Faculty members from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary displaced by Hurricane Katrina gathered on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for a joyful, yet tearful reunion Sept. 9-11. The meeting was the first of the entire faculty since the Category 4 storm flooded New Orleans.
The New Orleans Seminary administration has set up temporary offices at the institution’s Atlanta, Ga., extension campus and will be conducting classes by compressed video and the Internet until students are able to return to the main campus. New Orleans Seminary President Chuck Kelley said he and the other seminary staff envisioned an August 2006 restart for classes on the campus.
Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson said the seminary was honored to have the entire New Orleans Seminary faculty on campus. Signs welcoming the group to the campus were located at each entrance to the Fort Worth seminary.
“We offered our facilities for the retreat because we wanted them to experience a sense of family and collegiality again,” Patterson said.
In an evening session Sept. 10, the faculty and their spouses viewed the first images of their campus, much of which remained under water. Afterward, they gathered for an ice cream social at Pecan Manor, the president’s home.
In a “boot offering” in chapel Sept. 8, students from Southwestern Seminary gave $8,000 to assist their fellow seminarians in New Orleans displaced by the hurricane. Patterson referred to the gift as a “sacrificial offering.”
Kelley said the students and faculty of New Orleans Seminary were profoundly grateful for Southwestern's hospitality and giving.