“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1). According to Psalm 136, we have many reasons to give God thanks. God is by nature good and, because God is eternal, his goodness towards his people endures forever. Psalm 136 identifies the good God as the supreme and sole “lord” and “god” and therefore as the supreme and sole benefactor of all the benefits that we enjoy. Psalm 136 extols God as the sole worker of wonders: God is praised as the maker of all things, as the redeemer of his people, and as the one who feeds all living creatures.
The season of Thanksgiving affords us an opportunity to join Psalm 136 in recounting a few examples of the Lord’s goodness to RTS Orlando over the past year.
1. Savannah Howard’s 5 years of service. Savannah Howard joined the staff of RTS Orlando five years ago as Communications and Development Coordinator. In 2021, after completing her MBA at Oklahoma State University, she was promoted to Communications and Development Manager. Not only has Savannah led our communications efforts with aplomb over the past five years. She’s also become a vital part of our development efforts and a much beloved member of our staff.
2. Paideia Center website relaunched. This fall, we relaunched an updated website for our Paideia Center for Whole Life Discipleship. The site hosts a treasure trove of resources funded by three RTS Orlando ministries: (1) Paideia Center reading groups; (2) Teaching Women to Teach; and (3) the newly launched Institute for Faith, Work, and Culture. (If you find the new website helpful, then send Leigh Swanson a note. She provided oversight for the new design while laid up with a ruptured Achilles.)
3. Inaugural “Bavinck Lecture.” Speaking of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Culture, Dr. James Eglinton, Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology at the University of Edinburgh, helped launch the Institute this past October by delivering our inaugural “Bavinck Lecture.” It was a great pleasure hosting Dr. Eglinton on campus. You can listen to his lecture here.
4. Ordinations. Last spring, Bryan Fowler (MDiv 2021) was ordained to the gospel ministry in the PCA. Bryan serves as a workplace chaplain at AGI, where he offers Bible studies, oversees AGI’s counseling services, and leads the company’s community outreach. Last month, Nathaniel Crofutt (MDiv 2022) sustained his oral examination in theology on the floor of the OPC Presbytery of the South. Nathaniel has been a pastoral intern at Redemption OPC in Gainesville, Florida. We are excited to see him assume the role of associate pastor in the same church early next year. Congratulations, Bryan and Nathaniel!
5. Kelly Kapic. This year, we have the privilege of honoring Dr. Kelly Kapic (MDiv 98) with our Distinguished Alumni Award. In his role as Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College, Kelly has educated and encouraged hundreds of students over the years and he continues to be a good and gracious friend to RTS Orlando. Kelly will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at our Vision Dinner on February 28, 2023 at the Alfond Inn. If you haven’t read it yet, you really need to get a copy of his latest book, You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News.
6. Oviedo Counseling Clinic. In 1995, Northland Church partnered with RTS Orlando to start the Oviedo Counseling Clinic. For over twenty years, the clinic has provided Christ-centered clinical counseling to Central Floridians, while serving as the clinical training ground for RTS Orlando MAC students. To give you a sense of the scope of the clinic’s ministry: Over the past eighteen months, RTS Orlando MAC students have counseled 602 clients through 8440 sessions spanning over 11,000 hours of counseling. This past spring, the clinic transitioned to become an exclusive entity of RTS Orlando. We are thankful for Northland’s faithful and fruitful partnership through the years and look forward to seeing how the Lord will continue to use the clinic to bless our community in years to come.
7. Sarah Baker and Yanan Bai. The success of the Oviedo Counseling Clinic is determined in no small measure by its excellent leadership. Last December, Sarah Baker (MAC 2007) retired from her role as OCC Director after twelve years of faithful service. Though we are sad to see Sarah go, we are also thankful that the Lord has provided for us in RTS Orlando’s own Yanan Bai (MAC 2020). Yanan has taken over where Sarah left off and is already proving to be a wise and capable Director for the clinic.
8. Church planting. We are thankful for the many RTS Orlando students and alumni engaged in the work of church planting. This fall, Matthew Ryman (MDiv 2009) led the launch of Trinity Church in Wayzata, Minnesota. A bit further to the southwest, Byron West, a current RTS Orlando DMin student, is in the process of launching All Souls Presbyterian Church in Dripping Springs, Texas. Please pray for the Lord’s blessings on these ministries.
9. Faculty publications. The faculty of RTS Orlando continue to make significant contributions to theological scholarship. This past year, Dr. Nicholas Reid published Prisons in Ancient Mesopotamia with Oxford University Press. Dr. Michael Allen published two volumes with T & T Clark, The Fear of the Lord: Essays on Theological Method and The Knowledge of God: Essays on God, Christ, and Church.
10. Mike Glodo’s 25 years of service. This year, we celebrate Professor Mike Glodo’s 25 years of service to RTS Orlando. Professor Glodo has worn many hats during his time at the seminary. He’s taught biblical studies and pastoral theology. He’s served as Dean of Students and Dean of the Chapel. Students don’t spend very long on campus before discovering his open door, cozy rocking chair, and wise counsel. His pugs are well-known. His pop culture references are (for the most part) well-chosen. His value to our campus is immeasurable. Professor Glodo embodies in our midst Bruce Waltke’s description of the righteous man who lives to enrich others at his own expense rather than enriching himself at the expense of others. Thanks, Mike, for 25 years of service to Christ, our students, and the church. And thanks for your friendship.