Southwestern’s newest building, Mathena Hall, officially dedicated
Mathena Hall, the newest building on Southwestern Seminary’s Fort Worth campus, was officially dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Oct. 18. Students, faculty, donors, state convention presidents, representatives from the International Mission Board and Woman’s Missionary Union, five former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, and other guests attended the ceremony, witnessing the official opening of the building, whose development was first announced just three years ago.
During the building’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2015, Southwestern President Paige Patterson shared his vision for the site: “May the result of the construction of this building be that tens of thousands of people come to know Christ as Savior. This project is nothing but another brick and mortar structure unless it results in people coming to Christ.” This vision was echoed throughout the day, as various leaders and ministry partners spoke during chapel that morning and the subsequent ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the executive committee of the SBC, said during chapel, “In the Mathena building, we will see the equipping of God’s men and women to take a message to every man, woman, boy and girl on the face of this earth—the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; that their sins can be forgiven. And in that place, we will see many men and women raise a hand and say, ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.’”
Harold Mathena, who, along with his wife Patricia, donated the $12 million lead gift for the building’s development in 2014, preached during chapel, calling the building’s opening “miraculous.” He explained, “It is an amazing thing … that a cotton-picker from East Texas would be able to participate in such an endeavor as this; to join so many of you in accomplishing so much. It is nothing short of miraculous.”
Encouraging his fellow ministry partners with a message from Nehemiah, Mathena continued, “Be glad about what God is doing here, the vision that’s been cast here, and the effort that’s exerted here to teach young men and women of God how to personally lead souls to Christ and how to go to the mission field in these countries where they’re not welcome. They need to know what to do in order to accomplish a great work of God.”
Kevin Ueckert, chairman of Southwestern’s board of trustees, opened the ribbon-cutting ceremony with a prayer, saying that this building “represents in a very clear, tangible way all of our belief in you, Lord—that you will use this place to prepare men and women to preach the Word and go into the world with the Gospel.” He continued, “Father, we know that your heart is for every single person to hear the Gospel, and we pray, Lord, that what happens in this place and on this campus would further that purpose.
“We pray that many would come to know Christ, that many would come here because of the call of the Lord on their lives to serve you in ministry, and that they would be equipped and enabled and empowered to leave this place and go to the farthest reaches of the world for the glory of Jesus Christ. And we pray, Father, that what we do today would just be the beginning of what you do for your glory in bringing many people to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
The ceremony featured three individual ribbon-cuttings—one for the building itself; one for the outdoor Martyrs’ Walk, which features names and details of Southern Baptist martyrs; and one for the Lottie Moon exhibit, which features, among other things, the reconstructed home of missionary Lottie Moon from P’ingtu, China. Following the ceremony, guests were granted the opportunity to explore the building, with Southwestern faculty and staff stationed in each room to provide information on the numerous homages to the legacies of past and current ministers of the Gospel.