Surrounded by professors, ministers, family, friends and future colleagues, six men and women spent Saturday morning becoming a part of history.
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky traditionally holds Commencement in May but moved it toAugust 8 for a very special reason: the school timed it to coincide with a special celebration after having earned accreditation earlier this summer.
“Every day is one of God’s gifts,” said Dr. Bob Browning, BSK trustee and pastor of First Baptist Church in Frankfort. “This day, August 8, 2015, is one of God’s greatest gifts.”
For Seminary leaders, the idea of achieving accreditation has been in place since the school opened for classes in August 2002. The past four years have been spent in focused work on the process, including the submission of a 100-plus-page Self-Study to the Association of Theological Schools and a subsequent site visit by an evaluation committee from the accrediting body.
“Today Baptist Seminary of Kentucky is celebrating accreditation,” BSK President Dr. Greg Earwood said, “as verification that we are fulfilling our purpose of preparing students for life and ministry in faithful witness to Christ in the church and the world.
“For 13 years we have been successful at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in doing what we imagined. We imagined a place where students and faculty would be learning together to cultivate habits and practices of faithful Christian living, to ask questions, to nurture spiritual gifts, to develop a theological imagination and to pursue God’s calling on their lives.”
Six more of those students now have their Master of Divinity degrees:
- Derek Anthony Cain of Somerset;
- Mark Anthony Dunn of Lexington;
- Laura Elizabeth Edgar of Deatsville, Ala.;
- Sherry Lee Gardner of Yonkers, N.Y.;
- Jeremy Keith Shannon of Lexington; and
- Adam Standiford of Lexington.
The six graduates received a standing ovation at a special post-Commencement celebration to honor the graduates and celebrate the accreditation status. “Stand there and soak it up,” Browning told them. “You won’t get this every Sunday in church.”
Earlier, Dr. Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship based in Atlanta, offered a few words of advice to the parting students during her commencement address.
“You graduate to be aware and to act,” Paynter said. “What a joy to know our churches and communities will be led by leaders like you. Class of 2015, go – serve and share the gospel.”
BSK also recognized those who helped guide the school through the accreditation process, presenting a beautifully framed resolution to Earwood and a hand-crafted chair to Dr. Dalen Jackson, academic dean and professor of Biblical Studies, who chaired the self-study steering committee.
The school also presented gifts to members of self-study steering committee and other BSK staff for their dedicated service to the Seminary in pursuit of accredited status.
The day’s activities left Earwood – and the 220 people in attendance – with a great feeling about the coming years.
“Let’s imagine together a wonderful future for Baptist Seminary of Kentucky,” he said.
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky is located on the campus of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. Find more information about BSK at www.bsky.org.