Where have they gone & where are they now? 

This month I continue with blog posts seeking to update you on some graduates of Biblical Seminary.  This month we visit with Ed Welch, a 1978 MDiv graduate. 

A chance to reflect on my time at Biblical. What fun! Thank you, faculty, for the opportunity.

I attended Biblical from 1975-1978. Dave Dunbar graduated the year before I came and he was always being cited as one of my illustrious predecessors - I always hoped there would be a little residual glory from his student days that would shine on me (one could always hope). I went through the M.Div. program, which was only program.

Dr. MacRae was President and all the original faculty were teaching in those days. Most people grow, in part, through amassing good biblical understanding and through observing the lives of those teaching it. What I remember from Biblical certainly includes lots of solid biblical material, but what really sticks is the influence of a faculty that showed grace to each other, grace to those who disagreed with them, and grace to students. Humility could sum it up. That day-in-and-day out humility – in class, in chapel, in the way they answered student questions – has left its mark on me.

I have lots of specific memories.

  • Tom Taylor starting a chapel with, “Ah yes, my devotional soul is stirred up this morning.” At that moment I hoped that I would be able to start every sermon I would ever give with the same sentiment.
  • Bob Vannoy and his careful scholarship
  • Bill Harding and our recitations of the Hebrew alphabet, in which we all tried to replicate his basso profundo, sometimes with a few chuckles.
  • Having my friend Mark Schmitz comment after my senior sermon, “Welch, you are the only person I know who, when he gets dressed up, still doesn’t look dressed up.” It is an observation that has stood the test of time.
  • Bob Dunzweiler starting a chapel with, “When I preach, I envision my arms going around everyone present.” I have tried to conceive of myself as rubber man with those stretchy arms ever since.
  • John Grauley, whose counseling class was the primary motivator behind what I am doing today.
  • Living my first semester in what is now part of the seminary library. It was  a small classroom with six other people, one who slept about three feet away. The good news was that I could wake up one minute before class and still be on time. The bad news was that I looked a bit rumpled, though only once did I wear a pajama top to class, and I probably didn’t smell too good.
  • Fellow students who were very patient with me. At the time I didn’t fit the profile for a seminary student in all kinds of ways, and everyone was gracious as they secretly hoped that I would one day grow up.

Since Biblical, I went off to graduate school, married Sheri, had two fine daughters who gave me two fine sons-in-law and four grandchildren that should expand to seven by the end of May 2013, started working at CCEF in 1981 and have been a stick in the mud (a pig in mud?) ever since. I am still at CCEF in PA where I teach, write and do biblical counseling, and I will probably stay there as long as they will have me. I am also an elder at Bridge Community Church, which has taken me to Swaziland a number of times.

I am in the dark ages with social media. My contact information at CCEF is though a secretary (Amy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), but I am, finally, considering going on Facebook (while Facebook people head off to Twitter and beyond). It is the only way I can get updated photos of my grandkids.

Charles Zimmerman is the Thomas V. Taylor Professor of Practical Theology.  He also serves as Teaching Pastor at Calvary Church in Souderton.  He is married to Kim and they have two daughters, Ashley and Megan.


0 # Philip Monroe 2013-03-19 15:26
Tom Taylor tells that the faculty had a discussiona about students wearing PJs to class. Maybe Ed was the person they were talking about? As Tom tells it, someone wanted to ban PJs in class. He (helpfully) suggested banning nudity in class.
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