As the year 2017 comes to an end, so does my tenure as Interim President-Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary. The journey has been a source of joy and challenge. I shall always be grateful for the trust of the Board of Trustees, the support of the staff, the commitment of the students for academic excellence, and the support of alumni and friends. All of you helped me to succeed in navigating through these uncharted waters. To all of you, I say thanks.
The Board of Trustees has done an excellent job in processing the selection of our next President-Dean. I am excited about the election of Reverend Dr. Ken Walden as our new leader. He is highly qualified and is ready to accept the responsibilities of the job. I ask that you will welcome, receive and support him to the end that Gammon will realize a brighter future.
Pray for me as I return to my status among the retired. My prayers will be offered in the interest of Gammon.
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND WELCOME DR. WALDEN.
The One Hundred and Thirty Fourth Founders’ Day Observances at Gammon Theological Seminary was my crowning experience as the Interim President-Dean. Prior to the observance, there were moments when doubts and fears seemed to dominate my thoughts, and consideration was given to canceling the Banquet. But, I was reminded of God’s goodness and that we could do all things in Christ, our source of strength and success. I asked several of my friends to join with me in giving one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more to support Founder’s Day. They did not let me down.
The turnout at the Banquet was a great success. Congregations and individuals purchased tables. This gave us a great push towards the achievement of success. I am grateful to God for everyone who participated in the Banquet.
One could feel the presence of God from the Opening Worship Service with Bishop Tracey S. Malone, Resident Bishop of the Ohio East Annual Conference, as the Preacher to the Closing Worship Service with Reverend Dr. George Ashford, Jr., Lead Pastor of Journey United Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, as the Preacher. They were the bookends, and everything in between went exceptionally well. I want to thank everyone who participated.
Now, let me say a special word about Chaplain Tabitha Rankin and the five (5)
Graduating Seniors from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, who will enroll in Gammon in the Fall of 2018. They will be among our brightest and best students, and will emerge as Prophetic Leaders of the 21st Century. It was a great joy in having them participate in the entire Founder’s Day Observances.
Let me conclude by simply reminding everyone that we must embrace the art of giving generously in order to recruit and maintain students who are committed to academic excellence and service to God through the ministry of the United Methodist Church. Put Gammon in the Budget of your local Church. Make Gammon a priority among your personal charitable organizations and you will help insure the availability of committed pastoral leaders of the future.
Thanks for allowing me the honor of being a part of the Gammon Staff. Please remember, that the best is still yet to come.
With every good wish, I am
I never played organized football, but as an announcer of high school football games in Atlanta, I was a fan of the game. It was a joy to watch high school football players giving their best to win the game. The “two minute drill” was a critical time in every close game. A score by any means could be the difference between victory and defeat. In the last two minutes of the game, each team gives everything they have to insure victory. Nothing is held back. Everything is on the line.
Now, Gammon Theological Seminary is in the “TWO MINUTE DRILL”. Our 134th Founder’s Day Observance is upon us. We must give our very best to insure victory. Every detail must be meticulously cared for. Our staff has been working long and hard preparing for a productive experience. Also, our students have conscientiously given their best in moving us closer to the goal line for the winning score. I will always be grateful for their faithfulness in the “two minute drill”.
The Board of Trustees is challenged to make a Herculean decision in selecting our next President-Dean of Gammon. The Search Committee has prayerfully gone about their task of working to present the best qualified person to the Full Board for election. They too, are a part of the “two minute drill”.
The Founder’s Day Committee has been diligent in securing some of the brightest and best scholars/preachers as our presenters. They are also a part of our “two minute drill”.
The winning play for Gammon Theological Seminary is in the hands of our Alumni and Friends. These are the men and women who give their financial resources to help us recruit and retain our students. I thank God for every member of the team during our “TWO MINUTE DRILL”.
Therefore, I am going on record in declaring a last minute, come from behind victory.
May we never forget, however, that the real KEY TO OUR SUCCESS IS GOD.
We are down to the final week before the beginning of Gammon’s 134th Founders’ Day Observances. Today will be a time for a diversified group of Gammonites and friends to interview the two (2) finalists for the position of President-Dean. A recommendation should then be presented to the Board of Trustees for election on December 4, 2017. Please be in prayer for the Search Committee and the process as we move forward in being a theological light in the world.
Then, our opening session begins on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 10:45 a.m. in the ITC Chapel. This is going to be a sensational Service of Celebration. It is my hope that the Chapel will be filled to capacity. Your presence will be a major blessing for us. Let me thank you in advance for bringing success to the school that we love.
Finally, we need your financial support, to assist us in recruiting and maintaining outstanding young seminarians for matriculation at Gammon. They will be responsible for carrying the United Methodist Church farther and higher into the 21st century. Your systematic contributions are vital to our success. Consider putting Gammon among your giving priorities.
Together, we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.
With every good wish, I am
Walter L. Kimbrough
It is now two weeks before the launch of Gammon’s 2017 Founder’s Day Observances. There are many things that have been completed in the planning process to assure a successful experience. I am excited about my first Founder’s Day as Interim President-Dean. Please be assured that I need your help in completing the task. The celebration will not be fully realized without your support.
It is crucial for Gammon Theological Seminary to have the full support of every member of the Board of Trustees, alumni, and students along with our many friends. A “Championship Team” of presenters has been secured to insure a successful experience. Gammon will continue to go first class.
All road and all airlines lead to Atlanta and Gammon on December 5th and 6th. Your presence and participation is very crucial for a successful Founder’s Day.
Important information affecting the future of Gammon will be shared.
Gammon has been honored in having Ed and Anne Wimberly represent us at the Colloquy Sponsored by General Board of Higher Education and Ministry along with the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools. The theme for the gathering was “MISSIO DEI AND THE UNITED STATES: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.
Their theological presentation was entitled, “MISSIO DEI IN AN AGE OF YOUTH DISCONNECTION FROM CHURCH: A VISION FOR ECCLESIAL RESPONSE”. They insisted that the church’s fulfillment of God’s mission in the world is critical in this era of youth disconnection from organized religion. Further, they feel that teens must be recipients of the Missio Dei and be nurtured in ways that they become actors in this mission.
Dr. Anne Wimberly chaired one of the five (5) groups which heard and discussed the papers presented by faculty members from our thirteen (13) United Methodist Seminaries. She handled her assignment with great proficiency, filled with grace and dignity. She made Gammon very proud.
Dr. Edward Wimberly was the preacher at the closing Worship Service on Wednesday. It needs to be noted that they are the only United Methodist Professors at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Only United Methodists were invited to participate, as we seek to “Find A Way Forward”. In other words, they were all we had. This has to change.
There must be a concerted effort to secure more United Methodist Professors at I. T. C.
I was pleased to be an Observer at the “Gathering”, as a Member of AUMTS.
TO ALL GAMMONITES AND FRIENDS
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON. WE ARE JUST THREE (3) WEEKS AWAY FROM OUR 134th FOUNDER’S DAY. IT IS GOING TO BE A CELEBRATION LIKE NEVER BEFORE. HOSPITALITY WILL BE AMAZING, THE FELLOWSHIP WILL BE GREAT AND THE THINGS LEARNED WILL BE PHENOMENAL.
WE NEED YOU TO MAKE THE CELEBRATION COMPLETE. GET READY AND GET REGISTERED. THEN, ENCOURAGE SOMEONE ELSE TO JOIN IN THE FUN.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ATLANTA ON DECEMBER 5th. GAMMON NEEDS AND WANTS YOU. PLEASE COME.
It is so amazing to experience the goodness of God in the life of Gammon Theological Seminary. We are consistently being blessed at every turn. Lives of people are touched when they hear our Gammon story.
On All Saints’ Sunday eleven (11) members of our extended family worshipped at the White Oak United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, TN, a cross racial congregation pastored by Amy Nutt, one of our students. The Conference was getting ready to close the doors on this dying congregation. But, the grace of God moved into the hearts of the Cabinet members and they appointed Amy Nutt as Pastor. And the Spirit of God is now in that place. The people are coming from far and near, representing every age level. The Youth have outgrown their space and has now been assigned to larger quarters. Somebody ought to shout Hallelujah!!!
Just so you will know there are more blessings coming our way. Chaplain Tabitha Rankin, a Gammon alumni, extended to me the invitation to be the Chapel preacher during Homecoming Week at Wiley College. This was an honor that I was too happy to accept. Wait, that’s not all. Six (6) of our Gammon students, who are graduates of Wiley College, shared with me in the richness of the celebration. Now, there is still more - four (4) of their senior students have made a commitment to matriculate at Gammon. This is another hallelujah moment.
Some have said that “When praises go up, blessings come down”. I am still trying to keep up with the magnificent way that God keeps on blessing Gammon. This means that we are always responding to what God has already done. I was given the names of two (2) pastors from the Mississippi Conference by Bishop Swanson indicating their desire to attend Gammon. Those leads have been followed up on and they will become Gammon students in 2018. Can I get another hallelujah?
Would you believe me if I said that the blessings from God are still flowing into the life of Gammon. I have been moved to ask a few friends of mine to join with me in being Sponsors of our 2017 Founder’s Day. They are saying yes to my invitation. It is my prayer that the next Dean will be a forward thinker and lead us further into the twenty first century.
It is my hope that every person who came through the corridors of Gammon will make a special effort to participate with us this year, December 5&6. We need your support. Please be assured that the best is still, “yet to come”.
The work of a President-Dean, even on an Interim basis, is very stimulating. Your life is embraced by the lives of many others across the nation. Last week, I was privileged to attend the 49th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdictional BMCR. It was held in Atlanta and attracted people from Virginia on the north, Florida on the south, and Mississippi on the west. The attendees were clergy and laity, working together in the interest of all.
The high points for me were: The Report of the Chairperson, the Reverend Dr Byron Thomas, a gifted preacher who is pastor of the Ben Hill United Methodist Church. He made the theme, “White Racism” , come alive in very graphic ways. Then, there was a panel of three (3) bishops addressing the same topic. Bishop Sue, of North Georgia, was awesome in bringing her entire Extended Cabinet to the session. In all of my years, this was a first. The bishops were faithful in staying on point. The Paine College Concert Choir provided music for the Friday Luncheon and President Jerry Hardee was most eloquent as our speaker.
I was pleased to meet students who are future Gammon students. Presence and interpersonal relationships are pivotal to recruitment. It is my hope to receive an invitation to visit the campus and students at Paine College.
Gammon is moving forward and I am honored to be a part of the team. Pray that we will remain faithful while on the journey of excellence in education and service. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and a great thing to invest in.”