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Members of a former Baptist church in Houston donated $1 million to Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary for scholarships.
First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston presented Truett Theological Seminary with the gift Aug. 26, establishing the First Baptist Church Spring Branch of Houston, George W. Truett Theological Seminary Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“This donation means that more students will be able to attend seminary,” said Dr. David Garland, Truett Seminary dean.
The endowment will collect 5 percent interest, allowing $50,000 to be rewarded to students seeking pastoral ministry at Truett, Garland said. This fund will add to the number of scholarships available to Truett students, which is currently 34.
The congregation of First Baptist Church Spring Branch decided to sell their building to a Hispanic church and allocate the funds for ministry after the community around the church changed.
“This church has not died,” Garland said. “First Baptist Church Spring Branch will continue to live. The students who receive this scholarship will come from all over, and they will go all over. This is a new chapter.”
The members did not have a direct connection to Baylor. In fact, Garland said most of Truett Seminary’s donors are not alumni but choose the school because its ministries have had a positive influence.
First Baptist Church Spring Branch chose Truett for its good reputation, said Lavern Graham, the chair of the church’s Special Finance Committee.
Graham had been an active member of First Baptist Church Spring Branch since 1972, serving in the children’s nursery and delivering flowers to the sick.
“The church was once large, but when many of the member’s children grew up and moved away, the congregation could not support the building,” Graham said.
Although Graham is nastaglic of what the congregation once was, she is glad the church will leave a legacy, helping students afford seminary school.
“We want our past members to have a part in this,” Graham said. “They were faithful in their giving and their gift will live on forever.”