ROGERS – Former members of University Baptist Church, Fayetteville, held a Toast and Roast the Rabbi banquet Nov. 2 for H.D. McCarty and his wife, Shirley. The banquet was held in honor of the couple’s 55th anniversary, as well as McCarty’s 80th birthday and his many years of ministry.
McCarty has been in the ministry in Arkansas for about 48 years, including 39 years as pastor of University Baptist Church. McCarty said he saw more than “20,000 students come through the church,” more than 300 of whom have gone into vocational Christian ministry.
McCarty served 30 years as chaplain of the Arkansas Razorback football team, where he was given the nickname “Razorback Rabbi.”
He served as president of the Arkansas Baptist Pastors’ Conference in 2004 and as a member of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Board for numerous years.
He had a 33-year Air Force career, serving as a pilot and chaplain and retiring as a brigadier general in the Air National Guard.
Nearly 500 people from Arkansas and other states attended the banquet. Proceeds from banquet ticket sales and the Friends of the Rabbi Golf Scramble held earlier in the day benefited Ventures for Christ, a counseling, preaching, teaching and writing ministry begun by McCarty after he retired from University Baptist in 2004.
Among the guests speaking were Marvin Delph, former Razorback basketball player; Rick Proctor, circuit judge for the First Judicial Circuit Court in Arkansas; Sen. John Boozman, and Gil Stricklin, former assistant to Billy Graham.
Also attending were Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas congressman, and former Razorback football coaches Frank Broyles and Ken Hatfield.
A video presentation was also made, which included tributes from more personalities, including Lou Holtz, former Razorback head football coach; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor; Houston Nutt, former Razorback football coach; Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, and Brig. Gen. Bob Page, deputy chief of chaplains for the Air Force.
Karen Anderson, the McCarty’s daughter, along with Becky Bull and Susan Roberts, who have both been influenced by the couple, gave a special tribute to Shirley McCarty.
Robert Cupp, directional leader at Fellowship Bible Church Northwest Arkansas, and Robert Lewis, pastor at large at Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, both former University Baptist staff members, served as co-Masters of Ceremony at the event.
McCarty said only he and Christ “knew what a joke it was to have a banquet” in his honor.