Two new developments promise an even richer experience for Baptist students attending Perkins School of Theology in the coming years.
First, the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation recently approved a grant of $300,000 for the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology. On January 25, the Faculty Senate at Perkins approved a new Baptist Concentration for M.Div. students wishing to focus in this area.
“The grant will be used primarily for student scholarships and will allow us to attract talented Baptist students who are both committed to their own tradition and know the importance of learning from and partnering with those of other traditions,” said the Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, Director of the Baptist House of Studies. “These are the Christian leaders who will have the most effective impact in this world, God’s world, marked by diversity and rapid change. These are the leaders who will reflexively collaborate, innovate, and simultaneously pass on the beauty and richness of the Baptist tradition.”
Funds from the grant will also help support student travel to Baptist-related conferences and retreats as well as student internships in Baptist-related contexts. These networking opportunities are critical for Baptist students; Baptist congregations are autonomous, and thus Baptist pastors must seek employment individually. Connecting Baptist students to educational opportunities will assist them in fulfilling their calls and launching their careers.
Established in 1994, the Baugh Foundation supports moderate or progressive Baptist organizations and institutions, faith-based and nonprofit organizations that share the Foundation’s values of compassion, inclusivity, Bible freedom, church-state separation, church autonomy, and the priesthood of every believer.
Second, the Baptist Concentration, approved by the Perkins Faculty Senate on January 25, will require 15 credit hours of coursework, including two required courses in “Baptist History and Polity” and “Baptist and Free Church Theology” and an internship in an appropriate Baptist setting.
“This is one more option we can offer as we recruit, educate, and mentor students spiritually and professionally to become equipped to enter meaningful and effective ministry in various Baptist contexts,” said Clark-Soles. “The fact that we are located in an urban environment here in the Metroplex ensures that no matter what their call, students will find an opportunity to apprentice in that particular area of ministry.”
Clark-Soles, an ordained American Baptist minister, was invited by Perkins Dean Craig Hill in 2018 to launch the Baptist House of Studies, with help from fellow faculty member Isabel Docampo and George Mason, senior pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. The Baptist House of Studies provides spiritual formation, mentoring and preparation for ordination for students as well as special programming open to all Perkins students, SMU, the Metroplex community and beyond. It also serves as a community for Baptist students to learn about their tradition and a network of resources to support them in their path toward ordination or other professional positions in Baptist contexts.
The Baptist House proudly partners with other Baptist entities such as the Baugh Foundation that share historic Baptist values and convictions. In addition, the Baptist House is committed to helping Perkins carry out its mission, which includes working ecumenically to serve the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“As a United Methodist affiliated institution committed to ecumenism, Perkins has always drawn a diverse body of students,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “The grant and the addition of the Baptist Concentration ensure that we can attract top Baptist students and provide them with an excellent seminary education and preparation to serve.”
For more information, visit the Baptist House of Studies web page here.