By Keith Collier
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) –Andy Horner owes a great debt to his mother, Sarah. At the age of 47, the single mother of 13 took her four youngest children and left her homeland in Ireland to relocate to Canada, where she worked as a scrub-lady, cleaning hospitals and office buildings.
But her personal sacrifice was not what made the greatest impact on Andy. Her faith in Jesus Christ revealed the power in which she was able to live life.
“She’s always talking about Jesus. She’s always reading her Bible. She’s always praying. She’s always giving away everything we have,” recalls Horner. “I think of my mom and what she did for me. … She was a homemaker.”
It comes as no surprise that Horner wanted to honor his mother when he and his wife Joan donated the money to construct a building purposed for instruction in the homemaking concentration at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The building, named the Sarah Horner Homemaking House, will serve as an educational building but will look more like a house than a classroom, complete with kitchen and textile lab, as well as a large library, full of resources for classroom lectures. Upstairs, two rooms will house students in the homemaking concentration and another room will be available for guest housing.
Southwestern held a dedication ceremony for the house, April 8, in connection with its spring trustee meeting. The dedication recognized the Horners as well as others who donated their time, talents and money to the house.
“It’s been on my heart for a long time that some of our schools, somewhere, … would teach women who are married to pastors to have a home that would honor God,” said Joan Horner.
“We don’t want to have any honor or praise for the Horner family. This is all done for God’s glory.”
Seminary president Paige Patterson thanked the Horners, saying, “We want to make a pledge to you that we’re going to do everything within our power to turn out a generation of highly educated young women who have the home first place in their hearts.”
Terri Stovall, dean of women’s programs at Southwestern, explained the homemaking program and its roots in the history of Southwestern.
“From the 1909 academic catalogue, 100 years ago from this year, we find the first courses and programs of study listed that intentionally trained women heading for the mission field in the art and skill of homemaking,” said Stovall.
“Over these past 100 years, God has brought to Southwestern women who have taken up the mantle to continue that legacy of the primary place of the home in ministry.”
Responding to the question of what would take place in the house, Stovall referenced Titus 2 stating, “We will have older women who are of reverent behavior, who are not slanderous, who are not given to much wine, but are teachers of good things. And they will be teaching the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discrete, chaste homemakers, to be good, to be obedient to their own husbands. And why do we do that? So that the word of God will not be slandered.”
Making up only 23 hours of a 131-hour bachelor’s program, the homemaking concentration complements a well rounded and challenging educational program. In addition to homemaking skills, students study Greek or Latin as well as biblical and theological studies. The program also requires them to read many of the world’s greatest philosophers and primary classical sources.