Decatur, GA. Three Columbia graduates were honored on April 12 during the annual awards dinner of the Columbia Theological Seminary Alumni/ae Association. Professors emeriti Hubert Taylor ’46 and James Newsome ’55/’57 (ThM) received the Distinguished Service Award. Mark Adams ’98 received the Pioneer in Ministry award.
Hubert Vance Taylor is a graduate of Lafayette College and Westminster Choir College. He earned a Ph.D. in public address at Northwestern University. While leading the music ministry of Central Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta, he enrolled in Columbia and, when he graduated, was invited to join the faculty. He served as professor of worship, speech, and hymnody and established and conducted a seminary choir that provided music for campus worship services and also toured supporting churches across the southeast. Dr. Taylor was a member of the committee that compiled the Presbyterian Hymnbook of 1955, the cooperative effort of five Reformed-Presbyterian denominations to provide a common hymnal for North American Presbyterians. He also participated in the production of the Worship Book of 1972. As a coordinator for the Speech Association of America, he contributed to Preaching in American History and Sermons in American History, volumes that make clear how preaching shapes church and society. For more than a decade, Dr. Taylor directed the choral music for denominations participating in the internationally broadcast Protestant Hour (now Day One) and helped develop the educational program for the Protestant Radio and Television Center. He was a pioneer in using television and videotape to assist speakers in crafting their messages.
James Newsome is a graduate of Millsaps College. In addition to his degrees from Columbia Seminary, he also completed a Ph.D. in Old Testament at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Newsome served as minister of Christian education at Peachtree Road church in Atlanta; assistant pastor of First church, Columbus, GA; pastor of Mars Hill church of Athens, TN; and as pastor of First church, Paducah, KY. Dr. Newsome returned to Columbia in 1977 as director of advanced studies, and then later joined the faculty as professor of Old Testament. He is the author of By the Waters of Babylon: An Introduction to the History and Theology of the Exile (John Knox, 1979); a commentary on First and Second Samuel (John Knox, 1982); The Hebrew Prophets (John Knox, 1984); A Synoptic Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (Baker, 1986); Greeks, Romans, and Jews: Currents of Culture and Belief in the New Testament World (Trinity Press, 1992); and Exodus (Geneva, 1998). During 20 years as a professor at Columbia, he was an advisor, role model, guide, and friend to students, who affectionately referred to him as “Gentleman Jim.”
Mark Adams ’98 has served for 12 years as U.S. coordinator of Frontera de Cristo, a ministry centered in Agua Prieta, Sonora, and Douglas, AZ. In partnership with an elder in the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, he coordinates the ministry’s six areas: church development, health, family counseling, the New Hope Community Center, mission education, and the Just Trade Center. He was involved in the establishment of Café Justo in Chiapas, Mexico, a grower cooperative through which has been created a sustainable, small-scale international coffee company that is owned and controlled by the coffee growers, thus shifting or redistributing the profits from large international non-local companies to the members of their local community. He is the co-author of the book Just Coffee: Caffeine With A Conscience, which describes the remarkable story of the coffee company. Mark is a frequent speaker, preacher and writer, helping the Presbyterian Church (USA) and others understand and respond to some of our neighbors’ struggles for justice in wages, just treatment in business, just immigration practices, and justice with the environment.