New students embark on BCF journey

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GRACEVILLE– Striving to make new students feel welcome and at home as they embark on a new journey is always a priority at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville.

From the very beginning, as students are unloading cars with dorm essentials, the campus is invigorated by the lively atmosphere each student brings. The two-day new student orientation, Aug. 12-13, is an exciting time of preparing students for the adventures that await them on their first official day of class.

BCF faculty, staff and resident assistants all try to make the first days when new students are on campus, away from home, as reassuring and informational as possible, even during when a storm like Tropical Storm Fred is bearing down on the region.

The day began with registration and breakfast in the college dining facility, the Deese Center. Afterwards, students made their way to the R.G. Lee Chapel where they enjoyed a time of student-led praise and worship followed by a welcome message from BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen.

Baptist College of Florida, Tom KinchenReferencing the Apostle Paul, Kinchen challenged students, “God knows where you are just like he knew where Paul was. You may be wondering why am I here, where am I going, and what is it going to look like when I get there? Let me tell you… you can answer each one of those statements with ‘I don’t know’ but there is someone who does know,” he said.

“God has a plan for you, and he is personally attending to that plan that he’s personally making for you.”

After an inspirational chapel service, students gathered in the Mills Center to watch videos of the campus and introductions of the staff.

Calvin Booth, assistant registrar and athletic director, introduced several faculty and staff members by giving their title, a small description, and asking questions to lighten the mood. New students were given essential information about the exams, financial aid, academic requirements, and a brief introduction to the campus counselor. Campus policies and procedures found within the Student Handbook were outlined and ministry and employment opportunities discussed.

New students met with their academic advisors over lunch and enjoyed a time of fellowship with returning students pursuing the same degree. After lunch, students traveled on a bus tour with BCF Theology Division Chair Rich Elligson that provided a point of reference in the town that is now their new home. The first day of orientation ended with a fun scavenger hunt led by resident assistants, dinner in the Deese Center, and a time with local pastors and staff who provided information to new students on churches and ministry opportunities in the area.

Day two began with “Coffee Hour” in the Kinchen Center led by BCM Campus Minister Lance Beauchamp. BCF has an active Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) that never misses an opportunity for serving others and expanding spiritually. The evening brought new and returning students to the Wellness Center for a fun time of games and then an amazing “Night of Worship” on Saturday evening with the Praise Team from First Baptist Church in Chipley.

The beginning of the semester is always an exciting time for new students as they embark on their journey of “Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®.”

 For more information on The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800-328-2660 or visit the new website at

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