Father and son share big Saint Paul moment
By Holly McCray
Among six new graduates of Saint Paul at Oklahoma City University are a father and son. Perhaps the familiar saying "like father, like son" comes to mind.
But the reverse applies to Gary and Drew Haynes. Son Drew began attending the United Methodist seminary before his dad. However, the son knew his father planned to enroll at age 55.
Both men received their licenses to preach in 2005, completing the same Local Pastors Licensing School. They sometimes commuted together to required seminary classes on the Kansas City, Mo., campus of Saint Paul School of Theology. At the graduation convocation on Aug. 23 in OCU’s Smith Chapel, the academic regalia that both wore included honor cords.
Also in the Class of 2013 are Timothy Lyn Ashcraft, Stephen Paul Davis, Jacob Steven Lynn, and Shannon Carole Rodenberg.
Drew enrolled in 2007 in the very first class offered on the OCU campus by Saint Paul School of Theology; his teacher was Mark Davies. In 2009, Gary began his pursuit of the Master of Divinity degree.
Drew described the precise moment he heard his call to ministry. After his freshmen year at Oklahoma State University he returned home for summer, to Duncan, where his family was active at First UMC. He is a 2003 graduate of Duncan High School.
In an evening worship service during Youth Force-Lawton, Drew said, "I heard God speak to me during the message. God said, ‘I want you to love my children, and this is how I want you to do it.’"
He went on to earn an engineering degree. But although he enjoyed his work in that field, he found it "not quite fulfilling."
Drew was appointed to pastor Blackburn and Maramec churches in 2005. Then he met Amber, and the couple married in 2007.
Today Drew is an associate pastor at OKC-St. Luke’s, responsible for adult education and teaching ministry and for facility management. "The mentors are incredible" at St. Luke’s, he commented.
For Gary, too, the call to ministry "was clear as a bell." He explained his call as "desiring God more than the air I breathe." He recognized intercession as one of his spiritual gifts.
The family also knew he had a distinctive plan for seminary. Gary was a bivocational pastor for several years. He has a long career in oil and gas production and a math degree.
He has pastored at Lawton-Wesley Chapel and Mounds. He began a new appointment this year, at Hinton UMC.
Gary and his wife, Margaret, have three adult children, Joshua and twins Drew and Emily. Because of his family, Gary chose Saint Paul at OCU. "It was setting right here in Oklahoma City," he said.
He did express some nervousness about writing theological papers. He had spent 21 years translating and reducing oilpatch safety regulations to simpler forms! At Saint Paul, he earned a specialty in Wesleyan Studies.
Drew described his seminary studies as "a far cry from my engineering education." He relished "the wiggle room to engage and discuss, and learning how we can agree and disagree."
The August graduation extended into a reunion weekend for the family.
Both men enjoyed the opportunity to graduate together. But Gary added, "In that moment I was a dad, very excited" for a son.
A class sharing the Word
All six graduates are serving local churches. In Oklahoma, Rev. Rodenberg is pastor at Fairland; Rev. Ashcraft, at Geary; and Rev. Davis, at Watonga. Jacob Lynn, of Mount Ida, Ark., is the first Arkansas Conference pastor to earn the M.Div. at the seminary in Oklahoma City.
At commencement, Bishop Gary Mueller of Arkansas gave the Proclamation, titled "The Question." Musicians included the OKC-Quayle Praise Team.
New seminary year
On Sept. 9, Dean Elaine Robinson reported as the 2013-14 academic year unfolded for Saint Paul at OCU.
She said 88 percent of the seminary’s total enrollment is United Methodist. And among all students, 41 percent are racial-ethnic and international pupils.
President to retire
President Myron McCoy has announced his intention to leave Saint Paul School of Theology in the summer of 2014 in order to embark upon the next chapter in his ministry, according to an Aug. 21 news release from the seminary’s central office in Kansas.
Rev. Dr. McCoy preached at the opening convocation Sept. 10 for Saint Paul at OCU.
13 complete ‘Seminary Lite’
Conference Lay Leader Chuck Stewart and President McCoy presented the Certificate in Lay Theology to 13 participants of "Seminary Lite." The program is a cooperative effort by the Conference Board of Laity and Saint Paul at OCU.