2019 Commencement Speakers Announced

Dr. Mark Stripling and Dr. Bruce Ashford will address the Welch College class of 2019, according to President Matt Pinson. Stripling, Senior Pastor of North Little Rock Free Will Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, will present the baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening, May 9, at 7:00. Ashford, Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, will address the graduates at the 10:00 a.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10.

Stripling, who has served Free Will Baptist churches in a number of capacities for 36 years, has served at the North Little Rock Church since 1990. A Georgia native, he has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Executive Board of Arkansas Free Will Baptists and the Executive Board of the Central Association of Arkansas Free Will Baptists. He recently ended his second term as a member of the Welch Board of Trustees, serving most of his twelve years on the Board as its secretary.

Ashford is well-known in Christian higher education circles, having taught at Southeastern Seminary since 2003 and provost since 2013. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he is a well-known conference speaker and prolific author. His best known book is Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians (Lexham, 2015). He is co-author of One Nation under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics (B&H, 2015) and editor of Theology and Practice of Mission (B&H, 2011).

President Matt Pinson said, “Commencement activities are such important events in the life of our college community at Welch, and especially for the graduating seniors. Commencement always highlights our mission to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world through biblical thought and life. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have two great speakers address the graduating class. We invite friends, family, and alumni to join us in this special time of celebration.”

Pave the Way Bricks Dedicated

On March 12, Welch College President Matt Pinson led a dedication ceremony for a brick walkway installed with over 700 engraved bricks given in honor and memory of Welch supporters, according to David Williford, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

The brick walkway is located on the quad side of the Welch library at Coffman Hall where all can enjoy looking for the name or names of loved ones memorialized or honored. “We are delighted at the response to the Pave the Way campaign,” Williford said. “The bricks honor those who have paved the way for current and future students to enjoy the new Welch campus.”

Many churches and Women Active for Christ groups purchased bricks to show support for students from their area. The Advancement office placed a brick for every 2018 Welch graduate and plans to do this for the 2019 graduates as well.

If you missed the opportunity to place a brick in this first installation, Welch is offering a special promotion of Buy One/Get One ½ Price. The bricks are $250 regular price. Contact Merinda Parrish (615-675-5360 or email mparrish@welch.edu) for more information.

This brief dedication service can be viewed on the Welch College Facebook page.

Welch College Choir Tour “One of the Best in Years”

The forty-member Welch College Choir, under the direction of Dr. James Stevens, completed a three-state tour during spring break covering 1700 miles and ministering in ten locations over seven days, according to according to Todd Parrish, Director of Church Relations.

“Church members in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia worshiped joyfully as the choir sang through the O Praise the Name program,” Parrish said. “The choir did a variety of music, which included anthems, hymn arrangements, spirituals, and contemporary worship songs. Alumni and former choir members stated that this was one of the best Welch choirs in years.”

Choir members spent time with residents at the Governor’s Bend Assisted Living Center in Erwin, TN, as well as with students at Gateway Christian Academy (VA) and Bethel Christian Academy (NC). “One teacher expressed how grateful she was that the college students went out of their way to make her fifth graders feel important,” Parrish said. Over 300 academy students signed up to receive more information about Welch College. From these student information cards, Andrea Sosa (VA) was selected to win a free Apple watch.

Welch College Athletic Director Inducted into Hall of Fame

Welch College Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach Greg Fawbush will be inducted into the National Athletic Association of Private Schools Hall of Fame on March 29, according to Welch President Matt Pinson.

“We’re very proud of Coach Fawbush achieving this honor,” Pinson said. “The Hall of Fame is for private school coaches, players, and athletic directors who help build and advance the cause of private schools.”

Fawbush coached at Seffner Christian Academy in Florida for 22 years before coming to work at Welch in 2017. On January 26, 2019, Fawbush achieved his 400th win at the Welch vs. Georgia Northwestern Tech game (104-71). Since his start at Welch, Fawbush has added soccer (men’s and women’s) to the college sports program and has led the school to rejoin regional play in NCCAA Division II.

For more information on Welch College athletics, go to welch.edu/athletics.

Welch College Announces Sumner Regional Medical Center as Naming Sponsor for Strong and Courageous Event

Welch College is delighted to announce that Sumner Regional Medical Center will be the Naming Sponsor of the second annual Strong and Courageous banquet on May 13.

Sumner Regional has provided quality healthcare to the Sumner County community for 60 years. Their partnership with Welch College for the Strong and Courageous event is a significant way for them to recognize local people of faith who continue to make an impact through excellence in their work, their neighborhood, and their community displaying strong kingdom values.

Dr. Charles Lea, Special Assistant to the President at Welch, said, “Sumner Regional Medical Center and their HighPoint partners provide outstanding healthcare and contribute in many ways to the physical, moral, and spiritual health of the greater Sumner County community. We are extremely pleased to welcome Sumner Regional as our naming sponsor this year.”

Strong and Courageous 2019 presented by Sumner Regional Medical Center will be held on the Welch College campus on Monday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. It will be an exciting evening of entertainment, inspirational speaking, and the presentation of the 2019 Strong and Courageous award.

For more information or for tickets to the event, please contact Derek Altom at 615.675.5262 or go to the event website at welch.edu/strongandcourageous. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships at Welch College. For more information on Sumner Regional Medical Center, visit mysumnermedical.com.

Welch College Choir Announces Spring Tour

The Welch College Choir will travel in three states March 13-19 during their annual Spring Choir Tour, according to David Williford, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. The 40-member choir, directed by Dr. James Stevens, chairman of the Welch Music Department, will minister in seven churches and two Christian schools in seven days.

The tour program, O Praise the Name!, will consist of sacred choral selections and gospel songs designed to encourage and evangelize. Some of the selections include: Blessings, How Great Thou Art, Is He Worthy?, Come Thou Fount, and O Praise the Name.

“We really want to encourage local churches and youth groups to mark their calendars and make every effort to attend a service in their area,” Williford said. “We also want to ask people to pray for the health and safety of the choir as they travel and present God’s Word, and to pray that God would bless in every service.”

Spring Tour Schedule

March 13                 7:00 p.m.        First FWB Church                              Bristol, VA
March 14                 7:00 p.m.        Evergreen FWB Church                    Erwin, TN
March 15                 7:00 p.m.        First FWB Church                              Washington, NC
March 17               10:30 a.m.        Great Bridge FWB Church                Chesapeake, VA
March 17                 6:30 p.m.        Gateway FWB Church                       Virginia Beach, VA
March 18               11:00 a.m.        Gateway Christian Academy            Virginia Beach, VA
March 18                 7:00 p.m.        Bethel FWB Church                          Kinston, NC
March 19                 9:50 a.m.        Bethel Christian Academy               Kinston, NC
March 19                 7:00 p.m.        Rocky Pass FWB Church                 Nebo, NC

105 Welch College Students Make President’s and Provost’s Honor Roll

The fall 2018 semester at Welch College ended with 105 students receiving academic recognition, according to Provost Matthew McAffee. This honor roll includes both online and Enriched Adult Studies students whose fall courses ended in late December. “These students deserve commendation for their hard work,” says McAffee. “These students are the academic pacesetters for our campus and we hope they will continue to foster scholastic excellence among their peers.”

Thirty students made all A’s and were placed on the President’s List—4 seniors, 6 juniors, 11 sophomores, and 9 freshmen.  Seventy-five earned a 3.25 GPA and all A’s and B’s and were placed on the Provost’s list—10 seniors, 14 juniors, 28 sophomores, and 23 freshmen.

President’s List: “A” Honor Roll
Kandace Ailworth Sophomore TN Alejandro Johnson Sophomore TN
Meredith Baer Freshman NC Dakota Kron Senior TN
Addie Barnett Freshman TN Caroline McDonald Freshman TN
Lauren Batey Freshman TN Mariah Moore Junior KS
Catherine Blades Sophomore TN Meredith Parrish Junior NC
Abby Bragg Freshman GA Jonathan Payne Sophomore IL
Josh Burgus Junior TN Anna Pinson Freshman TN
Sara Carman Freshman TN Daniel Rojas Senior TN
Blake Chandler Sophomore TN Kendal Ryan Sophomore IL
Michaela Easley Sophomore TN Alexis Saunders Freshman TN
Jessie Eubanks Sophomore IL Raygan Sellers Freshman TN
Baylea Freeman Junior VA Mallie Sharenberger Sophomore TN
Jacklyn Grizzle Junior TN Mikayla Strickland Senior NC
Miranda Howell Sophomore FL Deborah Trifonova Junior BG
Josh Hunter Senior TN Kullen Williams Sophomore TN
Provost’s List:
“B” Honor Roll
Dalton Alvis PA Nikolette Jones AL  
Jacob Austin FL Coveak Moody TN  
Adra Brown TN Hannah Morgan TN  
Keren Delgado AR Emily Petty IL  
Daniel Hubin TN Elizabeth Stevanus TN  
Matthew Barnett AR Abby Hunter AR  
Jerushah Blackburn TN Avery Jones OK  
Brenton Driscoll CA Kip Mcneill TN  
Hannah Duncan FL DJ Pappas SC  
Summer Elliott QC Sarah Pierce IL  
Emma Guthrie IL Hannah Reynolds RI  
Jalynn Hood TN Noni Wright TN  
Riley Bell TN Elaine Park TN  
Hailey Boyer MO Taylor Pate FL  
Mikaela Bullard VA Ashlee Presley TN  
Emilee Davis NC Ashley Sharbutt KS  
Jake Gates TN Ashley Snipes GA  
Hannah Goucher MS Tori Thomsen TN  
Jerry Hopper TX Jonathan Truett NC  
Kelsey Horton TN Will Walker AL  
Bryan Houser VA James Webb AL  
Cheyenne Johnson TN Derek Wisdom MO  
Maks Lutsenko TN Destinee Woolett SD  
Micah McClintock GA Andy Yerby AL  
Noah Midgette VA Elizabeth Yerby AL  
Whitney Moody MS Zea Zuniga Anaya AR  
Benjamin Barcroft IL Ashley Holland TN  
Emmie Barnett TN Daniel Kilgore CA  
Sarah Benton NC Krista Lindsay AL  
Alyssa Bolding TN Tori Masters NC  
Micah Borck TN Cody Matlock KS  
Alyssa Davis NC Ben Miller MI  
Ashley DiStefano TN Tanner Sturgis TN  
Grace Elkins TN Gabby Subeh VA  
Hope Flournoy TN Sydney Walker NC  
Allie Foust TN Angelina Waller TN  
Meagan Fulcher NC Truman White TN  
Gabrielle Hicks KS  

Jose Rodriguez to Start New Welch Hispanic Training Institute

Miami Pastor Jose Luis Rodriguez has been tapped to start a new Hispanic training institute at Welch College, according to Welch Provost Matthew McAffee.

“Jose Rodriguez, senior pastor of Ebenezer Free Will Baptist Church in Miami for almost two decades, is the foremost leader of the Hispanic Free Will Baptist movement in this country,” McAffee said. “We want to redouble our commitment to Hispanic theological education among Free Will Baptists, and Mr. Rodriguez is just the person to make it happen.”

Rodriguez, pastor of Ebenezer Free Will Baptist Church in Miami, Florida, since 2001, graduated from Welch with a B.A. in pastoral training in 1994. During his time in college, he ministered in Hispanic church planting among Free Will Baptists in Middle Tennessee. After graduation, he worked in planting the Renacer Free Will Baptist Church in the Miami area until reaching self-supporting status in 2000.

A native of Cuba who has also lived in Panama, Rodriguez holds the M.A. in theological studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the M.Div. equivalent from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is completing his D.Min. degree.

“There is no more respected minister in our movement than Jose Rodriguez,” said Welch President Matt Pinson. “He brings an unparalleled zeal for evangelism together with a keen theological appetite, a striking expository pulpit ministry, and the proven ability to build and grow a church in a challenging urban environment. His success in urban and intercultural ministry will prove very beneficial to our program here at Welch, and he will allow us to begin building a needed, regionally accredited Hispanic educational effort in our denomination.”

McAffee said, “Mr. Rodriguez will begin his duties next summer. His main task will be to help us formulate a strategy for Hispanic theological education, which includes fundraising, but he will also teach Bible and ministry courses and engage in other administrative responsibilities.”

Rodriguez has been married to his wife Maday, a senior accountant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, for 23 years. They have two sons, Samuel, a senior in high school, and Daniel, a sophomore.

For more information about Welch College’s associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in theology and ministry, visit welch.edu or email recruit@welch.edu.

Welch College Announces Accreditor Approval of Master of Arts in Teaching

Gallatin, TN—Welch College is pleased to report that both its accreditors have approved its proposed Master of Arts in Teaching. The Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation notified Welch College of approval in November and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges notified the college of approval following its December annual meeting.

With these approvals, Welch College has reached a milestone by becoming the first Free Will Baptist college to offer a second regionally accredited credential on the graduate level.

The thirty-three hour Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) features 10-week courses that meet once each week. Courses meet on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-9:30 p.m. CST and are available on the Gallatin campus as well as live, online via Zoom. According to Dr. Greg Ketteman, Graduate Dean, more than half of the inquiries and applications received to date are from out-of-state students.

The design of the MAT program allows students wishing to complete the program in 18 months to do so by taking two courses at a time, although students may complete the degreebased on the pace that best fits their schedule. Institutionally funded scholarships and federally guaranteed loans are available.

Enrollment in the Master of Arts in Teaching is underway. Information about the Master of Arts in Teaching may be found at welch.edu/ma-teaching and online applications are at welch.edu/admissions/apply/ma-teaching-apply/. For questions or for enrollment information, please email Dr. Greg Ketteman at gketteman@welch.edu.  The first course begins on January 17.

Ketteman said, “There’s a lot of excitement about this new program. Please be in prayer for us as we initiate this new program and for our graduate students as they seek to advance their professional craft as educators.

Welch Students Serve on Capitol Hill

By Meagan Fulcher

On November 15-18, a group of Welch College students participated in the 49th Assembly of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL). The group of seven included Kandace Ailworth, Ashley Floyd, Meagan Fulcher, Daniel Hubin, Micah McClintock, Seth Oliver, and Kullen Williams. Over sixty other colleges also sent representatives to the mock legislature.

These seven students represented Welch College well with four Representatives in the House, one Senator, one Alternate Senator, and one Lobbyist. The mock legislature at TISL was held at the Tennessee State Capitol. Students debated various bills and had an up-close experience of the political world.

Welch College was given one seat in the House and one seat in the Senate. The students alternated turns sitting in the seat on the floor during the sessions. While in the seat of either the House or the Senate, the students were able to speak and vote on diverse bills that different Tennessee colleges had proposed.

One of the bills many students found interesting was one that stated that the harmonica should be recognized as Tennessee’s State Instrument. This bill was heavily debated in the House and resulted in a failure to pass. On a more serious note, many of the bills proposed were very well put together and have the potential to positively impact the state of Tennessee.

The students had a meaningful experience—and a lot of fun—and were able to represent the Christian mission of Welch College positively.

For more information about TISL or about exploring law and politics through the lens of a Christian worldview at Welch College, email Frank Thornsbury (fthornsbury@welch.edu) or Phillip Morgan (pmorgan@welch.edu).

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