2014 Alumni and Friends Luncheon Report from Annual Meeting

GOLDEN GATE -- Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary honored Col. Frank Rice and Dr. Henry Webb with Distinguished Alumni Awards at the seminary's alumni and friends luncheon.

“When I think about these two men who are being honored tonight, the word that comes to my mind is ‘distinction.’ Both of these men have worked long and hard for the gospel and have done it with distinction,” said seminary president Dr. Jeff Iorg.

Col. Frank Rice is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and received both the bachelor of divinity and master of theology. Rice joined the Air Force after two years at Louisiana State University, serving with the WWII European occupation forces and during the Korean War. He graduated from Louisiana Baptist College in 1954 and moved west to attend Golden Gate.

Rice also served as a pastor in California and worked in rescue missions in San Francisco during his seminary years. He then reentered the Air Force as a chaplain where he took a number of stations across the United States as well as in Germany, Japan and Thailand. His last active duty assignment was as the Command Chaplain of the Air Force Communications Command, the responsibilities of which included providing for the spiritual welfare of over 55,000 men and women around the world. He retired in 1985 in the grade of Colonel. He and his wife Margarete live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dr. Henry Webb, who was born in Portland, Oregon, but grew up in Oklahoma, graduated from Golden Gate with a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry. After thanking his wife of over 50 years, Henry Webb described how he arrived at GGBTS, namely through a series of “delays and detours” that hindsight has revealed to be God’s precise orchestration. The first delay involved a transfer to from West Texas State to Oklahoma University, where he met his wife Patti and received his call to ministry. The second delay put seminary off for a year, which led to campus ministry at Colorado State University and then at the University of Hawaii.

After arriving in Hawaii, Henry transferred again, but this time to Golden Gate to complete his master of divinity. At GGBTS, Henry felt a shift in his calling from campus ministry to pastoral ministry and he began to pastor Kalihi Baptist in Honolulu, Hawaii. Throughout his time at Kalihi Baptist, Henry completed his doctor of ministry and helped found Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services as well.

From Hawaii, Henry went on to serve at LifeWay for over 28 years where he worked in a variety of roles, including Director of Pastoral Ministries from 2002-05. Webb also was on the team that developed the LifeWay Transitional Pastor Ministry and was a Transitional Pastor trainer for thirteen years. He and his wife attend The Glade Church where Webb teaches discipleship classes.

President Iorg also addressed the packed ballroom crowd with a report concerning the seminary’s sale and relocation. His address flowed from the questions that he has been asked most frequently. The first question that Iorg answered was, ‘Why did the seminary sell its land in Mill Valley, CA?’ “We have spent a considerable sum of money and time trying to develop our Mill Valley property. Despite these efforts, we have been stymied. Recently, we have come to the conclusion that these barriers were not obstacles to overcome, but rather as signposts telling us to move in a new direction,” stated Iorg.

The second question Iorg answered was, ‘What kind of campus will Golden Gate build?’ “We will build a seminary with a smaller footprint, focused on our core mission rather than a sprawling campus. We will design our campus with the needs of tomorrow’s students in mind. In short, our campus will reflect our mission,” said Iorg.

The third question the president addressed was, ‘Are you leaving the Bay Area without a Golden Gate presence?’ Iorg answered that the seminary is not leaving the Bay Area, but that Golden Gate is “reversing the roles of the California campuses.” The primary campus will be in Southern California, where population demographic projections indicate great growth over the next 40 years. The Northern California campus will become a commuter campus that will continue to serve the Bay Area in the same way as the other regional campuses of Golden Gate.

Iorg also addressed the seminary’s endowment. “After we purchase the main Southern California campus and the new Bay Area campus, we will still have a considerable amount of resources to place into our seminary endowment,” stated Iorg.

Iorg concluded the afternoon with confidence, stating, “Golden Gate’s future is bright. We are strategically, geographically, and financially ready to impact the United States and world like never before.”