By Jessica Parrow
Six students graduated in the commencement ceremony of the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary May 25. Dallas Bivins, director of the Arizona Campus, presided and Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway, delivered the commencement address at the formal ceremony held at CalvaryPHX in Phoenix.
Iorg spoke about the graduates being called to people who are physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually hurting. Iorg read from Mark 1:40-45 and shared the story of the leper as an illustration of Jesus’ ministry to hurting people. Jesus had compassion on the leper, which Iorg defined as, “a deep inner stirring that motivated him to action.”
The degrees and their recipients were:
–Doctor of Ministry: Scott Gourley, whose project was “Reducing Spiritual Restlessness through a Systems Theory Approach to Spiritual Formation at The Way Fellowship Church”
–Master of Theological Studies: David Barber, Nicholas Ford, Kelcey Fry, Jessica Parrow and Justin Rieker
–Bible Teaching Certificate: Bill Burrows, Stephen Fung, Charlie Lopez and Saundra Lopez.
Nicholas Ford was recognized with the Gateway Award in Preaching, which is given to a graduate who has engaged and excelled in preaching with emphases in fostering healthy family environments within congregations.
Ford and his family moved to Arizona in 2002, and he currently serves as the lead pastor of Northern Hills Community Church, Phoenix. He is a skilled preacher, but he also loves and shepherds his flock well, always seeking to point them back to Jesus and His abundant grace.
David Barber received the Dan & Harriet Stringer Award, which recognizes a graduate who has persevered through significant personal hardship to pursue his or her seminary education.
Barber has been the bivocational pastor of Rim View Community Church, formerly known as Star Valley Baptist Church, Payson, for the past four and a half years. God has grown this church from a small remnant to having two services to make room for everyone who attends.
Barber has led the church to focus on reaching out to their community. He has exemplified excellence and grace in ministry while also staying on top of his real estate business and caring for his wife, Dee, who at times can be down for days because of multiple sclerosis.
Scott Gourley received the Ronald Hornecker Award, which is given to the candidate whose personal growth during the program most exemplifies the purpose of the doctor of ministry degree at Gateway Seminary: that the person become more informed, intentional and integrated in ministry and in life. Bivins said it was a joy watching Gourley during his program and seeing him grow and flourish significantly during this stint in his educational journey.