Yesterday, at the invitation of Dr. David Norris, I had the privilege to teach a three hour Pneumatology class at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. The subject was the gifts of the Spirit. I realized this may be the last time I am ever on the Urshan campus before the move to the new campus in Wentzville, Missouri, this fall.
Although I retired from full time employment with UGST on July 1, 2018, it was with a mutual agreement with the school administration that, if there were a need to do so, the school could invite me to return to teach from time to time. Earlier this week, I accepted an invitation to teach a course on the Book of Psalms for this upcoming fall semester at the beautiful new forty three acre campus in Wentzville.
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to teach during the final semester on the campus that long served Gateway College of Evangelism and, more recently, Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology. In addition, I am thankful for the privilege of teaching during the first semester on the new campus of the Urshan system.
It is possible to take classes from UGST as a guest or to audit classes. A person who wishes to explore the Book of Psalms with me next semester, but who is not enrolled as a student, could go to the website [www.ugst.edu], click “Admissions” on the menu bar, then click “Apply for admission,” “Apply as a guest or audit,” and then complete the form to obtain full information.
My history with the Howdershell, Florissant campus goes back quite a few years. Actually, I was on the original campus of Gateway College of Evangelism before the school moved to Howdershell. This was sometime during 1968 – 1970, when I served as Director of Promotions and Publications for the General Sunday School Division of the United Pentecostal Church, Inc., under the direction of J. O. Wallace, the director of the division. I was on campus with the mission of developing some promotional material for the annual North American Sunday school attendance drive.
The school quickly outgrew the first campus and in 1971 moved to 700 Howdershell Road in Florissant, Missouri. This beautiful campus of some twenty acres had previously served the St. Stanislaus Seminary, the oldest college campus west of the Mississippi River.
In 1974, President W. C. Parkey invited me to join the Gateway faculty, where I would teach courses in Christian education. I also taught the Media Evangelism course, which published a tabloid sized newspaper for purposes of evangelism. The paper was called “The Good Word,” and the press run eventually reached 100,000.
Late in 1974, I think it was in November, I received a phone call from W. I. Black, the district superintendent of the Missouri district of the UPC. He asked if I were interested in pastoring. His call resulted in my seven and one-half year pastorate of the First Pentecostal Church in Dupo, Illinois. As a result, I taught for only one full semester at Gateway.
That was not the end of my involvement with the school, however. In the early 1980s, I worked with Gateway to develop a continuing education program. The purpose was to provide an opportunty for those who had some college but who had never completed a degree to do so by taking concentrated classes on campus and developing portfolios of their previous educational experiences. Several people graduated from this program.
In 1982, I moved my family from Illinois to California, where I was involved in administration and teaching until 2007 at Christian Life College. But even during this time, I was able to return to the Howdershell campus from time to time as an adjunct professor for Urshan Graduate School of Theology, located on the same campus as Gateway. As I recall, the first class I taught for UGST was a week long course in January 2001, the first year of the seminary’s operation.
My work as an adjunct continued until 2007, when Judy and I returned, with my mother, from California back to the St. Louis area, where I planned to serve as a part time faculty member at UGST in what I termed “semi-retirement.” This description of my work didn’t last long. Soon, I found myself serving as the academic dean in addition to teaching. Then, in addition to these responsibilities, I moved into a new office and also functioned as dean of administration.
So, I have quite a long and storied past relationship with Howdershell. I will always have fond memories of students and faculty and administrative friends. But it’s time to move on. The schools now occupying the campus – Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology – have outgrown the campus. I can honestly say I was there in the early days, and I am happy to still be around in some capacity in these days.
Goodbye, Howdershell. Hello, Wentzville.[archive]