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June-July 2016


Hidden Heroes


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news at welch college


Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit

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Beck Joins Welch Faculty

Stephen Beck, principal of the Free Will Baptist Christian School in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, has been hired as a full-time faculty member in Teacher Education at Welch College, according to Provost Greg Ketteman.

Beck will assume the position this fall when Dr. Thurman Pate shifts to a part-time role, the beginning of a planned, phased retirement. Pate began serving the college in 1999 as chairman of the TE department. “Dr. Pate and Mrs. Ann Pate, who herself served 14 years as a faculty member in the TE department, have been such a blessing to the TE Department at Welch for a combined 30 years,” Ketteman reflected.


Beck started out as an engineer, attending Vanderbilt University, where he received a B.S. in engineering with minors in math and computer science in 1997. During this time, he took Bible and missions courses at Welch College, where he met his wife Rejyna.

Beck, an ordained minister and the grandson of Welch’s founding president Dr. L. C. Johnson, served as an engineer for a defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama, until sensing a calling to the school in the Virgin Islands, where he also served as associate pastor in an associate home missionary role with Free Will Baptist North American Ministries. In addition to his administrative and pastoral work, he coached championship soccer and cross-country teams.

“The college has long envisioned offering a program for math teachers,” Ketteman said. “Stephen will allow us to pursue that goal. He will teach full-time in the department and take over many of Dr. Pate’s administrative duties as well.”

Dr. Etta Patterson will serve as interim chairman of the department until Beck completes his doctorate. Stephen completed most of his coursework toward a master’s degree in engineering at University of Alabama Hunstville. He holds a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Virgin Islands, where he is an adjunct assistant professor in mathematics.

President Matt Pinson said, “I am delighted that Stephen Beck will join our Welch team. He has an ideal mix of administrative background, ministry experience, and fit with Welch’s mission.”
Stephen, Rejyna, and their five children—Opal Ruth (12), James Foster (12), Stephen Linton (10), Samuel Fletcher (9), and Charlotte Grace (6)—will move to Nashville this summer.


President’s Home to Be Built on Gallatin Campus

By resolution of the Board of Trustees, Welch College will construct a president’s home on its new 66-acre campus site in Gallatin, Tennessee, according to David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement.

“The most recent plans for phase one did not include a president’s home…but plans changed when the lead donor to the Building on the Legacy capital campaign, Mrs. Alicia Celorio of the Do Unto Others Trust in Miami, Florida, promised an additional gift that would make it possible for the home to be built without diverting funds from the core campus.”

James and Mary Beasley of Turbeville, South Carolina, subsequently made an additional, significant pledge beyond their Building on the Legacy commitment. As directed by the Board of Trustees, the funds for the president’s home will not come from gifts to the Building on the Legacy campaign, but from special gifts made above and beyond Building on the Legacy gifts, as well as from the president’s housing allowance.

“We’re grateful to our two lead donors who had a special interest in seeing a president’s home built on this land,” Williford said. “Rather than taking a personal housing allowance, President and Mrs. Pinson wanted their monthly housing allowance funds placed back into the new Welch campus through the construction of a president’s home for future generations of the Welch family.”

The design of the house has been completed, according to Relocation Consultant Bob Bass, and construction is set to begin. To learn more about campus relocation or to give to the Building on the Legacy campaign, visit




©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists