Summer in the Rockies
Winter has finally receded in the northern Rocky Mountains and in its place has bloomed a lovely spring. The grass and flowers are growing, and the snow has been replaced by an occasional rain shower. As I write this note, the first year of the YTI Master of Divinity degree is coming to its conclusion. We’re proud of our students who endured a rigorous first year, and pleased that our faculty and staff have persevered through myriad adjustments. As we enter the last month of class, we celebrate the graduation of our Theology and Old Testament Professor, Rachel Toombs, from Baylor University. Her committee passed her with flying colors and she is now Dr. Rachel Toombs, Ph.D. We also celebrate her husband Lance’s completion of his first year at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, and his ascension to the “A.B.D.” level of candidacy. In the same vein, our longtime friend and colleague Brett Desper has reached that same level—A.B.D.—in his program at George Fox University. There is much to celebrate at YTI.
This winter and spring, I have been busily visiting churches, colleges, universities, seminaries, and Christian schools in Texas; Oklahoma; Kansas; Arkansas; Washington, D.C.; Arlington, VA; Augusta, GA; and Waynesboro, GA. I have been recruiting new students, meeting new donors and making new relationships with other institutions. Notably, we have entered into a partnership with Faith Christian Academy in Waynesboro, GA to begin a Yellowstone Summer Scholars program for high school students—what an opportunity! We have also made new friends at The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., and The John Leland Theological Center in Arlington, VA. In addition, we have made new friends at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Sterling College, and the University of Arkansas. Each of these institutions and their off-campus Christian ministries has wonderful visionary leadership. To say the least it was a good four months!
Although our faculty will be on vacation this June, our schedule picks up tempo in July. From July 8-28, the Bozeman Summer Session swings into action with our first ever Yellowstone Scholars program. Our scholars come from the University of Arkansas and Sterling College in Kansas this year, spending three weeks with our faculty getting firsthand experience of what to expect in theological studies, as well as enjoying the culture and dynamic adventure in the Gallatin Valley and Yellowstone region. During that time period, YTI will be hosting three different guest lecturers in our Master of Applied Theology program: Dr. Nathan Chambers, Dr. Sarah Gallant, and Dr. Justin Pritchett. They will be presenting on such varied topics as “Creation Narratives in the Old Testament,” “World Religions and the Making of Meaning,” and “A Christian Theology of the Environment.” Check out these offerings on our website, and join us for these classes in Bozeman if you have the chance.
Additionally, our 2nd Annual Klein Gilhousen Lecture and Reception this year is on Tuesday, July 17, at the Reynolds Recital Hall in the MSU Music Building. The lecture features Dr. W. Ross Hastings of Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Hastings holds Ph.D.’s in both science and theology, and we look forward to his presentation on the relationship between science and the Christian faith.
As I close this letter, let me encourage you to consider becoming a member of the Jim Bridger Society at YTI. Non-profit seminaries, divinity schools, and graduate schools rely upon regular donations from people who understand our vision and the need for theological education in today’s world. No donation is too small, and every bit helps us to keep tuition low for our students. Go online today to our giving page, or give us a call at (406) 404-1600 to set up your gift.
Have a beautiful and blessed summer!
Grace & Peace to You,
Dr. Jay Smith, President