Ribbon cutting ceremony officially opens Sesquicentennial Pavilion

Communications Staff — April 22, 2009

With a ribbon cutting ceremony April 21, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary officially opened its new Sesquicentennial Pavilion.

A marker of Southern’s 150th anniversary, the pavilion serves as a welcome center for the entire campus and houses the admissions and security offices. The new building took approximately eight months to complete.

“With this building we are making a statement that 150 years after Southern Seminary was established we have more to do, not less,” Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. “We have a greater challenge, not a lesser challenge. We have a glorious challenge and the Lord has given us more than we’ve ever dreamed.

“This is a statement about the seriousness with which Southern Seminary takes this task and about the permanence that we believe the Lord has invested in us—not in an institution, but in the unchanging, eternal truths upon which this institution is established.”

As part of the ceremony, Mohler placed a time capsule behind a stone encasement. The capsule is scheduled to be opened in 2059 on the seminary’s 200th birthday. Among the items in the capsule are seminary publications, a campus directory, an academic catalog and a letter from Mohler to the seminary president 50 years from now.

Finished product: the Sesquicentennial Pavilion was completed in eight months and opened Tuesday.

Mohler said his letter contains an admonition to keep the seminary faithfully in line with biblical truth.

“What I basically did was write in such a way that if this institution isn’t theologically where it needs to be whenever that thing is opened, they’re going to know it,” he said. “It’s going to be the most embarrassing letter ever read if indeed this institution is not preserved in that way. That is our prayer—that it will be.”

The new building is ultimately a reminder of God’s blessings on the seminary and His faithfulness to provide for the training of ministers, Mohler said.

“We are here today on a very happy day as a very happy institution to be a part of a very happy observance to see the Lord’s faithfulness manifested here,” he said.

“In a day in which many people say that an institution that stands for what this institution stands for would not survive, look how the Lord has blessed us beyond anything we could imagine.”

Following Mohler’s remarks Mark Dever, chairman of the seminary’s board of trustees and pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., led in a dedicatory prayer and Mohler cut a ribbon across the pavilion’s entrance. Students and faculty then enjoyed a 500-pound cake to celebrate the occasion.

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