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May 17, 2010

Press Photo

The Spring 2010 Graduating Class

It is often said that the older you get, the faster time moves, and for 57 graduates at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, the past few years have quickly passed by with studying, hard work, determination, and many prayers.

Spring commencement services were held Friday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in the BCF Assembly Center with the traditional graduate processional "Pomp and Circumstance" performed by BCF Piano Professor Angela Glover.

New English Professor Geoffrey Reiter led the invocation followed by Music and Worship Division Chair Don Odom leading the congregation in "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee."

BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen recognized guests and visitors before honoring retiring Mathematics Professor William Stuart McArthur for his twelve years of dedicated service at BCF. He also recognized Dr. Don Odom for his 19 years of leadership in the Music Division at BCF. McArthur and his wife Fran plan to do some traveling and serve in a multitude of ministries, while Odom will be returning to his Alma Mater to take over the music department in June. President Kinchen also called upon the two newest faculty members Reiter and Business Professor M.J. Albin to sign the Articles of Faith, a document signed by all faculty members signifying their commitment to the Lord and His Word while they teach at BCF.

As the ceremony closed a chapter in the lives of the graduates, it also reminded them that their lives are ones of service to God and commitment to reaching the world with the Gospel. The school's registered trademark of "Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®" is not only a challenge repeated while at college, but a lifelong commitment that resonated through graduation. These graduates have received four years of intense training in a vast array of disciplines, and at the heart of each program is a passion to share Christ and change the world.

No one could have emphasized this more than BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen in his heart warming presidential address to the graduates and their families. He inspired the group of 57 men and women to always answer with a resounding "Yes!" when God calls them to an area of service and ministry. Trusting that God always has a better plan for their lives, Kinchen challenged the graduates to listen to the Lord and not try to mold God into their plans, rather follow His.

The 57 graduates represented a wide variety of degree programs offered at BCF including Bachelors of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies, Christian Education, Christian Studies, Church Music, Contemporary Worship Ministry, Elementary Education, English, Leadership, Ministry, Ministry Studies and Missions. Graduates from the following programs were also recognized this semester, Associates of Arts in Christian Education and Divinity, Bachelors of Music Education, and Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies.

This year marked the largest graduating class of students receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree in Contemporary Worship Ministry (CWM) since the program's inception in 2007.
Jarrod Odom, son of BCF Music and Worship Division Chair Don Odom, was greeted on stage by his father as one of the 10 in that degree program.

Also among the graduates was a husband and wife team who met while attending BCF. Tim Brigham began taking classes at the BCF distance site in Orlando, but moved to Graceville in 2007. During his English class the first semester on campus he met his wife Rayel. Tim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies and Rayel received a Bachelor of Arts in Missions. He recalled how he would get his mother's clothes hamper and stand on it to preach to his siblings when he was younger. He was taught the Bible at home, but says that BCF showed him how to study God's word for himself. He will be continuing his education at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. "I feel like the Lord is calling me to be a professor," said Brigham. "My father is deaf and there is no Southern Baptist institution that teaches deaf people to minister. Maybe God can use me in that way."

Rayel felt God call her to missions and came to BCF to further her education so she could be used however God would use her. She will be serving in the association and churches in North Carolina while Tim is in school.

Senior Vice President R.C. Hammack presented the graduating class to President Kinchen. Once the verification by the registrar and faculty was read, all 57 graduates received their degrees. Odom then returned to the podium to lead the congregation in the college hymn, "Tell Me the Story of Jesus," before Professor Albin closed the service with a prayer of benediction.

Graduates could be seen surrounded by family, friends and hoards of well wishers outside the Assembly Center as the BCF community came to congratulate them on a job well done.