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Joe and Helen Martin's Fond Farewell

They have a great passion for their teaching, a deep love for their students, a vision for the world and a heart for the Gospel.

With a combined six decades of service at Belhaven University, Dr. Joe and Helen Martin are transitioning into retirement with a long legacy of faithful teaching and heartfelt ministry to students, friends and alumni.

“Joe and Helen are the ideal of what faculty members should be,” said President Dr. Roger Parrott. “They have a great passion for their teaching, a deep love for their students, a vision for the world and a heart for the Gospel. They have set the pattern for how to invest in the lives of students and have served as a mentor to scores of faculty who have come to Belhaven over the years. Only in heaven will they see the reach of their influence in the lives of students, and I know it will be enormous.”

Scott Castleman ’98, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs, Miss., realized the lasting influence Joe had on more than just his studies. “In the classroom, Dr. Martin taught me how to study the scriptures. In his office, he taught me how to pray. In his life, he showed me how to follow Christ. I am forever marked by his faithful ministry.”

The Martins were honored during the University’s annual Christmas party on December 1, 2017, where time was spent reflecting on their many years of service. Their daughter, spoke about her parents love and appreciation for the University and donated a student’s painting of Joe to the University. Joe and Helen shared their love and appreciation for the many people and students who are forever etched into their memories. At the end of the ceremony, Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott gifted the couple two hand-crafted chairs.

As I travel the state meeting with church leaders and alumni, no other names are received with such love and respect as Joe and Helen Martin.

Joe began working at Belhaven in 1989 as a professor of Christian ministries and eventually was promoted to chair of Belhaven’s Biblical Studies Department. He earned his B.A. at Duke University, and B.D. and Th.M. at Colombia Theological Seminary. He later attended Georgia State University to acquire his Ph.D. He is the 45th faculty member to enter Belhaven’s Legacy of Learning, a prestigious group is comprised of dedicated individuals who have given twenty years or more of teaching service to Belhaven.

Helen earned her B.A. from Belhaven University in 1961 and a M.B.E. from Columbia Theological Seminary. Belhaven hired her as a campus counselor, and she continued teaching New Testament as an adjunct instructor.

The Martins are grateful to God for the way He has blessed their lives through the three children, five grandchildren, students they have taught, and colleagues they have served with, during their 56 years of teamwork. They are also grateful for all the ways Belhaven has blessed their family. Helen and her three brothers all graduated from Belhaven, as did their daughters. Added to their joint service of each teaching 28 years at the University, that gives a total of 77 years in which the Martins have been a part of the Belhaven family.

The wide-reaching impact of both Joe and Helen is obvious. Director of University Advancement Jim Goode elaborates, “As I travel the state meeting with church leaders and alumni, no other names are received with such love and respect as Joe and Helen Martin.”

Added to their joint service of each teaching 28 years at the University, that gives a total of 77 years in which the Martins have been a part of the Belhaven family.

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