BETHANY, OK (November 10, 2012) – On Saturday, Southern Nazarene University will honor 16 individuals in its annual Hall of Witnesses Induction Ceremony.
The Hall of Witnesses honors those who have carried the light of the Gospel around the world. Inductees are nominated by churches, family members, colleagues and boards who have chosen to partner with Southern Nazarene University to honor this great cloud of witnesses. The Hall of Witnesses is located in the S.T. Ludwig Religion building on the campus of Southern Nazarene University. These gifts of honor will support the endowment funding ministerial intern scholarships.
The sixteen individuals being inducted into the Hall of Witnesses are: Rev. Dallas Baggett ‘37, Mr. Bernie & Mrs. Paula (West) Brown, Dr. Halbert A. “Hal” Cauthron, Jr. ‘67, Dr. Charles D. Crow ‘68, Dr. Kenneth E. Crow ‘63, Mr. Richard F. Crow ‘71, Dr. Walter E. Crow ‘68, Rev. Eugene Leon Martin ‘64, Rev. George L. & Mrs. Grace (Nelsen) Mowry, Rev. Wallace R. “Wally” Renegar ‘55, Rev. A. Keith Sears ‘54, Mrs. Myra (Luginbyhl) Schubert ‘60, Rev. B. J. Slothower ’51 and Rev. Julia Standridge.
All of these individuals have lead incredible lives and impacted thousands. While every special moment cannot be documented here, the following individual was selected as a telling example of this SNU tradition.
Rev. Dallas Baggett is one of the oldest living SNU alumni. He was called to preach while he was enrolled at what was then Bethany Peniel College (BPC) during the leadership of Dr. Bracken. Not having enough money to pay for school and lodging, he took a job working on campus and remembers mixing mortar for what was then Bud Robinson Hall. During his five years at BPC he received two degrees, one in history and one in ministerial studies and theology.
Throughout his ministry he served 20 years in the pastorate, 20 years as district superintendent in Kentucky and Ohio, 30 years as an evangelist, and 5 years as pulpit supply, but it is during a 10 year period from 1944 to 1954 and the waves that now have been created that we will focus.
During those years Rev. Baggett was serving as the senior pastor at Birmingham First Church of the Nazarene. In that church was a laymen named Frank Bumpus, a self educated man who purchased and owned a dry-cleaning business. Frank had five children who were spread out in age while Rev. Baggett was their pastor. As one by one those children graduated high school Reverend Baggett strongly encouraged them to attend Bethany Peniel College.
The second of those children shared recently that “life often has critical opportunities like a hinge on a door that change your life and for me, a major directional change in my life was coming to SNU”. Each one of the five children in the Bumpus family attended SNU or another Nazarene School because of the urging and influence of Rev. Baggett. Of their family, which now numbers over 80, each individual of college age has attended a Christian university, met spouses who follow Christ and continued a legacy that can be traced back to Rev. Baggett’s influence in the 50’s.
It is easy now to look back and see how the influence of a pastor that serves Christ has shaped lives and families, but in those moments it was the ripples of his eagerness to invest in young lives, to take an interest in families, to encourage students to learn and serve, that have created the waves seen today. Rev. Baggett influenced numerous SNU alumni including those with last names like Bumpus, Case, Bridges, Burns, Goldson, and Watson.
Reverend Baggett lives today in Decatur, Alabama, near his daughter Mrs. Hannah Cameron. In a recent conversation with him, he was eager to hear about current SNU students and recent enrollment increases, but mostly he celebrates the work God still has for him! “The Lord thinks of me and he sits up at night thinking of ways to help me serve him”.
Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.