Mission: Texas Bible Chair Foundation is a continuing education ministry for clergy and laymen in Austin. They create programs and support churches and educational groups offering Bible study and leadership training.
Description: The Texas Bible Chair was established in 1905 through the efforts of Mrs. M. M. Banks and the Christian Women's Board of Missions, a predecessor organization of the Division of Homeland and Overseas Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Dr. Frank Jewett was called to be the first Director. For 81 years, from 1905 to 1986, the Texas Bible Chair offered courses in Bible study to students of the University of Texas and the laity of the Christian churches of Austin. When the Bible Chair began, these were noncredit classes; but within only a few years, arrangements were made to have them offered as credit courses through the University of Texas. The offering of credit courses continued uninterrupted until the Texas Attorney General ruled in 1985 that this was not proper separation of church and state. At the time of the ruling, there were seven denominational Bible chairs to teach credit courses through the University. Following this ruling, the University Board of Regents voted that the University would no longer allow the Bible chairs to teach credit courses through the University. The Texas Bible Chair's Director and Board of Trustees sought ways to continue this historic ministry through 1987 into 1988, but finally exhausted all feasible means of continuing to offer courses for credit. The Board of Trustees was unwilling to allow this historic ministry to die, even after its primary funding was discontinued and the director had gone. A part-time director was hired to experiment with various kinds of programs to discover what kind of ministry the Texas Bible Chair could provide in and for the church it had served faithfully for over 80 years. On May 5, 1990, the Board of Trustees voted that the Texas Bible Chair would become a "center for continuing education" within the Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
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The Bridge 1120