What is a Bible Chair?
The term “Bible Chair” is an adaption of a term commonly used in colleges and universities. A “chair” can be established in any department to draw students due to the subject matter or the professor teaching in that position. In Amarillo the Bible Chair is not directly on campus but nearby and funded entirely by churches and individuals. Students can obtain an associate degree in religion accredited by Amarillo College. Amarillo Bible Chair is the only Chair at Amarillo College that teaches Bible courses for credit toward a religion degree. The academic classes are taught by William Mural Worthey. These students can then transfer to a university and pursue a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in religion.
The History of the Amarillo Bible Chair
The Amarillo Bible Chair was founded in 1972 by Gordon Downing and the San Jacinto church of Christ in Amarillo. Brother Downing directed the activities of the Bible Chair for four years, and the San Jacinto church has continued their support of the work for almost fifty years (1972-2022). We have had three churches in Amarillo oversee the Bible Chair over this period. They are San Jacinto church of Christ, Comanche Trail church of Christ, and Bell Avenue church of Christ. We have had a number of directors over the years. Following Gordon Downing, they are Dean Morgan, Wayne Wilks, Jerry Klein, Wyatt Fenno, Mark Johnson, Bobby Boaldin, Frank Bellizzi, Jerry Klein (second term), and Mural Worthey.
The Amarillo Bible Chair facility is located at 2501 S Jackson Street, across the street from Amarillo College. The building is used for students to gather for Christian fellowship, counseling, devotionals, lectures, Bible classes, fellowship meals, and to extend our presence and Christian influence among Amarillo college students, staff and community. We also host a Christian Club on campus known as Kappa Chi, which stands for Christian fellowship. William Mural Worthey is the director of the Amarillo Bible Chair.
Norma and Mural Worthey (pictured at left). Mural has been the Bible Chair Director since the summer of 2017. Mural serves as sponsor of Kappa Chi, our Christian club on campus; he teaches Bible classes at the Bible Chair and also is an instructor in the Philosophy Department of AC.
Finally, we have some good news concerning our planned building. We had a public hearing at City Hall on Wednesday before the Planning and Zoning Commission. A couple of families objected to our plans because they have homes nearby and they do not want any buildings that do not look residential. After some discussion, the commissioners voted 6 to 0 in our favor allowing the plans to go forward.
Our next step is to meet with the City Council for their final approval. This meeting should occur in a couple of weeks. After permits for construction are issued, we can begin the removal of the old house and construction of the new building. We hope that this can begin in a couple of months.
I appreciate those who came to the public hearing in support of the Bible Chair. We had 10 people present and 2 students who spoke to the commissioners about their classes and fellowship at the Bible Chair. Their comments were very impressive to the board members.
Our Fall classes are already halfway through. I have 55 students enrolled in classes and 70 signed up for membership in Kappa Chi, our Christian club on campus. Norma and I are impressed with the new students and their interest.