Instead of bass shaking the room for chapel, Burgess Auditorium stood still as President Terry Kimbrow and Donny Parrish, spiritual life coordinator, talked from the stage on live remote March 18 about recent decisions to close the college due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Surreal is the only way I know how to explain it,” said President Kimbrow.
He said the closest historical comparison were the events of 9/11.
The college’s administration spent hours talking and debating what decision was best for not only the school, but its students, said Kimbrow. Never was the first concern for anyone but the education and safety of those enrolled in the college.
Initially, Kimbrow said the plan was to move classes online for two weeks and transition to traditional learning, but it would have been difficult for students to transition back.
“It was a gut-wrenching decision, I don’t know how else to say it,” said Kimbrow. “There was a lot of prayer and some disagreement, but when we left the board room we were ready to speak with one voice.”
With many difficult decisions made, Kimbrow said there was an unusual sense of peace.
“I’m not scared. We’ve quoted a lot of the scriptures we all know but we forget. [God’s] not the source of any confusion,” said Kimbrow. “He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but a power of love and of sound mind, and it’s that sound mind, I think, that people are forgetting.”
Although the COVID-19 virus is separating people, Kimbrow said that it was a tool for connection as everyone is helping each other.
“I think it’s kind of paradoxical that we’re talking about social distancing, but on our campus, this is bringing us together,” said Kimbrow.
President Trump has mentioned the impact that college students and young people will have in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Parrish said. He asked Kimbrow about the part students will play in containing the outbreak.
“Stay at home,” said Kimbrow, pointing out the importance of not being around others to possibly pass around the coronavirus.
Parrish and Kimbrow both encouraged students and faculty not to panic, but to make certain of their relationship with Christ and to trust in God above all else.
“Our number one concern is where is your relationship with Jesus Christ… there’s not a better time to take stock of that than right now,” said Parrish.
Kimbrow also addressed the disappointment of students in the cancellation of taking part in the men’s basketball national championship, as well as the softball and baseball teams ending their best seasons on record by recognizing the greater purpose of God’s plan and timing.
“You’re going to look back on this and think had this not happened, ‘I would not have learned some things,’ ” said Kimbrow.
To graduating seniors, he again spoke of the power of God’s plan and the value that the lessons learned now would have in their future.
“The hardest thing for us to do is to wait on God, but the scripture is full of instructions on waiting on him and trusting in him,” said Kimbrow.
Students will receive updated information from the college in email and on the Central Baptist College Facebook page, Parrish said. He encouraged students who needed help to contact the college.
The live remote is available to watch on the Central Baptist College Facebook page.