Bliss Dodd to Receive 2014 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award

Awards Luncheon Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dallas, Texas – Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University announces the selection of Bliss Dodd as the 2014 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award recipient. Ms. Dodd, a member of First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, in the Central Texas Annual Conference, will receive the Seals Award at a 12:00 p.m. luncheon Saturday, March 8, 2014, during the three-day Perkins Theological School for the Laity. 

 Bliss Dodd, 2014 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award Recipient, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, SMU
 Bliss Dodd
First UMC, Fort Worth
Central Texas Conference

The Seals Award is presented annually to laypersons in the United States who embody 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.

Bliss Dodd has been an active layperson for many years at First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth. In addition to a wide variety of leadership responsibilities in the local church, she has served at the district and conference levels in the Central Texas Annual Conference and as a representative to several South Central Jurisdictional Conferences as well as three successive General Conferences – quadrennial gatherings of representatives elected to the highest legislative body of The United Methodist Church from across the globe.

“Bliss exemplifies the ministry of the laity at every level in the church,” said Dr. Tim Bruster, senior pastor at First UMC, Fort Worth. “Bliss lives out her commitment to Christ and the church in so many ways: in her worship attendance, her full participation and leadership on boards and committees, her stewardship, her own spiritual disciplines and her excellent teaching. She has held many offices at the local church level and beyond; ways that are too numerous to list.”

In appreciation for her extensive leadership in the Central Texas Annual Conference, Ms. Dodd received the Morris DeLaney Walker award from the Central Texas Conference Board of Laity in 2012. The Morris Walker award recognizes “above and beyond” service of laity and clergy to their local church, community and the annual conference. Her duties in the Central Texas Conference included chairing a committee on mental health education and issues, a task for which she was ideally suited because of her professional experience as Special Education Director for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford School District.

“Bliss is one of the most giving and supportive laypersons that I know,” said Rev. Gena Anderson, associate pastor at First UMC, Fort Worth. “She is a mover and shaker; she is always getting wonderful things done in our church community. She is also a very gifted teacher of all age groups.” Anderson adds, “She is a connector; this is her greatest spiritual gift. She connects to other people, she connects people to one another, and she connects people to God. Bliss is an amazing woman who works tirelessly to make our church and our world a better place.”

Perkins Theological School for the Laity, scheduled this year for March 6–8, is supported by the Howard-Holbert Endowment Fund. The fund was established in 1986 in honor of the late Dr. Virgil P. Howard, who was associate director of the Perkins Intern Program and professor of Supervised Ministry; and Dr. John C. Holbert, who served as Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology from 1997 until his retirement in 2012.

To register in advance for the luncheon, call 214.768.2251 or register online. The luncheon will be held in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall on the campus of SMU. For a map of the SMU campus, visit

For more information about the Perkins Theological School for the Laity, contact Rev. Gary MacDonald, Director of Advanced Ministerial Studies at Perkins,, 1.888.THEOLOGY (ext. 4). For more information about the Seals Award, contact Rev. Connie Nelson, Director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations at Perkins,, 214.768.2335.

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., which is offered as a cooperative venture by Perkins School of Theology and the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

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