Dr. Stan Moore, Senior Fellow in Worship and Mission, led the worship service joined by the Singing Men of North Central Texas, directed by Don Blackley. This group, comprised of ministers of music and church musicians, has been the invited musical guest at nine of Carroll’s thirteen Convocation services. Through songs of faith such as “It is Well with My Soul,” “And Can It Be,” “Bow the Knee” (composed and sung by Chris Machen), and “Cornerstone,” the men’s group stirred the hearts of all who were present.
Dr. Gene Wilkes, President of the Institute, shared words of gratitude for the prayers and expressions of comfort following the recent death of his father, Carl Wilkes. Dr. Wilkes recognized Nancy Muskrat, Fellow & Lecturer in Worship & Mission and Director of Communications and Promotion, upon her retirement at the end of June after 12 years of service at Carroll. He also recognized Fred Propst as the recipient of this year’s President’s Award. The award is given by Carroll Institute as a way to thank and honor significant persons who have demonstrated commitment to the Institute through their generosity and encouragement.
Dr. David Ritsema, a graduate of Carroll Institute serving as a member of the Board of Governors and Resident Fellow, delivered the Convocation message entitled “A Steward of the Light” based on John 1:6-13. Beginning with a reference to Tolkien’s
Return of the King, the third volume of Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf tells Steward Denethor that he has no authority over King Aragorn, Dr. Ritsema reminded us that all of us are stewards; nothing belongs to us. What we have has been entrusted to us by our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Stewardship then becomes our calling. In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, John stated that he “came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” John was a steward of the light. Dr. Ritsema challenged the graduates and the congregation to be a witness in the 21st century – “to take the timeless truth and make it relevant to the church and the world today.”
Following the message, degrees were awarded to 12 students in the master’s program:
Master of Arts (Religion)
Lázaro Díaz, Midland, Texas
Patrick Arthur Mayers, Midland, Texas
Master of Arts in Christian Education
Marvin Winham, Jr., Montgomery, Texas (Graduated September 27, 2017)
Master of Arts in Counseling
Taylor Michelle Cox, Arlington, Texas (In Absentia)
Michael Allen McGee, Azle, Texas
Master of Arts in Worship
Nicholas Wayne Ferguson, Hallettsville, Texas (Graduated November 22, 2017)
Jan E. Hixon, Midland, Texas (In Absentia; graduated March 2, 2018)
Master of Arts (Theology)
Chad A. Bailey, Frisco, Texas
Derrick L. Barnes, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Master of Divinity
Molly Maria Floyd, Fort Worth, Texas
Frederikka Thams Stark, Arlington, Texas
Elizabeth Glynne Simpson York, Houston, Texas
Four students in the doctoral program received their degrees during the hooding ceremony:
Doctor of Ministry
Elaina Barron, Lexington, Kentucky – D.Min. Project: Equipping Young Women for Ministry Leadership at the University of Kentucky Baptist Campus Ministry; Supervisor: Karen Bullock
Doctor of Philosophy
Sharon L. Gresham, Burleson, Texas – Dissertation: The Function of the Double Love Command Against Covetousness in the Epistle of James; Supervisor: Robert Williams
Barbara Alan Thompson Price, Edmond, Oklahoma (In Absentia) – Dissertation: The Propensity for Social Networking Among Digital Natives and Their Capacity for Empathy; Supervisor: Marcia McQuitty
Randall Rhea Worley, Plano, Texas – Dissertation: Lord of the Sabbath: The Relational Hermeneutic of Jesus in the Context of Second Temple Judaism; Supervisor: Bruce Corley
In addition to these graduates, Carroll Institute awarded diplomas to 17 pastors and church leaders with a Diploma in Christian Ministry, an Advanced Diploma in Christian Ministry, eight Master of Arts (Religion) degrees, and seven Master of Arts (Theology) degrees at a ceremony in Southwest China on October 7, 2017.
Following the Convocation, First Baptist Church Saginaw hosted a reception to honor the graduates and their families.