Meyer lecture series to give additional insight about Baptist history

The stained glass windows of Manning Chapel in the Meyer Christian Studies Center  narrates stories of Baptist life and missions.

A series of lectures will be given over the next semesters describing the historical significance of the windows through guest scholars.

The beginnings of the lectures fell into place after a discussion of how to execute part of the university’s mission statement that reads, “We will deepen our commitment to our Christian mission and Baptist heritage.”

The question arose of how exactly should the private college strengthen its southern roots.

One of the answers was formed into the Manning Chapel Lectures.

The discussions will feature the windows, which include stories about Baptist missionaries William Carey, Lottie Moon, the Judsons and the Bagbys.

The first lecture Feb. 21  will start at 12:15 p.m. concerning the Bagbys, a missions-oriented family living in Brazil.

Baylor University Christian studies Professor Rosalie Beck will be the first guest lecturer to discuss the historical significance of the Bagbys.  Annie Luther, daughter of UMHB’s first president, fell in love and married William Bagby.

With both Baptists having passions for missions, they set off to Brazil in 1881. Their accomplishments included planting 10 churches, performing more than 400 baptisms and including 419 Brazilians into church memberships.

Beck will go into further details to discuss the struggles and achievements of the Bagby couple.

She hopes that students will understand how Annie contributed to Baptist history.

Beck said, “She was a real, flesh-and-blood person who made mistakes, triumphed over adversity and loved to laugh.”

The other desire is for attendees to gain motivation  to possibly follow in the footsteps of the missionary couple.

“They (students) can embrace life in all its richness when they respond to God’s call faithfully,” Beck said.

But why is all this important for UMHB students?

Dean of Christian studies Dr. Tim Crawford, explains that Baptists have achieved great and monumental heights concerning missions. This explains the importance of the university.

He said, “When it comes to missions…, no one has invested more in lives and resources than Baptists. Missions is in the blood of Baptists, and it’s part of the spiritual DNA of UMHB.”

He is amazed at how missions oriented the students are, and he wants to further that momentum by providing them with a deeper understanding of the Baptist history.

He said, “I have never heard of a college or university where so many people were so deeply committed to missions.”

Christian studies Professor Dr. Carol Holcomb further adds how vital the past is.

She said, “Whether students are Baptist are not, the knowledge of history is crucial to our identity.”

Author: Natasha Christian

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