November 10, 2010
After 100 years, Oklahoma Baptist University and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma return to their roots in Shawnee, OK.
It was at Stubblefield Chapel that both Bison Hill and the BGCO were founded and began a century’s worth of traditions.
Initially, the BGCO was comprised of two separate conventions; part of the group met in Stubblefield Chapel and the other met in an old theatre in downtown Shawnee.
So, in 1906, the BGCO was founded.
“One of the pictures used is one of a marriage they talk about the two coming together, the two become one,” said Dale Griffin, dean of spiritual life at OBU.
“And then one of the first things they decided they wanted to do as a convention was to establish a university to educate Baptist youth.”
That is when the first ideas came forth and four years later, the BGCO had the beginnings of OBU.
In 2006, the BGCO celebrated its 100-year anniversary of its founding and now it is Bison Hill’s turn to celebrate a century’s worth of work and educating students.
“Well now, we are celebrating OBU’s 100th year and it just seemed obvious that the best place to do that would be right here on campus,” Griffin said.
“They’ll all be driving past Stubblefield Chapel, they’ll be right here in town where the convention began and at the university that they established as one of their first major acts as a convention. For those reasons, we’re having the convention here.”
Griffin said this would mean a great deal to the university because Bison Hill is “still fulfilling the charge given to [them] by the convention to educate both in piety and in the greatest academic offerings possible.”
As for the BGCO, Griffin said he hopes the BGCO sees this as a great opportunity for them as well as OBU.
“Our hope is that they see the significance in a sentimental way that we’re going back to the beginning,” Griffin said. “What I think for the convention, more than the sentimental value, I think for them, its going to mean an opportunity to celebrate that what they’ve done in establishing a university is something that’s worth celebrating. There’re going to be able to look at OBU and say this vision that our forefathers had is being fulfilled.”
Other locations were considered for this year’s annual convention including some of the regular choices such as Quailsprings, First Moore, First Southern Dale City and Battle Creek.
“Typically that’s what they do, but when we began to put our centennial plans together two years ago, probably more than that, we’ve been trying pull in a lot over the last couple of years,” Griffin said. “We just thought early on that we need to ask the convention just approach them and see during our centennial year, would you like to meet on our campus and they said absolutely.”
During the convention, there will be three different events: the pastor’s conference Monday morning in Potter Auditorium, the Women’s Mission and Ministry conference Monday afternoon in Yarbrough Auditorium and the BGCO conference Monday evening and all day Tuesday in Potter Auditorium.
“Monday morning is the pastor’s conference and that is a time of inspiration, motivation, encouragement,” Griffin said. “[It is] a time for pastors to gather together for some strong teaching.”
Griffin said the Women’s Missions and Ministry conference will be similar to the pastor’s convention.
At the BGCO’s convention yearly reports will be made by the BGCO, OBU and other Baptist organizations.
“It’s a time for reporter on what all the entities are doing,” Griffin said. “OBU will have opportunities to report, Baptist Foundation will have an opportunity to report, the children’s homes, a retirement centers; everyone has an opportunity to report. Time is limited, but they are able to report.”
“In addition to that, they take care of business,” Griffin said. “That’s when resolutions are presented, that’s when details that are the business of the convention that takes a vote from the messengers from the churches across the state, the 1700 churches that will be represented by the messengers, that’s when they take care of those business matters.”
Tuesday evening is when the International Mission Board will be commissioning 15 new missionaries to the field. The preprogram will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the main meeting is at 7:00 p.m. Chapel credit will be given to students who attend this meeting in Potter Auditorium.
Griffin said that OBU will not only make annual reports to the BGCO, but will also answer some misconstrued viewpoints of Bison Hill.
“We’re going to address some of those questions because they’re on our campus and we’ve created some videos that are going to answer some of those questions and debunk some of the false concepts that are out there about what OBU is,” Griffin said.