Divinity School commissions 10 new students, 3 from Elizabethtown Baptist Church

Feb. 5, 2014 

Cherry Crayton

BUIES CREEK -- Campbell University Divinity School celebrated a “high and holy day” Tuesday in Butler Chapel as it commissioned 10 new students who are pursuing graduate theological studies. Among the 10 students were three who are members of the same church, Elizabethtown Baptist Church.
They are Thomas E. “Tommy” Hatcher, a 1976 alumnus of Campbell; Ashley C. Sasser, who is the youth minister of Elizabethtown Baptist; and Samantha F. Pope, who was previously a math instructor.
“It has been rewarding to see other people [from Elizabethtown] come here at the same time,” said Hatcher, who is retired and worked in insurance for about 25 years. “We were all called around the same time, and I’m sure each was the individual work of God. That’s really the only way to explain that.”
Of having three new divinity students from the same church, Campbell President Jerry Wallace, a former pastor of Elizabethtown Baptist, said: “I think we should applaud that.”
Also in attendance at the commissioning service Tuesday was current Elizabethtown Baptist Church Pastor Chris Carroll, who earned his bachelor's and Master of Divinity degrees from Campbell, as well as Michael G. Cogdill, a former youth pastor at Elizabethtown Baptist.
A current professor of Christian ministry at Campbell, Cogdill delivered the Charge to the Students, “A Calling to Fulfill.” In his message, Cogdill described Tuesday as a “high and holy day” because the “special service” was a time “when we come together to commit ourselves to the noble mission statement of this school to be Christ-centered, bible-based and ministry-focused.” Each of the new divinity students received a pin in the shape of the Celtic cross that symbolizes that mission as well as their commitment to take up the cross and follow Christ.
“All of us have a relationship with God that we can share with others,” said Cogdill, who was dean of the Divinity School from its founding in 1996 until returning to the faculty full time in 2010.  “We have a spirit within us and a Holy spirit that will empower us so that we can give to others. We have eyes to see needs. We have ears that we can listen to people living on the edge, unburden their hearts and speak about what they do. We have mouths that we can prepare for the pulpit and to give Sunday words for a Monday world. We have feet that will take us to places where need is present.
“What do you have to give to ministry?” he added. “Plenty.”



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