Northern Seminary Names New President

January 29, 2016 – Lombard, Illinois – Northern Seminary’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. William D. Shiell as the eleventh president of Northern Seminary.

Board Chair James Stellwagen states,

“I am very excited to welcome Dr. Bill Shiell to the Northern community as president. He has impressed me with his integrity, his peaceful nature, and his enthusiasm for the seminary’s mission. Bill will be both a strong leader and great partner, and I am eager for everyone to meet him and to continue to forge new ways to do Christ’s work here at Northern.”

Dr. ShiellDr. Shiell holds a PhD in New Testament from Baylor University and has pastored for seventeen years. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Tallahassee, Florida. He shares of his appointment,

“I am honored and humbled to join the Northern Seminary community. Among the many things that draws me to Northern is its historic commitment to the full ordination of women and to the racial and ethnic diversity of the church. I am excited to join Northern as we discern God’s call to be the seminary for Christian leaders throughout metropolitan Chicago and the Midwest.”

Dr. Shiell obtained his Master of Divinity degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He completed his PhD in 2003 and has served as an adjunct professor at Carson-Newman College. The author of several books and numerous articles, he is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament Dr. Scot McKnight attested to Dr. Shiell’s fit for Northern’s needs:

“William Shiell is equipped with a splendid variety of gifts, each of which is needed for Northern: a PhD in biblical studies, a decade of successful ministry in Baptist churches, a wealth of contacts across the nation but especially among Baptist leaders, a history of successful fund raising in churches, the conviction that theology and teaching and our faculty are central to the task, a desire to be a preacher and a teacher, and the social and personal skills that emerge from a character formed by Christ through the Spirit.”

Interim President Karen Walker Freeburg speaks of Northern’s vision:

“Northern has become a leading innovator in making seminary study accessible, affordable, and relevant within an ever-changing culture. Change in higher education in the next decade will continue to be substantive and normative. Dr. Bill Shiell is a strategic thinker and scholar. He will provide competent and passionate leadership during a season of uninterrupted change as we work to develop sustainable models to fulfill the mission of equipping the church to change the world.”

Dr. Shiell believes passionately in both the call of the local church and the value of theological education in meeting that call:

“Northern Seminary is positioned to equip the church in a personal, biblical, and missional way that transforms lives, reconciles people, and trains women and men to fulfill God’s call. From Lawndale to South Korea and thousands of cities throughout the nation and the world, Northern’s impact has been felt for over a century. Our past has paved the way for a bright future. Through innovative new technology and accessible new degree programs, Northern is ready to prepare the next generation of leaders within ministry contexts both in metro-Chicago and around the world.

I am so grateful to Alistair Brown and Karen Walker-Freeburg for their leadership. They have set the pace for exciting days that are ahead. I could never fill their shoes, but I hope to follow their examples of Christ-like leadership. My wife Kelly and sons Parker and Drake are eager to move to the area and become a part of all that God is doing

In the next month, Dr. Shiell will be concluding his service at First Baptist Church of Tallahassee and will begin work at Northern on March 1st.

Please join us in praying for Dr. Shiell, his family, his congregation, and Northern Seminary as we all step into a new season of advancing God’s Kingdom.

Northern Seminary was founded by Chicago Baptists in 1913 to train women and men for effective leadership in the church. Now located in Lombard, Illinois, 14 miles west of Chicago, Northern offers an educational context that is international, interracial, and intercultural for the preparation of men and women who are called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit for the mission of Christ in the world. In cooperation with American Baptist Churches, USA; The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.; and the wider church, the Seminary seeks to educate leaders who will equip the church to change the world.

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