It took more than two and a half years for 15 San Quentin Prison men in blue to finish a religiously based college course that they say not only changed their lives, but also changed how their families see them.
“It’s a blessing to know that I’m no longer considered as the black sheep of my family but as the person who has been transformed into a mighty man of God heralding the Gospel of Jesus Christ through my actions,” said graduate Kevin Carr Sr.
The Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary curriculum emphasizes spiritual growth. Its lessons use biblically based scholarship to help students develop ministry skills in a multicultural setting.
“I am very humbled and grateful to have gotten the opportunity partaking in the seminary,” said Dirk Fauria. “I’m reminded that just as throughout Biblical history, it was men and women of God who were obedient to the call of God on their lives and to faithfully and fearlessly pass on the great news of God’s redemptive plan of salvation.”
Billy Dooley added, “I found myself lost and in trouble but never knew that God was guiding me to gain knowledge in Golden Gate.”
“What a wonderful day this is for the graduating students,” Chaplain Mardi Jackson said in the opening ceremonies on June 19.
Amazing Grace was sung by Darryl Hill Sr.
“These graduates will be going out and will bring spiritual words to the neighborhood,” said Community Partnership Manager Steve Emrick.
“God’s hand is on San Quentin with all these opportunities,” said Juan Arballo. “I’ve been able to sit under very challenging teachers that have helped me guide my life to better develop the calling has for my life.”
“I never thought my life would be changed in a way that really matters,” said Timothy Young. “Always remember, we are never alone in our life’s journey. God is with us. God Bless.”
“This journey has been one filled with joy and spiritual insight. Praise the Lord,” said Frank Taylor.
“Almost anyone can start good, but you must have longevity to continue. Accept the vulnerability you may have to endure,” said Dr. Rick Durst, professor of Historical Theology.
|“This journey has been one filled with joy and spiritual insight. Praise the Lord”|
In attendance was seminary President Dr. Jeff Iorg.
“God has given me a passion for getting the Gospel to every person,” Iorg’s statement in the seminary’s student catalog reads. “As a pastor, church planter, and denominational leader in a mission setting, I have committed my life to making the Gospel available to every person in every place.”
Christian Ministries diplomas were awarded to Arballo, Young, Carr, Dooley, Fauria, Hill, Pedro Cruz, Fanon Figgers, Frederick Gaines, Michael Hampton, Antoine Watie, Trenton Capbell, Harry Hemphill and James King.
Frank Taylor was awarded a Theology diploma.
“Today is a monumental moment not only for me but for my family,” Carr said. “The pivotal moment for me was to see my 85-year-old grandmother come through those chapel doors (in a wheelchair). To see her smiling along with my aunt and two cousins brought me so much joy, honor and gratitude. My goal is to continue in whatever capacity I’m needed while managing a Christian transitional home upon my release.”