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Seminary Friends Can Help Raise $30,000 for RPTS Biblical Counseling Institute by August 1 through Matching Gift Challenge
Please Note: As of June 8 this challenged was matched! Thank you to all who helped us raise a total of $30,000!
Pittsburgh - May 15, 2009 - A friend of RPTS in Pittsburgh has made a matching gift challenge to support start-up costs for the new Biblical Counseling Institute (BCI) which is already attracting national and international recruits and is scheduled to be up and running in the new building this Fall quarter.
The friend will match any first-time gift, a gift from someone who hasn’t given since 2007, or a special gift above and beyond an annual supporter’s regular giving to the RPTS Annual Fund between now and August 1, up to $15,000. The money raised will support transitional start up costs for staffing and program-related technology resources for BCI.
"This is an opportunity for you to double the impact of your special gift and help us raise a total of $30,000 over the next few months to start BCI out on strong footing by the end of the summer!" says RPTS President Jerry O'Neill.
Dr. George C. Scipione has joined RPTS to establish the Biblical Counseling Institute across from the Seminary’s main campus at 7401 Penn Avenue. Under Dr. Scipione’s oversight, students will learn more about counseling with a training component – they will need to observe or actually do counseling under his supervision. Local referring pastors also will be invited to sit in on sessions to learn and gain experience and provide accountability.
This matching gift challenge will support start-up needs for staffing and technical resources, such as video and computer technology to enable Dr. Scipione to provide supervised counseling and assistance for students and pastors with their counselees remotely from his office. For instance, students who are currently pastors and commute could counsel people in their church with Dr. Scipione observing from the BCI building through modern technology, rather than having the pastor come to BCI to do observed counseling for referrals with whom they do not have a relationship. RPTS can help them immediately serve their church. This technology also would allow for a broader range of potential BCI counselees that Dr. Scipione and students can help.
Dr. Scipione’s support staff will include a part-time administrative assistant and volunteers. The Seminary anticipates serving hundreds of people per year as BCI train students and help counselee referrals.
Already, BCI is attracting new students. Four new full-time students who plan to begin study at the Seminary this fall are expressly enrolling at RPTS because of the BCI program. They are coming from Southern California, Germany, and South Carolina. Twenty-five percent of part-time students in the Introduction to Biblical Counseling course taught this quarter are new or returning specifically because of the BCI program; all plan to take the new counseling courses BCI offers. Of these new students, one is currently counseling as a staff person at a local Presbyterian Church in America congregation.
The new building that will house BCI is in the midst of renovations with plans for Dr. Scipione and the new BCI program to be operating in it at the beginning of the fall quarter, 2009. Demolition with hundreds of hours of volunteer help from friends of RPTS is complete, which saved the Seminary thousands of dollars.
RPTS is drawing on its already strained annual operations budget for the support that is needed for BCI start-up costs and operations. "We are still in the middle of a transitional step of faith to make BCI happen with the unexpected downturn in the economy that has impacted our income and necessitated budget cuts," said O'Neill. "We continue to step out in faith with BCI developments toward starting up fully this Fall in the new building, and we are eagerly seeking funds from foundations, friends, and churches."
"We believe in this ministry!" BCI already is generating new income from new admissions recruits (mentioned above), and in a few years it should pay for itself. In the mean time, help from our friends with a special gift toward this matching challenge will be an enormous help."
Staff and technology start-up resources of the Biblical Counseling Institute in 2009 and early 2010 include the following: partial support toward annual salary and benefits of the Director and a part-time receptionist/office manager; desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and a copy machine; fiber optic high speed internet throughout the facility; two desktop computers and accessories; a classroom camera; a classroom television camera kit for videoconferencing; and an overhead projector and portable visual presenter laptop for mobile presentations at churches.
The lead giver will only match as much as the Seminary raises by August 1, up to $15,000.
"We hope to raise the entire amount to generate $30,000 toward the BCI start-up costs for a strong start this fall," says O'Neill. "Friends who help us match this challenge will equip Dr. Scipione and his staff and volunteers to minister and train broadly through observed counseling and role playing remotely from his office, and to make training presentations off site at churches. All toward building up the body of Christ."
To have your gift matched by this lead challenge, the Seminary needs to receive it by August 1. A note of “BCI Matching Gift Challenge” should be made in the memo line of the check. Or, donate through the online form, choosing "BCI Matching Gift Challenge through August 1" in the drop down menu here: http://www.rpts.edu/support/donate.php.
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