Bishop Morgan, Rev. Schroerlucke among Candler Distinguished Alumni

September 28, 2010

Every year, the Candler School of Theology recognizes three alumni who have distinguished themselves by their service to church, service to community, or service to Candler respectively. The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the Winship Ballroom located in the Dobbs University Center.

The 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Bishop Robert Morgan 58T, service to church; the Reverend Gilbert Schroerlucke 52T 53G, service to community; and the Reverend Doctor Herchel Sheets 52T, service to Candler.

Although Bishop Robert Morgan 58T has officially retired, his calendar remains filled with teaching, preaching, and speaking engagements-all of which extend his more than 50 years of service to the United Methodist Church. Currently, he is the bishop-in-residence and a faculty member at United Methodist affiliated Birmingham-Southern College (BSC). His teaching and mentoring of students at BSC will impact the leadership of the church for years to come. During his active episcopacy, he was assigned to the Mississippi Area and the Kentucky Conference of the UMC. He also was the presiding bishop of the worldwide Council of Bishops, president of the General Board of Church and Society, president of the Southeastern College of Bishops, and a member of the General Board of Discipleship and the General Board of Global Ministry. Prior to his election as bishop in 1984, he served as pastor of four churches, as well as the District Superintendent of the Tuscaloosa District, all in the North Alabama Conference. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern and the Candler School of Theology. He and his wife, Martha, have been married for 48 years, and they have four children and nine grandchildren. 

The Reverend Gilbert Schroerlucke 52T 53G has been a gentle prophet and courageous advocate for human rights, racial harmony, and genuine social justice since first entering the ministry in 1947. He has shared the podium and pulpit with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and received innumerable awards for his work on behalf of the least of members of Christ's family. During a time in our nation's history when this kind of service not only threatened pastors' careers and livelihood but also their lives, Rev. Schroerlucke held steadfast in his commitment to giving voice for women, men, and children for whom injustice was an everyday experience. In the 10 churches that he served, he established community outreach ministries that included summer programs for children and youth, sports programs for at-risk teenagers, after-school tutoring, daycare, and adult fitness and recreation programs. In his retirement, he has continued his work with the poor and marginalized through Louisville's Market Street EMW Clinic, Open Door Ministry, and the Progressive United Methodists of Kentucky. He is a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College and the Candler School of Theology. He and his wife, Bettye, have been married for 62 years, and they have five children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. 

The Reverend Doctor Herchel Sheets 52T has been an enthusiastic ambassador for the Candler School of Theology since his graduation in 1952. He has served Candler as a contextual education host and site supervisor, class reunion chair, visiting lecturer in Christian education, adjunct professor of Methodist Studies, Candler's representative on the Emory Alumni Board, and a regular presence at Candler and Emory events and life-long learning opportunities. Dr. Sheets also has supported Candler's mission and ministry through his generosity over 42 consecutive years, and in 2009, he established the Gladys Mallard Sheets Endowment for Methodist Studies in honor of his wife of 60 years. In addition to his support of Candler, he is an acknowledged leader within and beyond the United Methodist Church. He has been elected to the United Methodist General Conference five times and Jurisdictional Conference seven times, and his ecumenical work, including his presidency of the Christian Council of Atlanta, is renowned. Along with his M.Div. from Candler, he is a graduate of Berry College, and has honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from LaGrange College in Georgia and Union College in Kentucky. He and his wife, Gladys, have four children and eight grandchildren.