LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABP) — The Wayne E. Oates Institute has announced a $40,000 challenge gift from anonymous donors to honor leadership of Vicki Hollon, the group's executive director since 1996 who steps down at the end of November.
Hollon currently serves in an interim staff position at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Her husband, Leslie Hollon, became the church's senior pastor in 2009, moving from St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
Vicki Hollon informed the institute's board of directors in September that she was resigning and recommended her replacement be an executive director able to live in Louisville and serve on location with other staff.
On Nov. 16 the board named Mera Corlett, a member of the board and retired director of pastoral care at Central State Hospital in Louisville, as interim director.
Despite her resignation, Hollon said she plans to stay involved as seminar facilitator and advocate for the organization. Founded in 1993, it was named to honor the legacy of Wayne Oates, a longtime professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who pioneered a pastoral model of caring for people's body, mind and spirit.
"The Oates Institute is meeting a need not being filled by any other organization or program as we provide a wide selection of dynamic continuing education courses designed to enhance the quality of care given by chaplains, clergy, therapists, congregational leaders, health ministers, nurses and other caregivers," Hollon said.
The institute offers from 40 to 50 online seminars a year and an annual forum in Louisville. Other resources include an Oates Journal published six times a year.
Jan Shockley, chairwoman of the Oates Institute board, said the organization's leaders would miss working with Hollon as executive director but looked forward to continuing to expand on the work she began.
Hollon said the couple making the initial seed gift in her honor asked not to be identified publicly and that a matching gift of $10,000 has already been made.
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.