Do you have thoughts, stories, and memories from your experiences as Regent Seminary students? Send them in to the Memory Board! You may submit your memories by email to the Director of Career & Alumni Services.
Our first meeting of the school of Biblical Studies was convened by our four professors (sometimes called the "gang of four") in the Communications Building (now the Admin Bldg?) in the University board room. It was a very luxuriously appointed room. There were 23 of us in the room and we were all so excited as we heard each ones personal testimony of how God had directed us all to enroll and get to Va. Beach. It was noisy, we kept shouting out praise to God with every testimony. I tell you the room was "electric" with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We each felt as if we were walking through the gates of heaven. We were filled with a great hope for our future service to God. It was a day I would never forget.
Our first classes were held in a double wide new trailer which held two classrooms. The trailer was located where the library is today. We felt that we were the new school on the block so we got the "out house" for our building, whereas all the other schools (Education, Communications, and Business) were in a "real" building. But that did not discourage us. In those days we always went to chapel services. In fact, we could not wait to get to chapel. The students were very excited to worship and hear God's word. It was at chapel we got to meet and know the students in the other schools. Chapel was above the library in the communications bldg. Every Monday President Gottier would speak for almost an hour. In that first year he preached half the year on "life and death are in the power of the tongue". We learned so much from him as well as he would share with us about the university's progress and growth.
At that time no student had a computer and did not know anything about computers, all our papers were typed. The internet, you gotta be kidding. Food on campus consisted of a candy bar machine. On Fridays we would join the 700 Club staff for chapel and get to hear Pat speak. We all loved hearing him.
In twelve short months two of our numbers graduated: Paul McCarl and Kathleen O'Donnel. They opted not to take any Greek classes and so graduated 9 credit hours earlier than the rest of us. Paul became a pastor of the Lamplighter church in Maryland which he started. Kathleen worked with many major ministries since that time.
I entered the School of Biblical Studies (as it was known as then) in the fall of 1983. Our classes were held in a double-wide trailer that housed the newly started School of Public Policy as well. As you can imagine, a trailer is not very sound proof so the running joke was that if you sat in the back of the class, you could listen to two lectures and thus have a joint-degree!
The trailer was situated in the wooded area next to the ADM Building. There was a second trailer that housed the Business Office. The only permanent building was the ADM Building which housed the library, bookstore, registrar’s office, chapel/auditorium and just about anything else we needed. It was compact, but it worked!
The “trailer days” hold some of my fondest memories. It did not matter that the décor left something to be desired or that the ceiling sometimes would leak with a hard rain. The classes were anointed and challenging. Dean Jerry Horner, Dr. J. Rodman Williams, Dr. John Rea, Dr. Peter Prosser and Dr. Charles Holman brought us in to the presence of God each day. They were caring mentors. To this day, their well-spoken quotes and insights into the Scriptures will come to mind when needed. They laid the foundation for the School of Divinity and for my own spiritual life. “Do not despise the days of small beginnings…”
I remember a sense of awe and purpose in all of us as we studied the Word, prayed and fellowshipped together. We didn’t know where our callings were going to take us but we knew it would be into God’s purposes. And that was good enough for us. I especially remember the strong presence of the Lord in Dr. Rodman Williams’ class “The Holy Spirit: His Presence and Power.” I still lean on the things I learned in that class both through studying and particularly from experience. It was a watershed time in my life that I will never forget.
I was a student long ago; it was before the name Regent University emerged. In fact, it may have been so long ago, that the school was still in the initial accreditation process under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The year I spent there has been invaluable to me for the last 24 years, and I would not trade it for the world. Though I received my degree in Biblical Studies, I have spent most of the last 24 years in a secular job as a CPA. But the underlying foundation I received at Regent has served me so well, even in the market place. I may never be in the ministry as a pastor or church staff member, but my formal education at Regent is invaluable to me and I would recommend it highly to any student, regardless of their eventual vocation.
The professors during those years were so great (Holman, Williams, Rea, Hedges, Prosser, etc.) and I still refer to their class materials from time to time, especially Dr. Williams' systematic theology volumes. And the other students I met there have done so much for the Kingdom. For example, my friend and former house-mate, Ben Edwards, who is serving as an Executive Producer for the Network. I am amazed each year when he sends out cards to friends how much God has done through him all over the world. And the newsletters on alumni have documented the outstanding work done by Regent graduates. Any school would be proud to have accomplished so much.
I look back on 1983-84 and I say this: "It was worth it to me to take my brand new wife, move 1600 miles to the east coast from Texas and pay private school tuition to get the experience and background I received at Regent University." And the school was still an infant in those days. I can only imagine how good it must be now.
I pray God's blessings on all those involved with the school. May the vision continue!!
Dr. Holman and his wife bravely invited my family (four children ranging in age from 2 to 9) for Christmas dinner just after my December completion of my program and before my May graduation. They put on a beautiful dinner along with some violin music from Dr. Holman. The conversation after dinner centered on Dr. Holman's fear that he was too difficult of an instructor, and he asked me what my impression was. With delight and admiration I was able to encourage Dr. Holman to keep up his high standards.
Dr. Holman was brilliant, yet he always exhibited humility. Prior to graduation, the School of Biblical Studies had a commissioning ceremony in front of the Network building. Professors prayed for each of the students (there were only a few of us).
Dr. Holman prayed for me, and then he asked me to pray for him that God would use him as a witness to others. I will never forget his heart and his companionship while I attended the school. - Blessings on the celebration of the school's twenty-fifth year.
It is an honor to be associated with Regent University as an alumnus. My days at what was then called CBN University were filled with many opportunities of soul searching and great friendships. What I remember most is the classes with Dr J. Rodman Williams. He taught me to be a student of the Word and challenged me to think with a world view that always kept the sovereignty of God at the center, the Lord of Redemption. He challenged me to ask critical questions and seek the wisdom of the whole council of God's Word. The practical courses in Ministry were always breath of fresh air for me because they were creative strategies that were focused on meeting the needs of the church or community. I look back on my studies at Regent and realize those days were so formative to my ministry success today. I want to express my appreciation to all the professors who listened to my multitude of questions after class, always finding time to point me in the right direction and for the spirit of servant hood that each modeled. May peace and grace be multiplied to each professor, staff and to all those who have given themselves to this ministry.
A wonderful story I have reflected on often was the 1987 graduating class commissioning service. We began with a dinner in the atrium and then a prayer service under the cross over at the SHB. Professors lined up at the front and we graduates could be prayed for by any or all. Well, as the meal was concluding, Dr. Williams was about to give a devotion when he asked if anyone had a Bible. Amazingly, in the group of biblical studies graduates and professors, only one person had a Bible. I believe her name was Leah Rehberg, and it was only a pocket size Gideon King James. Everyone chuckled and Dr Williams started his devotion by saying how appropriate it was to read from the KJV: "You know, it's appropriate to be using the King James here tonight. When I started in this field, we didn't have all these NIV and NASB and Living Bibles. All we had to work with was the good ol' word of God." Everyone laughed and I've remembered that for 20 years.
Elinda (Dindy) Wilson
I remember Dr. Holman telling our class in “Principles of Bible Study” as we talked about how to study and interpret God’s word: “What is so unique and wonderful about Regent University is that as we read we try to bring together the Word and the Spirit to get the fullest understanding of the text. To this day I try to remember and apply those words!
Dr. Susan Bubbers
My time at Regent was fabulous in every way, especially in my Spiritual Formation and Bible Education. Dr. Rae was my first advisor, and then when he left Dr. Story became my advisor, as well as my Greek professor. I have many memories.... I'll highlight 2 for you:
First, please see the essay I wrote in honor of Dr. Holman »
Second, a fun memory... Upon finishing the Greek Readings course in May 1990, another Greek Student named Linda Metz wrote a song for Dr. Story, and I accompanied her on my guitar and a group of us rehearsed and sang it to him on the last day of class. I don't know how to describe the melody, but the words are:
(1) We'd like to thank you with all of our hearts Dr. Story
For your labor of love this year
Because of you we've lost many hours of sleep
But thanks to you it's finally Greek to me!
It's Greek to Me, Praise the Lord I can read it
I can parse every verb as I should
It's Greek to Me, Praise the Lord I can read it
I'd parse all day long if I could.
(2) We came to this class with some apprehension
For we knew it would not be a breeze
But we did ok until Chapter 4
When we met the verbs with the Deponent disease!
(3) If you try to exegete these lyrics
You will find to your great surprise
A progression that leads us to boldly say
We'll read the Greek and we won't compromise.
Georgie Marquez Andre
I was born and raised Catholic in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I came to know the Lord in New York, where I had gone to study architecture. In 1987, my husband, Joel, our son, Laurent, and I moved to Virginia Beach so that I could attend what was then called CBN University. At the time, most of the women in the School of Divinity were single, and I don't remember any of them having small children... while many of the guys had wives at home supporting their calling... I had a husband and a son to care for, along with Greek verbs to parse and papers to write. But it was a wonderful, joyous time!
My advisor, and Old Testament professor was Dr. John Rea. This godly man was both a brilliant scholar, and a humble servant of the Living God. One of my favorite memories is his opening every OT class when we were studying the Davidic Monarchy, with a different hymn. I had not grown up with hymns, had never been exposed to them... but Dr. Rea taught me to love these old songs... and along with a love for the Tanak... he taught me to love those Protestant men and women who put so much of it to music.
I graduated in 1992, taking longer to finish my degree because, as already mentioned, I was a wife, and a mother, but also because Dr. Rea had encouraged me to write a thesis as my culminating experience ("You will need it if you later decide to go on for you PhD!").
Thank you, Dr. Rea and all the other wonderful professors who gave us so much...
One of my favorite memories was serving as assistant for Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams told me when he hired me that we would be praying for the students everyday before class. Every morning before class began we would meet in his office and take out the roll sheet and pray for each student by name. I was so blessed and honored to be involved with Dr. Williams’ commitment to God and his students. He truly loved teaching and I learned a great deal from working with him. Dr. Greig, who was only at Regent for a short time also blessed me when it came to prayer. If you came to the class room early you might catch him praying over every chair and praying at the doors and windows. Dr. Greig invited me to join him on a prayer walk through his neighborhood once. I was so impacted by his burden for the lost and his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Dr. Story’s method for teaching Greek is an absolute life saver. I can’t mention Regent with commenting on what a wonderful help Bob Sivigny is to all divinity students. I appreciated his help and his friendship while I was a student. I feel confident in saying that the character of the teachers has made as much of an impact to me as the material they taught. God bless Regent University.
None of us, if we’re completely honest, are any good at all in God’s kingdom without humility – just that simple realization of how inept and weak we really are when we catch glimpses of how remarkable our king/engineer/redeemer-God really is. The single thing I loved most about Regent University was the contagious hunger that Dr. Holman, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Story had for understanding God’s message to us about himself. These men loved the story of God – and their passion was infectious. And they really believed in us. They believed that we could lead and that we could change our world because they knew the story of God so well. They were giants, and they are what I cherish the most about life at Regent.
My first day at Regent proved memorable. The campus itself was a sight to behold, both majestic and splendid in style and structure. I had never seen a more imposingly beautiful campus in my life. Accompanying the grandeur of my new school was its tuition costs. Regent University certainly was first class, and the tuition reflected it. Although I had no scholarships and very little money from school assistance programs I had a whole lot of faith. The business office, however, wanted to see it in dollar bills, so I immediately began working a part time job. I also had my Montgomery G.I. Bill from the Air Force, which helped pay my tuition costs.
I was in dire need financially as the second semester got underway. The only solution to my problem was to go to the finance office and drop my courses, sit out a semester, and work full time. As I walked into the finance office, I was embarrassed, sad, and near tears. I told them that I needed to withdraw from my classes because I did not have the money. “Let’s pull up your file and take a look,” the lady said, punching my name into the computer. “Well Tracy, you don’t owe anything except $28.00 in student fees." The look on my face must have surely said, “Are you nuts?” My mouth, however, said, “I don’t understand. I owe over $4,000.00." She shook her head and said, “Well…that’s not what the computer says you owe.” I pulled out the copy of my print out from pre-registration showing the balance and she said, “Yes Tracy, I know what that says, but you received a miscellaneous award that pays for everything, except the $28.00 in student fees, so that’s all you owe.”
Where did it come from,” I asked, still refusing to believe it was true. “Tracy, just get up and go to class, somebody paid for your classes, and they don’t want you to know who they are. So just go, and be thankful.” I sat there dumbfounded for a moment; then I got up and quickly exited the finance office. I ran, maybe even floated as I rushed home to share the good news with anybody else I could find! Afterwards, I continued to throw myself into my studies, especially my Greek and Hebrew, with even more fervor; somebody had believed in me and I wanted that person to know that I was worthy. I even began to dream that one day, I too would be standing up in front of a classroom teaching Greek and Hebrew one day.
In May 1998, one day before graduation, the Regent School of Divinity held a commissioning service in the Library atrium. As part of the commissioning service, the soon-to-be graduates were prayed for by the School of Divinity professors, who were standing in pairs around the atrium. This was a time for prayer, for impartation, for prophecy. The last pair who prayed for me was Dr. Rodman Williams and Dr. Vinson Synan. Because I was in the missiology program, I had not had too much contact with these professors, especially Dr. Synan, as he was the Dean. When Dr. Synan prayed for me, he prophesied that I “would be speaking before thousands” on the mission field. I was immediately skeptical—didn’t Dr. Synan know that I was going to Indonesia, a Muslim country, as a missionary? Or that my gifting was teaching, not preaching? I could imagine speaking before 25 or 30 students in a Bible school, but thousands? Impossible!
After graduation it took a year before my family could move to Indonesia to fulfill God’s call on our lives. Monica, Scott, Chris and I flew to Indonesia in August 1999 to begin our lives as missionaries. The first stop for Monica and I was language school in Bandung, West Java, where a small school taught the Indonesian language to prospective missionaries. In late November 1999 one of the teachers called me out of class and said I had a phone call from the capital city of Jakarta. Confused, as I didn’t know anyone in Jakarta, I answered the phone. In heavily accented English I was told that I was invited to preach at the Christmas service of Pertamina, the national oil company, on December 12, 1999. “Why me?” I asked. “Well,” came the answer, “the speaker we wanted is getting married that day, and since he knew you at language school, he recommended you as his replacement. Will you do it?” Finally, after getting some more details, I agreed.
On Sunday, December 12, after various traveling adventures, my interpreter and I arrived at the Pertamina headquarters in downtown Jakarta. When we entered the auditorium, I was amazed to see its size. “How many people are you expecting?” I asked the organizing committee. “Well over one thousand,” came the reply. And so it came to pass, on December 12, 1999, I preached the Word of God to a Christmas service of over one thousand people.
I often look back at that day and know that God knew my path in Indonesia before it happened. He used Dr. Synan and that prophecy to strengthen my faith, and to show me that what I thought was impossible, with God was extremely possible! Since that day I have spoken many times across Indonesia, usually to small groups of believers, encouraging them in their faith, or in marriage seminars with my wife Monica. But I will never forget the first time I spoke in Indonesia, and saw a prophecy fulfilled.
At first I never intended to get my Masters degree. Because of my love of Scripture, I just started taking Distance Ed courses for my own personal benefit. This was in the early 90s when we listened to class sessions on cassette tapes. I appreciated Dr. Story’s lectures, and found that my studies at Regent were very helpful in my church ministry, leading Bible studies and Sunday school classes. Eventually I felt led to enroll full-time as a student in the School of Divinity. I will always be grateful for my studies, especially the classes I had with Dr. Story, Dr. Holman, and Dr. Greig. I not only appreciated their scholarship and giftedness as teachers; I also appreciated their approachability and concern for their students. They helped me come to know the Bible better and to come to love it more. They gave me a valuable foundation both for my personal Bible study and also for my ministry.
Dr. Ihab Griess
My time at Regent was a very fruitful time. I learned much, especially in the Greek class and through the Thesis-writing process. The latter equipped me to write a doctoral dissertation down the road, and I still treasure my relationship with my thesis advisor and still nagging him with questions from time to time. My work at CBN let me acquire skills that I need today in ministry. The housing, on the other hand, was the best on-campus housing I ever experienced. Seven years later after graduation, I am thankful to God for such a wonderful opportunity.
On the funny side, I still remember the immensely unbelievable comments of Lyle Story. Oh, boy!
In 1985, I had been accepted at another seminary with a full scholarship and a stipend. It would have been a very comfortable situation for me, and I didn't have any worries. That same year I was invited to participate in a missions trip to Morocco, and during that trip God spoke to me about serving him in the Muslim world. He also told me not to go to seminary that fall. I was surprised, since all was paid for, but I was obedient...not even knowing if I would ever go to Seminary.
I served as a youth minister during the next two years, and prayed about whether I should go to the first seminary or look at another seminary. My wife asked me about Regent (at that time it was CBN University). I thought that it was too young a school for me to be able to benefit and didn't believe that there would have been an M.Div. program in place. Yet when I checked this out, I saw that such a program was in place with a World Missions concentration. That perked my attention. Around that time, my wife and I participated in a Missions conference at the Kempsville Presbyterian Church and during a luncheon met Dr. Holman. It was nice to meet him and this meeting caused us to pray about Regent. So after some prayer, we began to correspond with the admissions office. We were invited to a preview, and that seemed to be the clincher for us...I remember meeting Dr. Rea and really enjoying our visit with him....later when I served as a GA for Dr. Foltz, Dr. Rea used to come to my GA office/nook and just sit and talk about missions (he told me that he had wanted to be a missionary, but it had not been God's plan...yet his daughter was serving and he had also trained many missionaries).
I cannot say that Regent was the perfect seminary, yet I do believe it was the perfect one for me. I really was stretched by my professors (Dr. Holman, Dr. Story, especially), blessed by others (Dr. Prosser, Dr. Horner and Dr. Umidi), and truly equipped by others (Dr. Foltz, Dr. Ruthven, Dr. Rea and Dr. Williams). I believe that I was able to weather some difficulties in the pastorate and on the mission field in part because of my Regent training. I am now accepting a position as the interim pastor of the International Christian Fellowship in my city, in addition to my regular activities as a missionary here in Central Asia (I prefer not to list the name of my country of service due to security reasons). At least, weekly, I think about my studies at Regent and wish that I had both time and money to return for more education.
In every class I attended, I felt that I was getting the professor’s very best, and I knew I could ask the professors any question, including very difficult ones, and receive their honest, well thought-through answer. This is a distinctive difference from other seminaries, in which, the professors may recite answers from a denominationally-biased book of doctrine or give an answer based on the traditions of their church. The professors at Regent Divinity have allowed the Word of God to infiltrate their hearts and lives, and, because of this, they are able to deliver sound, Biblical teaching that is based on reality, just as God intended.
I must tell you about a miracle that the Lord did for me through Regent Divinity. When I was in college at University of Texas at Austin, there was only one channel that I could receive on my television. That channel was Trinity Broadcasting Network. Even though I grew up in the church and was saved at an early age, I was searching for answers in my life during this time. After class, I would go back to my apartment, and I would watch Benny Hinn on TBN. I would listen to the message of the gospel that I knew so well. I would see the many people that were being healed, and I would be encouraged in my faith. Then one day, I felt an urging in my spirit to give, financially, to Benny Hinn’s ministry. I really wanted to give something special, so I gave $100. For a college student who has no job and little savings, $100 is a lot of money! I remember going to the mailbox and thinking how crazy it was for me to be doing this. It was actually difficult for me to let go of the envelope after placing it in the Post Office container, but I did. After I let it go, I felt a rush of joy run through me, and I thanked God. A couple years later, I met my beautiful wife, who is God’s special gift to me, and, after graduation from business school, I received my call from God to full-time ministry, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and began the work of an evangelist. After searching for the right seminary, my wife and I chose Regent University Divinity School. Once I was accepted, I applied for scholarships. Do you know who ended up paying a large amount of my tuition? It was Benny Hinn Ministries! That $100 that I had given years before had miraculously turned into thousands and thousands of dollars! Now, five years after graduating from Regent, my wife and I have been blessed to be able to give $200 to ministries like Benny Hinn’s each week. I tell this story in every church that I have an opportunity. God has shown his faithfulness to me in so many ways, but this miracle is irrefutable. Thank you, Regent, for making this miracle possible in my life, and thank you for everything!
The year I graduated Regent launched a new PhD program called Renewal Theology. Since my vision was global evangelism, I needed more training for the challenges ahead of me in the ministry. Dr. Vinson Synan who was dean at that time graciously invited me to join this program. I knew with all the responsibilities I had in addition to being a mother of a six month old baby and a toddler, this was impossible. However, in the orientation of the program, God brought Drs. Stan and Ruth Burgess into my life, who confirmed God’s call and advised me that I stay in the program.
After three years of course work, I faced a great challenge with my health. All of a sudden I fell very ill with vertigo, dizziness and headaches. I had to take several tests and MRI’s but doctors could not figure out what was going on in my body. It was at this time that I was introduced to the ministry of Gordon Robertson who helped me to fly higher in my walk with Jesus. Through his ministry he taught me not to tell God how big the mountains are but to tell the mountains how big my God is. In one of his meetings God completely healed me of my dizziness and made me whole and healthy again.
The next semester God opened the door for me to become the chaplain for Regent Divinity School. This door gave me the opportunity to counsel, pray and minister to the needs of students from many different Nations. God blessed our chapels and brought several mighty servants of God including Dr. Pat Robertson, D.r Gordon Robertson, Heidi Baker, and may others to minister in our Divinity chapels.
God brought wonderful friends into my life at Regent who have brought me closer to Jesus. As iron sharpens iron, we felt the need to start a Bible study group where we can worship, share and pray to grow together in the Lord. Out of this great hunger for the word of God was born the Bible study group called Jars of Clay. God began to move in the Bible study and with time limitations we felt the need to stay longer and intercede without restrictions. This initiated the monthly all night prayers and students were tremendously blessed when God came down to answer our prayers. For the past two years we have truly enjoyed the presence of God at these prayer meetings. Students gather together from 13 different nations to seek God in these all night prayer vigils. Many are filled with the Holy Spirit and others who have graduated have started their own prayer groups.
My first modular week in Virginia Beach …How insightful it was to join a committed staff and group of students who were already serving God in a myriad of ways. An evening of praise and worship at that same modular week…It was so uplifting and God's glory was so present. I remember sensing that my calling to seminary was confirmed there.
A modular with Francis and Judith MacNutt at Virginia Beach…A group of students had the privilege of praying for healing for a very, very depressed man.
Another modular with Charles Holman at the Alexandria campus for Unity of the Bible…Such a sweet, gentle and wise man, I gained so much insight about the themes that thread the Bible together! I remember sitting next to his wife, who came along for the class as apparently she often did, and having a laugh or two with her during the breaks.
World Christian Perspectives at the Alexandria campus… Pat West receiving words of knowledge during our worship time…one in particular for me, which still has impact to this day.
Spiritual Formation Lab in Alexandria… What a mighty anointing is upon you, Dr. Crabtree.
All the wonderful library personnel who helped me so much to find materials and would scan them and send electronically so I could complete my divinity term papers…Couldn't have done it without you.
I was on campus in a modular class at Virginia Beach when we heard the tragic news about Garry Hanvey. I flashed back to all the helpful emails he sent to me about the materials for the Old and New Testament courses....and how he was all about excellence.
Listening to Dr. Flynn's tapes over and over in Preparation of Biblical Messages…His teachings on preaching and teaching were mesmerizing.
I loved the theology classes… David Massey was ever so diligent and patient in his very thoughtful responses to postings on blackboard.
Dr. Daniel Peiffer
As first Belgian student at Regent, though well acquainted with Royalty and Kingdom citizenship, yet as we served among wounded peoples in the trail of past broken treaties and shameful victimization, where mistrust and suspicion are rampant, we had become very unassuming, almost unostentatious, loosing the rightful assertiveness of the gospel because of the painful context in which we ministered. Through the doctoral program in Leadership and Renewal, the Lord restored a proper understanding of "Apostolic Regency" in me; focusing afresh on who He called me to be and out of this royal authority, to call forth the same greatness in the indigenous leaders, plagued by low self esteem, we are mentoring.
The doctoral modulars and electives were customized to our field needs and allowed me to reflect, develop and innovate new receptor-oriented approaches for doing ministry in a native context. Our cohort was really "hand picked" of the Lord with a strong prophetic and apostolic anointing, which was welcomed, stimulated and enriched by our professors' spirituality and academic expertise. As a student, I have been affirmed, enriched and enlarged by the example and mentoring extended to us by Dr. Synan and Dr. Tjiong. They incarnated contagious leadership and made the program into the high quality it had.
One special incident occurred for me during a modular in April 2003. While at Regent, I found out that Cape Henry was the landing place in Virginia for the first European settlers in April 1607 to this continent. The Holy Spirit prompted me, as a present-day European immigrant, to go back to that very spot, which was in many respects a "spiritual gate" to the North American land and symbolically redress something. As I knelt down on that beach I was led to repent for the wrongs we did and pray that I may pass through this ancient gate with the mind of Christ towards the host people of the land. At times there are events in our lives that we may not always fathom or comprehend, yet as we obey they may have more significance than we realize. This was such a moment for me.
Regent University traces its roots back to the dedication prayer expressed at the first landing, and is blessing and sending forth workers to all the world. Yet our God, in His amazing wisdom, is bringing the world to Regent to train people for reigning. School of Divinity, I am humbled and ever so grateful for what God established in my life through you all. Thank you for modeling and inspiring me towards servant, empowering "Regent" leadership.
My most precious memories within the School of Divinity are tied to Dr. Charles Holman and his wife, Rose Holman. I began seminary during the most difficult time of my life. I had just lost my mother when I began taking the Principles of Bible Study class. So, to say that my critical thinking was challenged at that time is an understatement. I had not yet met anyone in the program who could have informed me of what a challenge Principles could be. I sincerely think that it was more difficult, on some level, than the Greek and Hebrew course work. Perhaps it was simply the timing, I do not know. However, Dr. Holman presented as the most knowledgeable, lover of Scripture and intense professor that I had ever known. I can say this without reservation, as the seminary program was actually my second experience in acquiring a Master's level education.
Dr. Holman motivated us to strive for excellence and precision in exegeting the Scripture. The atmosphere in the classroom was, at times, both threatening and stimulating. No one wanted to be caught off guard or to be found unprepared. There was a competitive edge present at all times for me. Yet, Dr. Holman was so reassuring in his demeanor and in the ways that he attempted to engage us. He set the bar high, but it never seemed out of our reach, when effort was applied.
The most wonderful aspect of my seminary experience, apart from the rigor in the classroom with Dr. Holman, was his willingness to incorporate fun and fellowship with the students when he invited us to share dinner, in his home with him and his wife, Rose. It seems that we were honored, as others classes had been, to come sup with them, as a family. I felt special and included in the broader Regent University family, as a result of this personal touch. It was a big event in my estimation. There was plenty food to be shared, music to be sung, as well as testimonies, and yes laughter, with this wonderful man and his wife, Rose. It was a joy and a pleasure to witness such love and affection between the two of them, as a couple. It was also a wonderful reminder that he was not all about the rigors of academia, but he was also a loving husband and father.
Miss Rose also welcomed us warmly into their home, like a "mother gathering her chicks" to a place of haven. She shared family pictures with us and spoke of her early life experiences and how she and Dr. Holman had come to meet. It was all so very refreshing and for a few hours, the time shared fostered a strong sense of community, and helped to remind me that life could still be wonderful, in spite of our losses. I shall never forget Dr. and Mrs. Holman. They were a true reflection of the love of Christ being shed abroad!
I can remember a special time for me was when I had the privilege to be the chaplain for the school of Divinity for the year 1992-93 (after Alan Pearce had to step down) . . . I remember especially doing a unique emphasis on Communion during the 1993 Winter Quarter (I believe), where we went through the entire life of Jesus throughout the quarter, and shared Communion together every week, focusing on a different part of Jesus’ life each week . . . It was neat to see how many different ways we could share Communion!
I also remember:
- Many great Greek classes at 8 a.m. in the morning!
- Wonderful moments with Dr. Umidi in his Church and Ministry course
- Great “aha” moments as we observed the Scriptures in Dr. Holman’s Principles of Bible Interpretation class . . .
- A very special “personal retreat” time in Dr. Crabtree’s class, where we were supposed to take an entire afternoon and pray, reflect, journal (Practical Christian Spirituality??)
- I had a tremendous time traveling with Dr. Holman to the Toronto SPS Conference, where both of us were presenting papers.
- The Commissioning Services were always very special, especially to see what was prophesied over each student.
- I enjoyed the wonderful theological discussions I had with my three great friends upstairs in the Library around one of the tables—Mitch Arbelaez, Don Brubaker, and Garry Hanvey.
- I remember being a part of the interview process for Dr. Synan to come on board as our new dean . . . it was a great interview!
When I came to Regent in the fall of 2004, I felt exhausted and defeated. In my stubborn refusal to do things God's way, He had allowed everything of value to be stripped from me. I moved to Virginia Beach in a state of total surrender to His ways because my ways had failed so miserably. I had been out of school for six years, I had no connections to anyone at the school, and I felt totally alone. From the first day I walked onto campus, things began to change for me. For the first time in years, I was surrounded by people (other than my family) who believed in me. They encouraged me to reach for the goals God had placed in my heart. They cheered me on and gave me great confidence.
From the beginning, God placed me in positions of high visibility that I did not even know to look for. Through a graduate assistant position in The Center for Student Development with Joel Ladd, I was able to meet many people across campus and increase my life skills. Dr. Joseph Umidi prompted me to run for student government and through that service I was given wonderful opportunities to lead the School of Divinity. He also taught me how to actively listen to others and ask questions that would encourage and empower them - exactly what my professors at Regent were doing for me.
During my second year, I worked in Divinity Career and Alumni Services with Dr. Diane Chandler. Working with Dr. Chandler every day allowed me to see how it's possible to work very hard and accomplish much, but still maintain a sense of inner peace and keep the Sabbath. Dr. James Flynn was my academic advisor, preaching professor, and independent study professor. He helped me believe that I had a story worth telling and a delivery style I could feel confident about. He poured life and energy into me that strengthens my confidence today when I get up to speak or sit down to write.
Upon graduation, I found myself honored with the Award of Excellence. It was the first time I'd ever received a top award for anything and I was shocked. I brought my father to the Commissioning Service, planning to introduce him to all my professors and tell him how amazing each one of them were. Instead, I couldn't get a word in edgewise as they told my father wonderful things about me.
I left Regent in 2006 with a new hope and ability to trust God. I was given the opportunity to practice pastoral and leadership roles with tremendous coaches behind me. Every professor I had at Regent helped form me into a woman who walks confidently in who she is in Christ and what she was created to do. I would like to say thank you to everyone who poured into my life during that time. I promise to do all that I can with my life to serve God and give back to others what you all gave to me.
During the 90’s for about 3 or 4 years, every time I saw the commercial on 700 Club advertising Regent University Graduate School I got that why-don’t-you-go feeling. Since I had completed the Bible College at my Church I figured that I had done all I needed to do as far educating myself in biblical stuff. Besides, Regent was expensive and I was looking forward to retiring from my government job in few years. On top of all that I had promised myself when I finished graduate school in 1976 that I would not put myself through that kind of torture again. Working and going to school is no joke. The thing is, that inner feeling I had to attend Regent would not go away so I approached my Pastor about it. His immediate response was “you can do that with your eyes closed.” Little did he know? So I said OK, let’s just see where God is going with this. But still wanting to be sure, I prayed and told God that I would know He was in this thing if I could do the whole 60 credits without incurring a student loan debt. I felt that at my age I could not stand having to pay off a student loan.
Well, I applied, was accepted and started the program in September of 1999 and to my surprise the money was there each semester. At first I thought it was about the hardest thing I had ever gotten myself into. The classes were serious stuff, not that hard, just time consuming. Working all day and studying at night really worked the body. Finally I came to the conclusion that I would only take one class each semester and it was still taxing to my body. The funny thing is it never occurred to me that I could quit. About half way through the courses I learned to slow down and actually enjoy the journey I was on. So after seven years I graduated with the 2007 graduating class.
I learned a lot in those seven years at Regent, yet I still feel that there is so much more to learn. The one thing I appreciate most about attending Regent is that I was exposed to people of different denominations and it gave me a world view of Christianity.