter of Philip and Regina Reed of Arlington. A Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, she is also involved in the Model United Nations team, Gamma Beta Phi honor society and Pi Theta Chi Christian-service sorority in which she serves as meeting facilitator. Reed was also the Christian Association of Student Leaders executive committee president. After she graduates, Reed plans to become a Child Life specialist working in children’s hospitals with kids and their families. She will pursue a graduate degree and certification from the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Nominations for both the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award and the HPU Servant Leadership Award are solicited each spring from HPU employees and students.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutlines:

  1. Nat Tracy Servant Leader Awards were presented to HPU seniors Josh Dykes and Jordan Pitman.

2.  HPU Servant Leadership Awards were presented to HPU juniors, from left, Jessica Catlett, Sarah Fernandez, Caleb Kostreva and Emma Reed.

God transforms HPU senior Jordan Pitman’s passion into calling

Jordan Pitman - HPU 2018BROWNWOOD – May 3, 2018 – As Jordan Pitman, Howard Payne University senior from Bangs, would attest, God cares deeply about the individual interests and desires of His children. In fact, Pitman, who will be among the graduates crossing the Commencement stage this Saturday, has already witnessed God planting passions in her heart and beginning to cultivate them for His purpose.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to chase storms,” she said. “My favorite movie is ‘Twister’ and I watch it all the time. I knew that I wanted to study meteorology to help people understand weather patterns and to help keep them safe.”

God further clarified Pitman’s future career path through a mission opportunity in high school. While a student in the youth group at First Baptist Church of Gonzales, Pitman had her first experience with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery program. BOUNCE offers high school students the opportunity to assist communities in recovery efforts following natural disasters.

Pitman and others from her youth group traveled to Moore, Oklahoma, one year after a massive tornado ripped through the community, killing 24 people and leaving utter destruction in its wake.

“I was shocked to see how much help the community needed even after a year,” she said. “I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to come in and help after a real disaster like that.”

Though her plan from a young age had been to study weather patterns to forewarn individuals of impending storms, God used BOUNCE to show Pitman a new calling in life. Rather than chasing storms, she would be arriving in communities after disasters to serve people and help them rebuild their lives.

“It’s great that I don’t have to stray too far from a career that is related to meteorology,” she said. “It’s a blessing from God that He still uses my desires to fulfill His Kingdom work.”

Pitman, who had previously been applying to universities to study meteorology, changed her focus to ministry. Through prayer and research, God led her to HPU. She’s found HPU’s faculty and staff to be supportive spiritually as well as academically.

“I am able to tell my professors when my week has been rough and ask them for extra prayer,” she said. “I’ve also found the faculty and staff to be great resources as I continue my ministry work.”

In the summer of 2017, Pitman returned to BOUNCE as a member of the collegiate staff. She served as the communications/missions specialist as the team traveled to five relief locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. At each location, the collegiate staff of four individuals worked with a different group of high school students – around 600 in all – to provide relief and support to those in need.

“My job was to reach out to local media contacts to hopefully get them to cover the relief work we were doing in their communities,” she said. “I also promoted different future mission opportunities to the students at each location. I encourage other people to get involved, even if it’s not with BOUNCE. Through service to others, I was able to experience God in a new way by seeing how He is moving in people’s lives.”

At HPU, Pitman has continued to serve God by serving her classmates and her community. She is an active member of HPU’s Baptist Student Ministry, serving as a ministry co-leader as well as on the BSM State Lead Team. She is president of the Ministerial Alliance, which seeks to prepare men and women preparing for ministry; is a member of the Pi Theta Chi sorority; a member of HPU’s Gamma Beta Phi scholastic honor and educational-service organization; and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology students. She is also a member of Appointed, an organization that strives to encourage ministry-driven women. In addition to her work through BOUNCE, she has participated in mission opportunities through the BSM and Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.

HPU designated Pitman as a 2017 Currie-Strickland Scholar in Christian Ethics and Theology and Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary named her one of the 2018 Young Maston Scholars, an honor given each year to two students from each partnering Texas Baptist university. Additionally, Pitman was named a 2018 recipient of HPU’s Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award, given to selected HPU students in acknowledgement of their character and commitment to service honoring Jesus Christ. She was also recognized as an Outstanding Christian Studies Student during HPU’s spring Academic Awards Convocation.

A cross-cultural studies major in HPU’s Christian studies accelerated degree program – through which students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in as few as five years – Pitman will return to the HPU campus in the fall to complete her Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree.

Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of HPU’s graduate programs in Christian studies, said, in his experience, it is unusual for a person so young to have such a defined sense of what God is calling her to be and do.

“Jordan’s love for missions, compassion for others, and thoughtful approach to service combine to make her a wonderful minister,” he said. “Since I have known her, Jordan has continually articulated a sense that God is calling her to help those in need, especially those who find themselves in need due to natural disasters or other emergency situations. Because of her gifts, experience, and genuine devotion to Christ, I believe God will use Jordan greatly in the days ahead.”

HPU’s Commencement will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum. For more information and a livestream of the event, visit www.hputx.edu/commencement.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu

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Cutline: Howard Payne University senior Jordan Pitman pursues her passion through God’s calling on her life.

Commitment to service: Following God’s will is foremost for graduating HPU senior Josh Dykes

JD photo (cropped)By Seth Rainey, HPU Junior

BROWNWOOD – May 1, 2018 – As Howard Payne University senior Josh Dykes of Mount Pleasant  prepares to graduate in several days, it is clear that there has been a single overriding influence on his life. Obedience to God’s will is the reason why he is at HPU committed to ministry as a vocation and is the guiding factor in his everyday life.

A double-major in youth ministry and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy with a minor in Spanish, Dykes said he has been called to ministry from an early age. As a sophomore in high school, he felt that he wanted to go into youth ministry. He said God affirmed this interest after time spent in prayer and receiving advice from mentors.

“While looking at colleges, I contacted one of my favorite speakers from summer camp and asked him where I should attend college to study ministry,” Dykes said. “He told me, ‘Go to HPU. They have a great youth ministry program.’”

God’s leading, coupled with the speaker’s recommendation, gave Dykes confidence as he prepared to visit and choose colleges.

“On my first visit here I knew HPU was it,” he said.

He maintained a firm commitment to attending HPU. Because of finances, he remained home in Mount Pleasant for a year and studied at a local community college before transferring to HPU.
The care displayed for him by those at HPU has positively shaped his view of the university.

“Dr. Gary Gramling, a professor in the Christian Studies department, met me during my first visit to HPU,” he said. “The next year when I came to HPU, he still remembered my name and where I was from.”

Dr. Gramling noted the ways that Dykes displays care for others in his everyday interactions.

“He is always desiring to learn more and has a servant’s heart,” Dr. Gramling said. “He listens to others, genuinely cares about their needs, and does his best to meet those needs.”

Other faculty also notice how Dykes shares the love of Christ with his fellow students.

“He’s someone students are drawn to because they know he cares,” said Dr. Wheelington, professor of Christian studies. “When he asks ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘How can he pray for you?’ he really means it.”

At HPU, the university’s personnel and students foster an atmosphere conducive to fellowship, friendship and learning. To Dykes, this is an example of why HPU is a great university.

“It’s about the people,” he said. “The people make this university what it is. That’s what HPU is about.”

He added that the faculty, combined with small classes, have provided him with an atypical, positive college experience while at HPU.

“I’ve had classes go get coffee together,” he said. “Everything’s just very personable. Various faculty members, like Dr. Wheelington and Jennings Hall resident director Wes Curton, have really helped me on my walk in ministry.”

In addition to mentoring Dykes in the classroom, Dr. Wheelington serves with Dykes and another HPU student, Julie Jo Yarbro, at Southside church in Brownwood.

“As I look back over mine and Josh’s time together, I wonder if I have helped Josh or if he has helped me in my walk with the Lord. More likely the former than the latter,” said Dr. Wheelington. “And I’m glad for that.”

Dykes plays an active role in the student community of HPU. He is a resident assistant in Jennings Hall, is a member of the Model U.N. team, serves on the Student Appeals Committee and is a member of Delta Epsilon Omega. In past years at HPU, Dykes served on the leadership team of the Baptist Student Ministry, was a member of the Student Government Association and participated in Mock Trial.

Recently, he was presented with the Nat Tracy Servant Leader Award. This award is given to selected HPU students in acknowledgement of their character and commitment to service honoring Jesus Christ. He was also recognized as an Outstanding Christian Studies Student during HPU’s spring Academic Awards Convocation.

“The Lord brought me to HPU to be loved and love others,” Dykes said.

He said that the university where he has spent the past three years of life has been an important part of his walk in ministry and his personal growth as he prepares to graduate.

“If you are looking for a place to grow, especially in your faith,” he said, “you can find it at HPU.”

HPU’s Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum. For more information and a livestream of the event, visit www.hputx.edu/commencement.

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University. HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.

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Cutline: Howard Payne University senior Josh Dykes is committed to following God’s will for his life.

HPU students named 2018 Young Maston Scholars by Logsdon Seminary

HPU 2018 Maston Scholars (McIlwain, Pitman)BROWNWOOD – April 3, 2018 – Howard Payne University students Cecily McIlwain, junior from Dayton, and Jordan Pitman, senior from Bangs, were among 16 Texas Baptist students recently honored as 2018 Young Maston Scholars by Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary. The awards were announced during the 18th annual T.B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics held at Logsdon Seminary on the HSU campus in Abilene.
Each year, officials from partnering Texas Baptist universities nominate two students from their universities to become Young Maston Scholars, an award recognizing outstanding undergraduate students for their interest in, engagement with and integration of Christian ethics. Nominations for the award 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.
“It was a privilege to be named a Young Maston Scholar,” said McIlwain. “I treasure this act of affirmation from my professors. The lectures and conversations with members of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Christian Life Commission were an encouragement to my heart.”
Pitman also offered thoughts on being selected as a Young Maston Scholar for 2018.
“I was surprised when I first found out I was chosen for this award,” said Pitman. “But I was also appreciative of the Christian studies faculty for pointing out a strength that I didn’t realize I had. At the lectures, I learned a lot about how to better love people and how Christ would love those same people.”
McIlwain majors in cross-cultural studies. Pitman majors in cross-cultural studies as well and minors in psychology. Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies, nominated the pair for the award.
“While nominating only two students each year is a tough task, Cecily and Jordan are excellent students who are worthy of this honor,” said Dr. Hatch. “Not only do they exemplify the criteria for selection, but they embody the essence of what it means to be a Young Maston Scholar. All of the Christian Studies faculty members consider it an honor to nominate them, and we look forward to what God will do in their lives going forward.”
For more information about Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies, visit www.hputx.edu/christianstudies or call 325-649-8403. More information about Logsdon Seminary at Hardin-Simmons University can be found at www.logsdonseminary.org.
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Cutline: HPU students Cecily McIlwain, junior from Dayton, and Jordan Pitman, senior from Bangs, were named Young Maston Scholars during the 18th annual T.B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics held at Logsdon Seminary on the Hardin-Simmons campus in Abilene.

HPU to host CBF’s Rev. Suzii Paynter for Currie-Strickland lectures

Suzii Paynter for webBROWNWOOD – February 6, 2018 – Howard Payne University will host Rev. Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, for the university’s 11th annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics. The lectures will take place Thursday, February 15, and Friday, February 16, and are free to the public.

Centered on the theme “Women’s Leadership, Global Mission, and Course Correction,” Rev. Paynter’s lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening and 10 a.m. Friday morning. Both discussions will take place in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

According to the organization’s website, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a Christian network comprised of people and churches that work together to spread the hope of Christ. Prior to joining CBF in 2013, Rev. Paynter served in executive management of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) as the director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and as director of the Advocacy Care Center. Her tenure with Texas Baptists spanned more than a decade during which she focused on creating and managing large-scale ministry and advocacy programs.

Rev. Paynter serves on the board of Christian Ethics Today, is a member of the executive committee of the Baptist World Alliance and chairs its Human Rights Advocacy Committee. A nationally recognized faith leader and ordained deacon and Sunday School teacher of more than 40 years, Rev. Paynter has held positions of leadership in Baptist churches in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

In 2013, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty honored Rev. Paynter with the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award. Her work has also been highlighted on television programs such as Moyers in America and in print publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. In April 2014, Rev. Paynter was invited to the White House, where she discussed immigration reform with President Obama and a small group of faith leaders in the Oval Office.

“We’re honored to host Rev. Paynter and look forward to her thought-provoking discussions on women’s leadership roles and the global church,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, associate professor of Christian studies. “We invite the community to join us for these important and timely lectures.”

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.

Admission is free but reservations are requested. For reservations or more information, contact Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies by e-mail at currie-strickland@hputx.edu or by phone at 325-649-8403. More information is available online at www.hputx.edu/curriestrickland.

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Cutline: Rev. Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, will be the guest speaker for HPU’s 11th Annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics.

HPU to host lecture on Baptist heritage and distinctives next Monday

Dr BebbingtonBROWNWOOD – October 24, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host guest speaker Dr. David Bebbington next Monday, October 30, for the William M. Pinson Jr. Lectures in Baptist Heritage and Distinctives. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of HPU’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center.

Dr. Bebbington, who serves as professor of history at the University of Stirling in Scotland, will deliver a lecture titled “William Carey: Pioneer in Missions.” The event is jointly hosted by HPU, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Heart of Texas Baptist Network.

Dr. Bebbington is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. An undergraduate at Jesus College of the University of Cambridge, he began his doctoral studies there before becoming a research fellow at Fitzwilliam College. Since 1976, he has taught at the University of Stirling and has served as professor of history since 1999. He has also taught at the University of Alabama, Regent College in Vancouver, Notre Dame University, the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Baylor University.

His principal research interests are in the history of politics, religion and society in Great Britain from the 18th to the 20th century, and in the history of the global evangelical movement. He is widely known for his definition of evangelicalism, referred to as the “Bebbington quadrilateral,” which was first provided in his 1989 classic study “Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s.”

Dr. Bebbington is a longtime member of Stirling Baptist Church where he has held various positions of leadership. He is also a regular lay preacher for churches affiliated to the Baptist Union of Scotland.

Dr. Melody Maxwell, assistant professor of Christian studies at HPU, said it is an honor to have a scholar of Dr. Bebbington’s caliber on campus.

“I am excited that our students will get to interact with and learn from an expert on Baptist history,” she said.

In honor of Dr. Pinson’s significant service, the institutional ministries of the BGCT established the William M. Pinson Jr. Lectures in Baptist Heritage and Distinctives as well as an endowment fund to sustain them. Dr. Pinson, executive director emeritus of the BGCT executive board, served as executive director for 17 years prior to retiring in 2000. The lectures are held annually on the campus of one of the nine universities affiliated with the BGCT.

Dr. Don Fawcett, adjunct faculty in the School of Christian Studies at HPU, serves as network missionary for the Heart of Texas Baptist Network.

“We are honored to work with the Howard Payne University School of Christian Studies and the Baptist General Convention of Texas to host Dr. David Bebbington and this lecture on William Carey and his pioneering mission work,” he said. “This affords our local church leaders an opportunity to attend a relevant presentation offered by an accomplished scholar and churchman.”

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Cutline: Dr. David Bebbington will speak at HPU next Monday for the William M. Pinson Jr. Lectures in Baptist Heritage and Distinctives.

HPU names six faculty promotions

Faculty Promotions Fall 17BROWNWOOD – September 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University announced the promotion of six faculty members at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Celeste Church, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Kevin Kelley, Dr. Paul Lilly, Dr. José Romero and Dr. Rusty Wheelington.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these individuals,” said Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer. “The promotions granted are indicative of their hard work and faithful service to the university.”

Dr. Celeste Church, HPU faculty member since 2005 and formerly associate professor of music, was named professor of music. She additionally retains the title of dean of institutional research and effectiveness.

Dr. Gregory Church, formerly associate professor of music, has been named professor of music. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, who joined the HPU faculty in 2013, was named associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Studies. He was formerly assistant professor of organizational psychology and business.

Dr. Paul Lilly, formerly assistant professor of criminal justice, was named associate professor of criminal justice. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011 and also served as director of HPU’s Department of Public Safety from 2011 to 2017.

Dr. José Romero, previously associate professor of mathematics, was named professor of mathematics. He joined HPU’s faculty in 1996 and additionally serves as chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Rusty Wheelington, who joined the HPU faculty in 2006, was named professor of Christian studies. Dr. Wheelington formerly served as associate professor of Christian studies.

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Cutline: Six HPU faculty members were promoted at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. Left to right: Dr. José Romero, Dr. Rusty Wheelington, Dr. Gregory Church, Dr. Celeste Church and Dr. Paul Lilly. Not pictured is Dr. Kevin Kelley.

HPU’s Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at Wednesday morning Chapel service

Gary Gramling ChapelBROWNWOOD – August 31, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Dr. Gary Gramling, 1981 HPU graduate, professor of Christian studies and director of the graduate programs in Christian studies, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

“I can tell you that once you’ve had a personal encounter with Jesus, you’ll never be the same,” Dr. Gramling told audiences. “The Father wants nothing more than for every one of us, the people He made, to have a relationship with Him.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit www.hputx.edu/chapel.

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Cutline: Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.