Fall 2014 graduation at Southeastern: ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain’

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern celebrated the graduation of 160 students, several of whom have Arkansas ties, on Dec. 12.

Students with Arkansas ties included Benjamin C. Neiser, of Jonesboro, who received a Master of Arts in Christian studies; Becca Gayle Owens, of Bryant, who received a Master of Arts in ethics, theology and culture; Jason Michael Wilkinson, of Jacksonville, who received a Master of Arts in ministry leadership, and Virginia Claudette Gray, of Jonesboro, who received a Doctor of Education degree.

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Williams Baptist College’s 5 to 1 conference slated for Jan. 23-24

WALNUT RIDGE – Williams Baptist College (WBC) will host its annual 5 to 1 Student Ministry Conference Jan. 23-24. The weekend will focus on helping parents lead the home to worship God, connect with others, grow in the Bible and take the gospel to the world. 

Williams' 5 to 1 Student Ministry Conference seeks to equip churches and families with information and skills so teens can be surrounded with many caring adults who will help them develop lifelong faith.

All are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Walter Norvell at or by phone at 870-759-4150.

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge.

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Provost, Harthorn promoted at Williams Baptist College

ProvostWALNUT RIDGE – Williams Baptist College (WBC) professors Ruth Provost and Steven Harthorn were recently promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenure by the school. WBC’s Board of Trustees voted on both promotions at its Dec. 5 meeting.

Harthorn“These two individuals represent the highest standards expected of the faculty at Williams Baptist College,” said WBC’s president, Tom Jones.  “Their faithful example and interaction with students demonstrates the Christian commitment, professionalism, scholarship and work ethic that positively impacts the lives of our students. We are proud to serve with them and proud of the vital role they play in the mission and vision of Williams.”

Provost, a member of WBC's psychology faculty, has been employed by Williams since 2004. Harthorn, a member of the English faculty, has been employed by the school since 2005.

Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college located at Walnut Ridge.


New Hope Baptist Church, Black Rock, celebrates 170 years

BLACK ROCK – New Hope Baptist Church, Black Rock, hosted a homecoming and 170th anniversary celebration July 5-6. Activities on Saturday, July 5, included family games, a cookout, a patriotic musical titled “United We Stand” presented by the New Hope Baptist Church choir and reflections on the past. During the July 6 morning worship service, Angel Byrd, Arkansas Baptist State Convention church planting team member, shared special music and made a 170th anniversary presentation to New Hope Baptist Church, which is her home church.

Randy Williams, a former pastor of the church, gave the message. After a fellowship meal, a gospel singing and noteburning for the new sanctuary was held, along with more reflections.

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Sold Out student conference Feb. 21

RUSSELLVILLE – The Sold Out student conference is set for Feb. 21 at First Baptist Church, Russellville.
The theme of the conference, Why We Witness, is taken from Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

“This will be our fourth year doing Sold Out,” said Kirby Vardeman, one of the organizers, who serves as pastor of LifeStone Church in Russellville. “Our prayer for this year is that we equip students to live and share their faith openly in their schools. We want to arm them with both the mandate from God and the tools they need to win their friends for Christ.”

Vardeman added, “In past years, we’ve done our best to show students the power of prayer and the freedom of God’s marvelous grace. As leaders, we’ve been privileged to see God’s Spirit move in these students. We are praying to see another great awakening in this generation!”

Teaching sessions during the day will be lead by Warren Gasaway, strategist for the evangelism and church health team at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Featured during the event will be the Off the Top improv and drama troupe of seventh through 12th grade students from Second Baptist Church, Conway. A concert by the band Summerhill will be held at 6 p.m. For more information, visit

Conference schedule:
7:00 – Registration
9:30 – Welcome
10:00 – Main session
10:45 – Breakdown session
11:10 – Expressions of praise
11:40 – Individual session
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Individual sessions
1:30 – Main session
2:15 – Breakdown session
2:45 – Individual session
3:15 – Expression of praise
3:45 – Release
6:00 – Summerhill concert