The term "Bible Chair" is an adaption of a term used in any college or university where a private endowment pays the salary for a professor. The teacher works for the school, but is paid by the endowment.
When describing a Bible Chair, the endowment pays for both the teacher and the building where the classes are offered. Then, the building is also used as a student center where the students can rest, play and study the Bible.
This Bible Chair was the brain-child of Gordon Downing, long time director of the Bible Chair at WT, and was initially financed and overseen by the San Jacinto congregation. Established in 1972, Gordon directed it for four years. Dean Morgan came and stayed until 1981. A man named Wayne Wilks followed Dean but had a very short tenure; and Jerry Klein was the director from the fall of 1982 until 1995. Wyatt Fenno, Mark Johnson, Bobby Boaldin and Frank Bellizzi followed. When the San Jacinto congregation decided that they could no longer oversee the work, the elders at Comanche Trail accepted the oversight on the condition that Jerry Klein would be the director--and he returned to work here full-time beginning in the fall of 2013 through the Spring 2017 semester. Bell Avenue church of Christ became the overseeing congregation in January of 2017. Mural Worthey took over as Director in July 2017.
On Monday we begin our fourth week in Spring 2 of our online classes. The challenges of going entirely electronic seemed almost overwhelming at first. Each week adjustments have been made and the classes are becoming more enjoyable, though I miss seeing the students face-to-face and getting to know them personally. This eight-week session, I am presently teaching 32 students.
Students are registering for both Summer and Fall classes. I am scheduled to teach six classes, among them are Romans and Revelation. I want to invite you to take one or both of these classes for credit or audit. It will be great to be back in class at the Bible Chair.
On Friday morning, our president, Russell Lowry-Hart, presented a virtual town hall meeting with faculty and staff. About 450 participated. As you might imagine, much of our discussion concerned the virus and how the school is responding. He announced that we will continue teaching online for the first part of the summer and hopefully by the Fall semester we will be able to attend on campus again. This depends on the spread/decline of the virus and the advice of the local officials. Our AC electronic leaders estimate that the peak of the virus in Amarillo will occur around May 13.
Our Spring semester ends on May 22. AC’s 100th graduation ceremony will be conducted on June 21, though this is the first one done entirely electronically. Students will be dressed in cap and gown. Families will celebrate the event from home.