United Theological Seminary alumni/ae, guests and staff gathered on October 14, 2014 at the Annual Alumni/ae Awards Banquet for the presentation of Alumni/ae Awards and induction of new members into the Eckels Society.
Rev. Dr. Ronald Patterson ’67 received the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award for his significant contributions to United Methodist publishing. During his prestigious career of nearly 50 years, he performed vital work with organizations including The Upper Room, Abingdon Press and UMR Communications. He retired from publishing in 2004, but continued to serve the Church as associate pastor at McKendree UMC in Nashville, TN, and part-time associate at Crossville First UMC in Crossville, TN, until his final retirement in 2014.
“[Patterson] just represents a distinguished alumnus because of his long-standing, long history of ministry working in United Methodist publishing,” said Brice Thomas, director of alumni/ae relations. “I just think it’s the whole idea of consistency and commitment to his work.”
Rev. Dr. Michael Slaughter ’90 received the Outstanding Doctor of Ministry Alumnus/a Award for his accomplishments as a leader, evangelist and author during his time at Ginghamsburg Church, Tipp City, OH, where he has served since 1979. In 2005 and 2006, The Church Report magazine named Ginghamsburg one of the top 50 churches in the U.S. In the following year, The Church Report listed Slaughter one of the top 50 most influential Christians in America. Under his leadership, Ginghamsburg welcomes an average of 4,000 at weekly worship services and serves more than 40,000 people annually via outreach ministries. In 2005, the church founded The Sudan Project and has since invested nearly $5.6 million toward humanitarian relief in Darfur. Slaughter is also the author of multiple books and has received several awards for his leadership and commitment to evangelism.
“Slaughter has just done so much in the field of evangelism and church renewal and his outreach ministries, mission ministries, to the Sudan,” Thomas said. “He just … represents a successful, ground-breaking ministry that has been an outgrowth of his doctoral project.”
Additionally, members from the class of 1974 were inducted into the Eckels Society, which identifies and honors United graduates of 40 or more years who have given dedicated service to Christ. The Society is named for the Rev. Dr. Harry L. Eckels who earned a diploma and five degrees from United over the years from 1941 to 1989. Rev. Dr. Eckels exemplified dedication to the church, faithful service in ministry, deep pastoral care for all he met, a sincere life-long commitment to continuing education and the best that United alumni/ae represent. The Society, named in his honor, is United’s way of recognizing those who, like Eckels, honor God, Christ, the Church and United Theological Seminary by their lives.