By Mandy Corbin, Brewton-Parker Communications
MOUNT VERNON — Steven F. Echols was commissioned as Brewton-Parker College’s 17th president during a special service Oct. 13 in the college’s Saliba Chapel. The ceremony began as faculty processed into Saliba Chapel in full academic regalia, led by Faculty Marshal Cory Williams, professor of psychology.
Robert Brian, vice president of academics, provided the welcome and thanked Echols’ wife Julie, members of the Board of Trustees, and community leaders for their service to the college. In his remarks, he charged the president, saying, “Mr. President, your first charge is to lean on Him in bearing the burden of leadership, and follow Him in bearing the standard of leadership.
“My second charge is that you strive always to keep our vision focused on that standard of taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And finally, we charge you to bear the global mandate for Brewton-Parker College, one that is shared as well by other Christian institutions of higher learning.”
Setting a course for the future
Reminding him the college would support him, Brian stated, “With these charges we commend you to the good graces of our Lord, promising always to pray for you and support you as you shape our mission and leadership at Brewton-Parker College, as we set our course for the future. We pledge ourselves in service alongside you for the years the Lord will grant us together as colleagues. May He bless and prosper you in all you undertake in His name. All of us together are called out for this purpose.”
Trustees Chairman Ray Sullivan gave the keynote address.
“Dr. Echols, you have been prudent and practical in the many decisions you have made in your short tenure here at this college,” Sullivan said. “Personally I want to thank you for accepting this calling of God by the invitation of the Trustees to join us in God’s work here in Mt. Vernon, Georgia.”
Sullivan spoke from 1 Samuel 14 about the Israelites’ victory over the Philistines. “The odds were stacked against Israel,” he stated. “Dr. Echols, I don’t have to tell you the odds are stacked against Brewton-Parker College. But God has a plan and a purpose for Brewton-Parker. God is sovereign, and that is evident when SACS reversed its decision to pull our accreditation. God did that. God did what had never been done before.” Sullivan then presented Echols with a Bible and the presidential medallion, welcoming him as the 17th president of Brewton-Parker.
In his presidential response, Echols extended his thanks for the privilege to serve as the college’s 17th president.
After reading 1 Corinthians 15:58 he said, “I am so thankful for the steadfastness of those who have come before me, that our school is here and vibrant, and for the victories that we’ve had.” He told the audience how he prayed to the Lord for guidance at Brewton-Parker in a time when Christian colleges are being persecuted. “It will succeed. It will thrive,” Echols said. “Brewton-Parker family, will you join me in these coming days in watching him work?”
“I am so thankful for the steadfastness of those who have come before me, that our school is here and vibrant, and for the victories that we’ve had.”
Steven Echols, president
Ron Melton, retired professor of history, said a prayer of commission as trustees laid their hands on Echols and his wife Julie, offering prayer and guidance as they endeavor to lead the BPC family in the coming years.
Vance Rhoades, assistant professor of psychology, gave the invocation, and Joey Fountain, mayor of Mt. Vernon, gave the benediction. Steve Edwards, dean of men and assistant women’s basketball coach, read scripture from Joshua, Proverbs, Psalms, and Isaiah. Voices of Truth, under the direction of David Wilson, performed and led the audience in the singing of a hymn of affirmation. BPC alumnus Eric Parker provided the prelude, processional and recessional as the organist.
More photos can be found at the Brewton-Parker College Facebook page.