By now, most of you know that Paige Patterson wants to construct a 3500 seat chapel to house his dwindling 2700 students, nearly 1000 of which are not considered full-time for funding purposes. In his description of the chapel’s construction, Patterson mentions a baptistry to teach students the “right way” to baptize, the pew arrangement to teach students the “right way” to install church seating, and a few rooms tucked here and there for various “teaching” purposes. And now, Baptist Blogger has uncovered how Paige Patterson intends to model for his students the “right way” to raise money for such a building project.
Allow us to elaborate.
You’ve probably learned that Patterson wants to sell the chapel seats at $2400 a piece for the floor and $1200 a piece for the balcony. If you’re a Southwestern alumnus, you’ve probably received a request for donations.
What you might not know is that the chapel has already been forced into structural revisions, downsizing the number of seats by approximately 700 seats to accomodate the enormous organ that Patterson wants.
Several weeks ago, Paige and Dorothy Patterson discovered that their chapel renditions lacked the space to install an organ, which of course we all know is necessary to do church “the right way.” So the president and first lady sent the plans back to the architect with instructions to make room for the organ.
First, you should know that the number of students majoring in organ has decreased dramatically in recent years, a fact easily verified by a simple call to the School of Church Music administrative offices. What organ students we have are granted the privilege of practicing and playing recitals on the behemoth Van Cliburn organ at neighboring Broadway Baptist Church. The Van Cliburn organ, incidentally, is the largest French-style organ of its kind in the United States. Broadway Baptist Church, on the other hand, is a partnering church in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which surely miffs the seminary president to no end.
So he wants to build his own organ, but the ceilings in Patterson’s original chapel plan were too low and the choral risers too high to house the pipes that grace such an exquisite musical instrument. So they’ve got to cut back on the stage. Organs also require chambers, rooms to house the ranks of pipes that are unseen but which produce most of the instrument’s sound. So the architects are having to revise the floorplan by reducing the number of seats and cutting into existing areas to make room for the organ chambers.
Of course, Patterson is still raising money for 3500 seats, and the seminary fundraising literature continues to use the number 3500 even though only 2700 seats will be incorporated into the revised plan. The cost for this organ must be added to the total pricetag for the chapel, which could run upwards of a million dollars if the seminary expects to rival the Van Cliburn.
Somewhere, somehow Paige Patterson will need to raise a significantly larger sum of money than originally itemized in his request of the Executive Committee. (For those that don’t know it, every SBC institution must get Executive Committee authorization for any fundraising effort.)
If he can’t sell more seats, Patterson’s going to have to make direct appeals to wealthy donors for large gifts of real or personal property; and if I was a wealthy layman on my hospital deathbed, I think I’d be very suspicious if I saw Paige and Dorothy Patterson coming down the hall for a pastoral visit. I’d be twice as scared if the First Lady was carrying a typewriter.
Wonder what I’m talking about?
Read this 1982 lawsuit from Dallas County:
Farry v. Paige and Dorothy Patterson, 1
Farry v. Paige and Dorothy Patterson, 2
Farry v. Paige and Dorothy Patterson, 3
Farry v. Paige and Dorothy Patterson, 4
Farry v. Paige and Dorothy Patterson, 5
And now for the money quote:
Paige Patterson is the president, and Dorothy Patterson is the secretary of the Criswell Center. Beginning approximately three (3) weeks prior to [Nelson] Farry’s death, Paige Patterson and Dorothy Patterson began a series of visits to Mr. Farry and Velma Farry, who was attending him in the hospital. During these visits the Pattersons made strenuous efforts to persuade the Farrys to convey all their belongings immediately to the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, on several occasions even bringing a typewriter and deed forms to the hospital for this purpose. Finally, by the use of threats, intimidation, and misrepresentations, the Pattersons induced Mr. Farry and Velma Farry to sign the deeds, copies of which are attached hereto . . . conveying to the Criswell Center all of the real property owned by the Farrys. They also induced Mr. Farry and Velma Farry to execute the document attached hereto . . . conveying to the Criswell Center all of the personal property owned by the Farrys.