In 2007, the Board of Directors of Stark College & Seminary envisioned a way to express Missions through Education beyond a handy slogan. They desired to create a time and place where creative teaching and thinking could address different Christian concerns affecting our communities and churches. The idea came to host an annual event to do just that. The Self Symposium was started to foster conversations among pastors, students, and laity regarding issues they face as leaders in the church. The college invited innovative scholars and practitioners to share what they believed are best practices in ministry. 

The namesake for this event is Rev. Linn and Betty Self. Rev. Linn Self served as Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church (now Brighton Village Baptist Church) for 10 years from 1970 until 1980.  In 1980 Linn became a church planter when he started a mission church for First Baptist Church, Portland that became known as Oak Ridge Baptist Church. Linn later joined Betty at SCS when he was appointed as President, and they co-labored in our community until their retirement in 2005. 

During those years, Linn and Betty together mentored, counseled, and encouraged students, pastors, lay leaders, and members of our churches. We are excited to continue in their footsteps and host the 13th Self Symposium on February 6, 2020. This year we are honored to have Ella Wall Prichard, author of Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows, and Dr. Ellis Orozco, senior pastor of First Baptist Church – Richardson, leading the discussion on “Spiritual Care for the Bereaved.”

Churches have a unique opportunity to mourn with those who are hurting, and this topic will help give community members the resources and knowledge to better care for those suffering a loss. In addition to Ella Wall Prichard and Dr. Ellis Orozco, we will be joined by Abel & Melinda Almendarez, a hospice chaplain and nurse, Eric Tarver, a pastor and former funeral home director, and Erika Perez, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Professor of Counseling at UTRGV. 

The event will take place at both our Corpus Christi and McAllen campuses. Thanks to streaming technologies, attendees at both campuses will be able to interact and participate in all sessions. Tickets are available for purchase at