ANKENY, Iowa—Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary honored its class of 2022 on Friday, May 6, during Commencement exercises in front of a capacity crowd in the Nettleton Center gymnasium. Dr. Jason Ormiston, senior pastor of Family Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, gave the charge to graduates. Ceremonies concluded with the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Pastor David Strope, former pastor of Ankeny Baptist Church and current interim national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.

Awards Chapel and Commencement Ceremony

Faith Baptist Bible College began Commencement Day exercises with its annual Awards Chapel at 8 a.m. Students, staff, and faculty gathered to celebrate the achievements of graduates and to honor the retirement of Mr. Terry Waltersdorf, who is stepping down from 37 years of full-time service as Director of Dining Services.

Daylight broke with a mixture of clouds and early-morning precipitation, but skies cleared in time for the 10:30 a.m. Commencement ceremony, making for a delightful setting for group and family photos following the morning services. Many campus trees were just beginning to blossom, and the mild temperatures were a welcome relief from the cool, damp spring.

The official commencement ceremony began with the processional of 84 graduates, an invocation from Dr. Jim Tillotson, and a congregational hymn, To God Be the Glory. Scripture was read by Dr. Alan Cole, followed by special music by the Faith Chorale. Dr. Ormiston challenged graduates from Isaiah 58 to have a “broken and contrite heart,” in their approach to life and ministry post-graduation, to be humble, and to let God take care of the results.

Mr. Logan Scheps, a member of the Class of 2022, performed a piano arrangement of How Great Thou Art, followed by the presentation of the Class of 2022 and the awarding of college diplomas.

First-Ever Doctoral Degrees Conferred

In the same year the college has celebrated its 100th anniversary, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (FBTS) made history of its own this Commencement, conferring its first-ever doctoral degrees upon two seminary graduates. Dr. Mark Lounsbrough and Dr. Charlie Eldred each received the Doctor of Ministry degree from FBTS, completing all coursework and requirements of the program which began in 2019.

“I think being the first in anything is always very, very special,” remarked Dr. Tillotson on the historic occasion. “Both of you are a great example of everything we’d want Faith to represent. You both have wonderful ministries. It is a true honor that you are the first graduates in this program.”

Pastor Strope Awarded Doctor of Divinity

Ceremonies concluded on Friday with the conferring of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree upon Pastor David E. Strope. Strope served locally at Ankeny Baptist Church as the senior pastor for more than 22 years and has served as a pastor for 45 years in Ankeny, Iowa, and in his home state of New York. Dr. Strope has been a longtime supporter of the work of FBBC&TS and has contributed greatly to the mission and vision of the school, serving as an adjunct faculty professor, chapel speaker, pastor and mentor of many of the institution’s faculty, staff, and students, and as a friend and resource of counsel to the president of Faith, Dr. Jim Tillotson.

Dr. Strope thanked his wife and children, his extended family, ministry colleagues, and the congregations he has served for their encouragement and support in his service for Christ.

“If I were to borrow Paul’s words,” remarked Dr. Strope, ‘God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of Christ.’ That is indeed my glory and my honor today.”

Looking Forward

The conclusion of the spring semester marked the end of a yearlong celebration of 100 years of Faith Baptist Bible College, which began as Omaha Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1921. Faith will turn 101 years old on September 28, 2022. With an enrollment that is expected to climb again next fall, campus improvement projects that are already underway for the summer, and a gifted group of board members and administrators, FBBC is poised to thrive well into its second century.

Mark your calendars now to honor the Class of 2023 on May 5, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. in the Nettleton Center.

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