Southern Baptists to Open College in Vermont, The Most Secular State
By Ruth Miyake - Crossmap On June 17, 2012
Southern Baptists will open a college in New England, one of the most secular regions in the U.S.
Northeastern Baptist College, which is located in a former Ramada Inn hotel building in Bennington, Vt., is set to start training church planters in August 2013, reports The Christian Post.
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"United States is an increasingly secular society, and this is certainly true of the Northeast. As a part of the New England community our concern is for individual people," Mark Ballard, president of NEBC, told CP.
Ballard said he had been looking for an opportunity to establish a Christian college in the American Northeast for the sake of training evangelists.
"Jesus is our example. While He lived on earth, He not only associated with the religious crowd, but was a friend of all people. He never compromised His beliefs personally nor His teaching, yet He was loving and kind even to those who opposed Him."
The college will be a Baptist college that has a business relationship with the SBC, instead of functioning as a Southern Baptist college, according to Ballard.
"Though we at NEBC view ourselves as a partner of the Green Mountain Baptist Association, the Baptist Convention of New England and the Southern Baptist Convention, we will not technically be a Southern Baptist College," he said.
"Some Baptist Colleges are independent institutions, but work to partner with the local associations, state/regional conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. This best describes our current relationships."
According to a Gallup research in 2009, Five of the top ten least religious states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) are located in the Northeast. Vermont came out as the most secular state in the U.S., according to data released by Gallup in 2012. In it, 58 per cent of participants identified themselves as "nonreligious."
Northeastern Baptist College is expecting to enroll around 100 students for its first semester next year, Ballard told CP.