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Troy Baptist Campus Ministry celebrates 50 years

The Troy University Baptist Campus Ministry building on Collegedale Street was dedicated on Nov. 2, 1958. On Homecoming Day 2008, Nov. 8, the BCM will celebrate 50 years of ministering to the needs of the university students from that location.

The Alabama Baptist State Convention paid the initial $56,000 cost of the building, which would be a home away from home for many Troy University students.

Don Crapps was the (Baptist Student Union) director at the time and welcomed the new facility.

“Until that time, we had been meeting at the Normal Avenue Apartments,” Crapps said. “They were located on what is now University Avenue. The apartment where we met doubled as the Baptist center and my home. When Lyra and I married, we had absolutely no privacy because students were in and out of the apartment all day and night. So, I was proud to be involved in the planning of the new facility.”

Crapps will be one of the featured speakers at the 50th year celebration on Saturday. He will talk about the history of the Baptist Campus Ministry and the impact that it has had on the university campus.

The 50th anniversary celebration will begin at 11 a.m. with a fellowship meal and the celebration program will follow at noon. All alumni and students who are currently active in the Baptist Campus Ministry are invited to attend.

Brad Bensinger, BCM director, said the mission of the campus ministry is to disciple students in their faith in Christ and share His message on campus.

“The BCM exists to reach the unreached and the discipled, all to the glory of God,” and to remind and encourage ourselves,” he said.

The Baptist Campus Ministry building has been a refuge and a home away from home for university students for 10 decades. The importance of having a place of refuge drove the students “back home” recently when the BCM building was locked down for a week.

“For one week, we closed the BCM building and held all of our meetings and activities at other locations on campus,” Bensinger said. “The events were well attended but a couple of incidents made us aware of just how important it is for us to have a place of our own.”

Bensinger said a female student, who had been attacked, was taken to the BCM building to be comforted in a friendly, safe environment. Another student was hurt in a fall and was taken to the facility where her injury was treated.

“It’s important to have a place where students can go during times like that,” Bensinger said. “It’s always good to have a place of safe harbor.”

When Crapps was director of the Baptist Campus Ministry, a religious council was an important part of the program.

“ All denominations came together at one of the dorms and we also had weekly prayer meetings,” he said. “But I think it’s important to have a place where students can come together in faith.”

Bensinger said the students who are active in the Baptist Campus Ministry don’t hide inside the Baptist Campus Ministry facility.

“We are strengthened here and from here we go out and minister,” he said.

“That’s why the Baptist Campus Ministry is so important to all of us and has been for 50 years.”