Ensuring the Church's Vitality for Future Generations
An interview with The Rev. Don and Alice Jane Lanier
As a minister and an active layperson, my wife and I have devoted the majority of our lives to the church. We have seen firsthand how crucial local congregations are to the life of the church universal.
We have also realized congregations depend on the work of seminaries more than they probably realize. Year-in and year-out, seminaries send out the ministers who are the lifeblood of those churches. By being so closely associated with Phillips, its faculty and staff, we have become aware of how crucial such academies are.
We want our devotion to the church to continue long after we are gone. We want to assure (even in just a small way) that this vital ministry to the churches will continue. Children yet unborn deserve such a heritage.
What inspired you to become a donor to Phillips Seminary?
During my years as senior minister of Harvard Avenue Christian Church in Tulsa, I had many opportunities to work with and personally know various members of the faculty and staff of Phillips. I grew to respect and value these learned folk. I realized it was a huge asset to the churches of Tulsa to have this community of scholars and its library “next door.” After I retired from active ministry, I became part of that community as Director of Public Relations. My appreciation of the people and the institution itself grew even more. It is only natural, then, for my wife and me to want to help insure its financial future.
When you think of Phillips Seminary, what key words or phrases come to your mind?
1) Pursuit of theological excellence.
2) Caring community
3) Nurturing ministry
What aspect of Phillips Seminary’s work give you the most satisfaction?
Actually, there are two aspects: one is its focus on ministry in the local church; the other is its ability to enhance the devotion and skills for men and women drawn to ministry.
The first is important because of the complicated demands of contemporary ministry in congregations. Healthy, engaging congregations are essential for the future of the church universal. Yet, far too many are in a state of decay. They need skillful leaders who are well prepared to bring vitality and theological insight.
The second is important because students often arrive at seminary with great willingness, but also with undeveloped skills for effective ministry. The personal attention Phillips gives to each student helps to “tailor make” the preparation each needs.
What was the single most important consideration in your decision to make a planned gift to Phillips Seminary, and what prompted you to make your gift?
We want to expand and perpetuate the mission of Phillips. We are also aware that we are reaching a stage in life where we believe it is prudent to “put our affairs in order.” In doing so, we set up a Trust Fund, which not only details the inheritance our children will receive, but also itemizes a number of important ministries we want to continue to support, such as Phillips.
What impact do you hope your gift will achieve for Phillips Seminary?
Our gifts to Phillips will continue as long as we are able, and are included in our Trust Fund/Will. While these may be modest gifts compared to some, they allow us to do more than just speak highly of Phillips. They let us “put our money where our mouth is.” In this way, we hope to encourage not only those in the seminary community, but also others who want to value the work of Phillips.