For seven years, Evangelical University and Seminary has been teaching those interested about the word of God.
With its third annual fundraising banquet on May 8, those from the seminary will be teaching attendees once again — but this time about the school itself.
“It’s one of the best kept secrets in Plant City that a lot of people don’t know about,” trustee Myrle Henry said. “We’d like to get people to come and learn more about it.”
The seminary was born from an idea by former long-term pastor of Plant City’s First Baptist Church, Dr. Ron Churchill.
“He always had a desire, a curriculum of Bible classes and various things,” Henry said.
The founding fathers include Churchill and two other local religious figures, Bob Westlake and Les Keylock. They came together to form the seminary in a building owned by Plant City’s First Baptist Church.
“The whole idea is that there are a lot of pastors at small churches around Plant City that haven’t had any formal training,” Henry said. “One of the goals is to have something local where they can get a deeper formal training.”
A second goal was to provide a place where laypeople can come and learn more about the Christian faith without having to travel out-of-town for college.
“You’ll find, in these classes, there are some young people, students who have come right out of high school,” Henry said. “Then, we have others who are older, middle-aged, then there’s old people like me.”
Henry and his wife have taken six courses at the seminary, after he was asked to be a trustee. Some of his favorites were the surveys of the old and new testaments, a course on the book of acts and the words and works of Jesus.
Since its inception, the school has thrived. It has had about 50 students complete those classes and more each semester.
“It’s just grown,” Henry said. “They’ve had a lot of students. It’s just amazing.”
The seminary is a non-profit that functions through donations and the willingness for professors to teach at low costs. It does charge tuition, but it is relatively low. Current tuition is $180 per three-hour course. This compares to nearly $400 or more per semester hour at other Christian schools. There is a $25 registration fee but none of the assorted “fees” charged by many institutions. Limited scholarships are also available. Students may audit a course, requiring only class attendance, at half the cost.
“We try and keep the price of tuition very low, so this fundraiser helps generate funds,” Henry said.
The fundraiser will be held at Plant City’s First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The keynote speaker will be author and former instructor Greg Morris, and entertainment will be provided by gospel singer Eva Kroon Pike.
Contact Amber Jurgensen at [email protected].
Evangelical University and Seminary Banquet
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8
WHERE: Plant City’s First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 503 N. Palmer St.
COST: $25 per person
RSVP: Myrle Henry, (813) 752-4094
INFO: Dinner is $25 per person and will be catered by Fred’s Southern Kitchen. The keynote speaker will be author and former instructor Greg Morris. Entertainment will be provided by gospel singer Eva Kroon Pike.