February 29, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University announces the selection of William E. “Bill” Turner as the 2012 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award recipient. The award will be presented at a noon luncheon on March 3, 2012, during the three-day Perkins Theological School for the Laity.
The Seals Award is presented annually to a layperson in the United States who embodies the Christian faith and commitment of service to Christ in the church, community, and world as exemplified by Judge Woodrow B. Seals, a distinguished layperson whose interest and energy were instrumental in establishing the Perkins Theological School for the Laity. Selection for the award is made by a committee of the Perkins Lay Advisory Board.
A long-time United Methodist, Turner has been an active layperson in United Methodist congregations ranging from St. John’s UMC in Richmond, Texas, to his present home church, Faith UMC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His comprehensive service to the church and community has included in-depth administrative work in the areas of finance and accounting as well as extensive leadership in such mission projects as forming and coordinating disaster response teams, leading teams of volunteers to repair or rebuild homes for the poor as well as damaged church buildings, and organizing fundraisers to support youth mission projects.
Heather Scherer, who has worked with Turner in her role as Minister of Youth at Faith UMC, praises Turner for his work raising funds in support of scholarships benefitting hundreds of youth who seek opportunities to participate in missions trips and projects. She also cites his work coordinating volunteers to provide resources and labor for repairing the homes of low income families in the community. “I am continually amazed at the heart and energy that Bill Turner has for being the hands and feet of Christ for the world,” Scherer says. “He shows his faith by the way he cares for his extended family, the church and the stranger. He has changed lives in this community, this state, in our country and across the world through his involvement in service and missions.”
Turner’s current pastor at Faith UMC, Rev. Brad Humphrey, echoes Scherer’s praise. “Because of his leadership, our church will have a team and/or project somewhere in the world every other week, from the inner city of Tulsa to Nicaragua,” Humphrey notes.
Rev. Linda Harker, Superintendent of the Muskogee District UMC and Turner’s former pastor, lauds Turner as one who “authentically lives the Christian faith in all aspects of his life, 365 days of the year. If there is a need to help someone, Bill is the person to inform; if there is a job to be done, Bill is the person to ask; if there is a mission to be accomplished, Bill is the ‘go to’ person,” says Harker.
A native of Sikeston, Missouri, Turner graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Business Administration. He retired in 1999 after a 33-year career with Shell Oil. He and his wife Judy currently reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with two daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren living nearby in Collinsville, Catoosa and Pryor.
Perkins Theological School for the Laity, scheduled this year for March 1-3, is supported by the Howard-Holbert Endowment Fund. The fund was established in 1986 in memory of the late Dr. Virgil P. Howard, who was associate director of the Perkins Intern Program and professor of Supervised Ministry; and in honor of Dr. John C. Holbert, who has served as Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology since 1997.
To register in advance for the luncheon, call 214-768-2251 or register online. The luncheon will be held in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. on the campus of SMU. For a map of the SMU campus, visit smu.edu/maps.
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