Geneva Core Values: Engage Culture Faithfully - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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November 19, 2018

Geneva Core Values: Engage Culture Faithfully

by Dani (Fitzgerald ’16) Brown

He felt God’s call in the 1970s but tried to ignore it. Even after moving to Texas, Rev. Dr. Richard Wingfield heard it wherever he went.

Now, 36 years later, Rev.  Wingfield is senior pastor of Unity Baptist Church in Braddock, married with three children and three grandchildren, and still refers back to notes from his past ministry classes taught by Drs. Dean Smith and Byron Curtis.

“I started at Geneva in 1978 as a pre-med major,” Rev.  Wingfield recalls, “but I dropped out of school and moved to Texas.”

There, Rev.  Wingfield could not resist the call to ministry and became a licensed and ordained minister from Sunset Baptist Church. He first left Texas and a couple years later received a call to pastor a church in Western Pennsylvania. Rev.  Wingfield’s return to the area allowed him to begin studies at the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM), Geneva’s partner in engaging urban culture through education and credentialing of church ministers and lay leaders. With the credits he previously earned at Geneva, he became the first graduate of the CUBM program in 1995, and he also received a Bachelor of Science degree as a member of the first cohort in the Community Ministry major at Geneva.

Rev. Wingfield’s decision to finish his studies at Geneva had a two-fold purpose.

“First, to be equipped to do effective ministry in the 21st century,” he explains. “Second, was to be adequately credentialed to teach at a seminary that would allow me to use my gifts.”

He was heavily influenced by Geneva’s professors.

“First, was Mark Porter, who was the primary instructor for the program. His input was thought provoking,” he says. “Second, Dean Smith and Byron Curtis really stimulated my thinking in relation to community ministry. Third, one of the people that has really influenced my life over the years from when I first stepped foot on campus until this moment was Jack White.”

Rev.  Wingfield maintained friendships with his professors, each one bringing something unique to the table.

“Jack brought leadership to the CUBM program. His influence was tremendous for not just me but for Geneva and the CUBM program,”  he says. “I really like Dean’s perspective on New Testament church and evangelism. Those really struck a chord with me. And Byron and his historical perspective—it’s just tremendous.”

Rev. Wingfield went on to earn his Masters in Divinity and Doctorate in Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  He currently teaches part-time for CUBM and Geneva’s Adult Degree Program.

He feels the Lord has gifted him with unique experiences and opportunities to serve in our culture through teaching the scripture and in daily living.

He adds, “Preaching encompasses not just what the Bible says, but how you bring the Bible to bear on life experiences.”

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This post is part of a series highlighting Geneva College’s Core Values and the people in the Geneva community who bring them to life. It was originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of Geneva Magazine.