News Release: Religion and Ethics

Oct. 7,  2011

United Methodist Alumni Honored by Emory's Candler School of Theology

Emory University’s Candler School of Theology is honoring three Distinguished Alumni Award recipients for 2011, including a pastor who has bettered the lives and homes of needy families for more than 30 years, a Candler icon who remains a school leader six decades after he graduated, and a clergyman who is guiding the work of more than 60 United Methodist Churches in the Southeast.

Earning Candler’s highest alumni award are the Rev. John Culp, Candler class of 1971, for service to community, Bishop L. Bevel Jones III (who holds undergraduate, theology and honorary degrees from Candler and Emory) for service to Candler, and the Rev. Dr. Tim McClendon, Candler class of 1996, for service to the church.

The trio will receive their honors at Candler’s Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at noon in room 102 of the Candler School of Theology Building. Register here.

“Candler has almost 7,500 living alumni, many of whom are noteworthy elected church officials,” says Jan Love, dean of Candler. “Others create, tend and sustain vibrant church ministries, often with little recognition, and some establish or serve in distinguished ministries that transform people’s lives in chaplaincies or social service settings. In this context, being a recipient of Candler’s Distinguished Alumni Award is indeed a very high honor.”

Culp has served as senior pastor of Virginia Wingard Memorial UMC in Columbia, S.C., since 2005. In the late 1970s, Culp founded the Salkehatchie Summer Service mission program, which introduces high school and college students to service. Working as volunteers, they upgrade the housing of needy families. The first camp in 1978 had 40 participants; in 2011, more than 3,500 students attended 51 Salkehatchie camps, including one in Brazil. In honor of his work, Culp received the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, in 2002.

Jones’ relationship with Candler dates back more than 60 years. To call him one of the most important and influential figures in the school’s history is not an overstatement. In 1996, following a distinguished career leading pastorates throughout the Southeast and serving as bishop of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, Jones was named Candler’s bishop in residence. His words and writings continue to serve as inspiration to generations of divinity students and church leaders alike. Earlier this year, Jones was named one of Emory’s 175 Historymakers and will be highlighted in the Fall 2011 issue of Emory Magazine.

McClendon has served the South Carolina Conference for more than 30 years and currently oversees more than 60 churches as district superintendent—a role he has held since 2006. McClendon has been elected to the General Conference five times (including this past summer) and has held a variety of other leadership roles in the UMC. A resident of Columbia, S.C., McClendon visits Candler frequently as an adjunct professor and has taught multiple classes at the school. A thoroughly modern church leader, McClendon also writes a blog about the church, ministry and another of his passions, pottery.

The luncheon is $20 per person. For more information, contact Megan Lineberry, Candler’s director of alumni relations, at or 404.727.6835.

Since 2007, Candler has given the Distinguished Alumni Award annually to three alumni who have displayed a devoted commitment as ambassadors and advocates for Candler, the church and the community as a whole. It was preceded by the Alumni Service Award.

Previous recipients of Distinguished Alumni Awards include: Dr. William S. Barnes, Rev. Susan T. Henry-Crowe, Ginger Rogers Kaney, Nelia T. Kimbrough, Bishop J. Lloyd Knox, Rev. Kenneth E. Marcus, Rev. Cecil McFarland, Bishop Robert C. Morgan, Rev. Carolyn Morris, Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel, Rev. Gilbert L. Schroerlucke, Rev. Dr. Herchel H. Sheets and Dr. Eugene M. Zimmerman.


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