It was a historic day in the life of The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville on October 12, as BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen, Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green, and the BCF Trustees dedicated the John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History and the new Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center. Strategically located on the Graceville campus across from Heritage Village, the new center is now home to the Florida Baptist Archives and the entire historic collection available to students, professors, and researchers for many years to come.
The dedication ceremony began at the beautiful Clark House where years of memorabilia from the former Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer John Sullivan are now prominently displayed. After Kinchen welcomed guests to the dedication, Sullivan and Green were presented with signed resolutions officially establishing the endowed John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History and dedicating the new Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center. Kinchen voiced his great appreciation to the leadership of the Florida Baptist State Convention for the way they have continued to pray and support The Baptist College of Florida. Guests were encouraged to tour the remodeled facility, paying special attention to the Sullivan Room.
Following a brief tour of the facility, guests moved across Sanders Avenue for the special dedication of the new History and Heritage Center. Chair of the BCF Music and Worship Division Bill Davis and Counseling Professor Tonya Gardner led participants in a time of musical worship and thanksgiving. BCF Trustee Chair Tim Maynard offered remarks, stating that his hope for establishing the Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center is that it becomes a place where “you can learn where we have been as Baptists and where we are going.” Roger Richards, BCF Professor of History and Christian Studies, was named the John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History and Curator for the Florida Baptist Archives. As he assumed this new role, he stated that he does so with immense pride and excitement because, for him, “It is a dream come true to preserve the great history of Southern Baptists, Florida Baptists, and The Baptist College of Florida.” After a brief time of commemoration by Kinchen, BCF Academic Dean Robin Jumper ended the dedication ceremony with a word of prayer. Kinchen invited everyone to look through the inside of the Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center after unveiling the sign in front of the building.
Establishing the endowed John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History and dedicating the new Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center on the BCF campus is more than just a historic event. Learning from the past and preserving the future is paramount for the next generation of Christian leaders. The archives and historical collections continue to tell the story of Florida Baptists and their faithfulness. BCF is committed to maintaining Florida Baptists heritage and hope.
For more information on the Florida Baptist History and Heritage Center located on the campus of The Baptist College of Florida, please call 850-263-3261 ext. 477 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.