Renowned preacher at Hood commencement

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Dr. William H. Willimon, Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, will be the commencement speaker at Hood Theological Seminary on Saturday, May 14, at 10:30 a.m.
“We are very fortunate to have Bishop Willimon as this year’s speaker.” said Dr. Albert Aymer, president of the seminary. “ He is a highly respected, well-published theologian and has been recognized as one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University. The entire Hood Theological Seminary community is greatly honored to have a religious leader of his stature with us on this most important day in the lives of our graduands.”
Willimon has been a Bishop of The United Methodist Church since 2004. He leads the 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors in North Alabama. For 20 years he was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University.
Willimon has served as pastor of churches in Georgia and South Carolina and served in various roles as Duke Divinity School, as both professor and presiding minister in the chapel.
He has been awarded honorary degrees from a dozen colleges and universities. In 1992, he was named as the first Distinguished Alumnus of Yale Divinity School. He also serves on the faculties of Birmingham-Southern College as Visiting Distinguished Professor and as Visiting Research Professor at Duke University Divinity School.
He is the author of 60 books. His “Worship as Pastoral Care” was selected as one of the 10 most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. Over a million copies of his books have been sold. In 1996, an international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world.
His articles have appeared in many publications and he is Editor-at-Large for “The Christian Century.” He has written curriculum materials and video for youth, young adults, and adults. His Pulpit Resource is used each week by more than 8,000 pastors in the USA, Canada, and Australia.
A 2005 study by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found that Bishop Willimon is the second most widely read author by mainline Protestant pastors.
Willimon has given lectures and taught courses at many pastors’ schools and at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. These include the Belden Lectures at Harvard. In 1998, he served on the theological faculty of the University of Bonn, Germany and in 1991, he was Distinguished Guest Professor at the University of Muenster, Germany. His books have been translated into eight languages.
He has served as vice chairman of the board of trustees, Wofford College; chairperson of the University Council Committee for the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale; and on the board of overseers for Memorial Church, Harvard University, and the boards of Emory, Birmingham-Southern, and Huntingdon Colleges. He serves on the editorial boards of “The Christian Century,” “The Christian Ministry,” “Preaching, The Wittenburg Door,” and “Leadership.”
Hood Theological Seminary, located at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive and sponsored by the AME Zion Church, is a graduate and professional school where intellectual discourse and ministerial preparation occur in tandem within the framework of a community of faith. Its student body currently comprises persons from 16 different denominations.