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March 2018


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Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit

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Todd and Merinda Parrish Appointed to Advancement Roles

Reverend F. Todd Parrish has been named director of church relations and major gifts officer, and his wife Merinda has been named major gifts liaison at Welch College, according to David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement. The couple began their duties January 2. Parrish came to Welch from his position as senior pastor of First FWB Church, Washington, North Carolina, and Mrs. Parrish was a national board-certified English teacher at Bear Grass Charter School in Bear Grass, North Carolina.



“Todd and Merinda will bring their infectious excitement about the ministry of Welch to their new roles here,” said Williford. “Their church has sent 12 students to Welch College in the past four years, including both their daughters. The Parrishes have been active in fundraising, friend raising, and alumni work for Welch for years. Now, they will step into a role where they will do that professionally. I’m excited about what they’ll add to our presence in the denomination and with donors.”

A 1989 Welch graduate, Parrish obtained his M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Webster University in 2010 and is currently completing the M.A. in Theology and Ministry from Welch. Parrish started as a youth and music minister and for the past two decades has pastored Free Will Baptist churches. A 1991 Welch graduate, Merinda holds an M.A. in Secondary Education/Literacy-Reading Specialist from University of Alabama.


Student Activities Center Opens

The Welch College Student Activities Center opened Friday, November 10, according to President Matt Pinson. The center houses the gymnasium, coffee shop, student recreation area, fitness center, maintenance department, offices, and classrooms.

Friends and members of the college community celebrated with an evening of festivities including a grand opening ceremony followed by a tailgate party and cookout. The Flames basketball team then played its first game in the new gymnasium.

“The completion of the Student Activities Center marks the conclusion of Phase One of the construction of the new Welch campus,” President Pinson said. “The students have been eagerly anticipating this new facility that will be the hub of student life.”

To see photographs of the new campus and for more information about funding this effort, visit


Soccer Added to Athletic Program

Welch College will field men and women’s soccer teams starting in 2018-2019, according to Athletic Director Greg Fawbush, who announced the initiative following the first home basketball games in the newly constructed Student Activities Center.

The college currently has intercollegiate teams in women’s volleyball, basketball, and cross-country, and men’s cross-country, golf, and basketball. Welch College is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association and competes in the Midwest region.

“It is an exciting time to be part of the Flames athletic department,” Coach Fawbush said. “Soccer is the natural next addition to our sports programs. The sport of soccer has grown in popularity, and we believe it complements our three goals of commitment, character, and courage. The addition of soccer teams gives the college a greater opportunity to invest in the lives of the youth of our denomination.”

For more information on any of the athletic programs, or if you are a student athlete interested in playing soccer, or know of a potential participant, please contact Coach Fawbush:


Enrollment Highest in a Decade

Welch enrollment totaled 385 for the Fall 2017 semester, marking the highest enrollment in ten years, according to Provost Matthew McAffee. “We have not seen an enrollment number like this since the fall semester of 2006,” said McAffee. “We are thrilled by this headcount and believe it shows we are gaining significant momentum in enrollment growth.”

Registrar Sharon Rodgers completed final enrollment statistics for the fall 2017 semester, after registration for the third session for the Online and Enriched Adult Studies programs was complete. Statistics show the fall enrollment in all major areas was greater than at any point since before the Recession, which drove enrollment numbers down from 2008 to 2011, until they began to rebound in 2012.
The full-time equivalent enrollment for Fall 2017 was 280, the highest since 2007, when that number was 287. At 385, the fall 2017 number was the highest since 2006 when the number was 391. The dormitory enrollment was 196, the highest since 2007 when the number was 209.

“For the past five years, Welch has experienced a rebound in enrollment from our difficult years back in the Recession,” said Welch President Matt Pinson. “Like many Christian colleges, enrollment dipped in the aftermath of the Recession, and we struggled as a result. We’re thankful to have seen enrollment gradually increase over the past five years, and it’s great to see it reach pre-Recession levels.”

Officials credit the college’s name change and relocation to the new campus in Gallatin, Tennessee, with much of the recent growth. “I wouldn’t be surprised if enrollment tops 500 in the next year or two, and sets an all-time record in the year or two after that,” Pinson said.

For more information, visit To give to the capital campaign to fund construction of the new campus, visit


2017 Theological Symposium Meets

Nashville, TN—The Free Will Baptist Theological Symposium, sponsored by the Commission for Theological Integrity, met October 23-24 on Welch College’s new campus in Gallatin, Tennessee. More than 250 people from four states attended one or more of the nine presentations. Many more attended the meeting digitally through the live stream, which may still be viewed at

As an open forum, paper topics spanned a range of fields, including apologetics, Arminian theology, the documentary hypothesis, faith and scholarship, judgment, the Lord’s Supper, missions, and Pauline theology:

  • Matthew Steven Bracey –“Faith and Scholarship: A Christian Calling”

  • Jeff Cockrell – “Understanding Paul Since Luther: The New Perspective and Its Effects”

  • Joshua Colson – “Calvin’s View of the Supper”

  • Adam Holloway – “Presuppositional Apologetics in a Postmodern Age”

  • Matthew McAffee – “Losing Favor With the Gods: Divine Judgment in the Old Testament World”

  • David Outlaw – “A Consideration of Christopher Wright’s Missional Hermeneutic”

  • Jesse Owens – “English General Baptists: The Arminian Anti-rationalists”

  • Matthew Pinson – “Individual Election in the Thought of Jacobus Arminius”

  • Raven Tuttobene – “I Love Lucy: Assumptions in Using Cultural Evolution as the Basis for the Documentary Hypothesis”

An implicit theme throughout the papers was a Free Will Baptist defense of the issues at hand. Attendees consistently identified the Free Will Baptist position as appealing and persuasive. Perhaps the most touching moment of the symposium came when commission members phoned Randy Corn to tell him how much they missed him. Randy began serving on the Commission in 2013 but recently resigned due to health concerns. His presence will be missed.

To purchase the digest of papers, or the newly released volume of Integrity, email, call 636-222-2784, or visit the commission’s website listed above. The 2018 Symposium will be held at Randall University in Moore, Oklahoma, October 22-23. The Commission encourages all prospective presenters to submit paper ideas to

©2017 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists