$2 Million Gift Endows Columbia Seminary Chair in Preaching
Decatur, GA.—Columbia Theological Seminary has received a $2 million gift to endow a faculty chair in preaching. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has asked that the chair be named in honor of Wade P. Huie, Jr., a distinguished alumnus who served on the seminary’s faculty from 1957 until his retirement in 1991. Establishment of the chair will allow Columbia, with growing enrollment in masters and doctoral programs, to add a third faculty member in the area of preaching and homiletics. Announcing the gift, Columbia President Laura S. Mendenhall said, “This generous gift from one of Columbia’s loyal friends honors the life and work of Wade Huie, who was Columbia’s Peter Marshall Professor of Homiletics. During the week, for more than thirty years, Dr. Huie taught in Columbia’s classrooms, making the area of preaching and homiletics one of this seminary’s greatest strengths. On Sunday mornings, he preached in local churches, sharing this great gift that he has, and spreading God’s Word as he was called to do.” Mendenhall said that Huie will be honored in October at Columbia’s annual Founders Dinner. Acknowledging that the donor is a long-time, active member of a Presbyterian congregation, Mendenhall said, “This person is keenly aware that preaching is central to the understanding, expression, and spreading of God’s Word and work in the world. Over the course of a lifetime spent in church on Sunday morning, our benefactor recognized how critical good preaching is to the vitality of a congregation’s ministry—and, along the way, made a connection between good sermons, Columbia Seminary, and, in particular, the teaching of Wade Huie.” Mendenhall noted that while the gift honors Dr. Huie, it will also help fill a critical need at Columbia, where growing enrollment and a commitment to one-on-one instruction has stretched thin the seminary’s two-person preaching and homiletics faculty. “An effective preaching class requires time-intensive, individualized instruction and a mentoring relationship with a professor who has both theoretical and practical expertise,” she explained. “Establishment of the Wade P. Huie Chair of Preaching will ensure that our students continue to receive the best possible individualized instruction from faculty members as they prepare to deliver God’s Word.” The additional faculty member will also open new possibilities in the area of doctoral and post-doctoral work in preaching. According to Charles Raynal, director of Columbia’s advanced degree programs, numerous prospective students for the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at Columbia have expressed interest in pursuing the degree with an emphasis in preaching. He says, “Congregations view preaching as the central component of the worship service. For many pastors, the challenge of writing and delivering powerful sermons every week can become overwhelming. Columbia has been unable to respond to repeated requests for a D.Min emphasis in preaching because we simply do not have enough faculty members in that area.” Raynal said that he is hopeful that the new position will enable Columbia’s faculty to develop and support a concentrated focus in preaching for the Doctor of Ministry degree. Columbia Theological Seminary is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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