ALPHARETTA, Ga. – North American Mission Board (NAMB) president Kevin Ezell today (Sept. 21) congratulated Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Scholarships for GCU Students – a supporting organization for the Grand Canyon University (GCU) Scholarship Foundation – which will receive Hobby Lobby’s gift of a 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass.
NAMB and Scholarships for GCU Students were the final two entities under consideration for the property, a private school campus built by evangelist D.L. Moody in 1879. After evaluating the campus’ potential uses, logistics and operating expenses, NAMB leaders requested that it be removed from consideration.
“We are very happy for Scholarships for GCU Students today and excited about the opportunities this property will open up for them,” Ezell said. “I also want to convey my deep gratitude to Hobby Lobby for considering NAMB. Their generosity and desire to see this property continue to be used for furthering the gospel is something I will always appreciate and admire.”
Purchased in 2009 by the David Green family – founders of Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts retail giant – the property has since received more than $5 million in renovations. The Greens stipulated they wanted the property to be used by a ministry dedicated to furthering the gospel in North America.
“As a supporter of Christian higher education across the U.S., we hope this campus will provide a home for students to find their purpose in Christ and realize their full potential in life” said Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby. “We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historic campus and for this community.”
Established by Moody as an educational institution for the underprivileged, the school was divided into the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Northfield, Mass., and the Mount Hermon School for Boys in Mount Hermon, Mass.
The institution dropped compulsory theological education in the early 1900s. The Northfield and Mount Hermon campuses consolidated in 2004 on the site of the Mount Hermon property six miles away in Gill, Mass., leaving the Northfield campus vacant and unused.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university in Phoenix, Ariz. Based in Alpharetta, Ga., the North American Mission Board exists to work with Southern Baptist Convention churches, associations and state conventions to impact North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.