SBC DIGEST: Anderson divinity school partners with 2nd convention; Employee Benefits Summit slated March 27–29

Anderson divinity school partners with 2nd convention

SENECA, S.C. (BP) -- The Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina has voted to establish a partnership with Anderson University's Clamp Divinity School.

The Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina encompasses 1,100 churches and 230,000 members across the state. It was founded in 1877 by a group of black men who came together to enhance the quality of life in their churches and to provide a means of bringing churches together on a statewide basis to address the educational needs of African Americans of all ages.

In the BEMCSC partnership, the Clamp Divinity School will become the center for graduate theological education for churches of the convention. Members of participating BEMCSC churches will qualify for a special scholarship offered through the partnership for students enrolled in the master of divinity and master of ministry degree programs at Anderson.

James Blassingame, president of the BEMCSC, said the convention believes the partnership with the Clamp Divinity School "will be a blessing to our member churches and to present and future generations of ministers who will benefit from seminary training through this relationship." Blassingame has been pastor of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter since 1984.

The BEMCSC currently supports two liberal arts colleges, Morris College and Benedict College, but has not previously had a formal affiliation with a seminary or divinity school.

Michael Duduit, founding dean of the Clamp Divinity School, said, "[W]e believe this is an ideal partnership that will serve the churches of the BEMCSC and strengthen the Clamp Divinity School's outreach and service to the congregations of our state.

"Our focus at Clamp is to provide graduate training for pastors and church leaders that is solidly biblical and intensely practical, and in that we share a common Kingdom mission with the churches of the BEMCSC," Duduit said.

The Clamp Divinity School of Anderson University was established in 2009 and now offers master of divinity, master of ministry and doctor of ministry degrees in both traditional and online formats. Anderson University is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

More information about the Clamp Divinity School is available at or by calling 864-328-1809.


Employee Benefits Summit slated March 27–29

DALLAS (BP) -- Key ministry decision-makers, along with human resource professionals and financial officers of churches and ministries, are invited to register for the first Employee Benefits Summit presented by GuideStone Financial Resources, March 27–29 in Dallas.

The Employee Benefits Summit, a combination of GuideStone's popular Southern Baptist Business Officers' Conference held each spring and the Benefits Forum held in the fall, will provide an expanded menu of networking and training opportunities in one annual conference.

Registration is $199. An additional $50 per person dinner and tour of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the nearby SMU campus also is available.

Speakers at this year's conference will include Richard Hammar, a noted expert in the area of ministerial taxes; David S. Spika, GuideStone Capital Management, LLC, president who has been featured on CNBC, Fox Business Network, The Wall Street Journal and other publications; Danny Miller, a lawyer and expert on church and ministry retirement plans; Greg Baylor, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a noted legal group that fights for religious freedom in the courts; and Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which has argued many cases dealing with religious liberty before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The Employee Benefits Summit brings together leading experts to provide the latest news and actionable insight for personnel leaders in churches and ministry organizations," GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. "Any church or ministry leader who is responsible for employee benefits needs to mark their calendar and make plans to attend."

Registration for the Employee Benefits Summit is available by visiting

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Anderson University staff and Roy Hayhurst, director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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