The Rev. William H. Willimon, Bishop of the United Methodist Church and a nationally known pastor and author, will serve as keynote speaker for the baccalaureate service this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at William and Mary Hall.
As Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the denomination, Willimon leads 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors. For 20 years, Willimon was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University.
Prior to his ministry as a bishop and as the dean at Duke, his ministry included service as pastor of churches, and assistant professor of liturgy and worship, director of the ministerial course of study school, and presiding minister in the Duke Divinity School Chapel. He has been awarded honorary degrees from 10 colleges and universities across America. In 1992, he was named as the first Distinguished Alumnus of Yale Divinity School. He also serves on the faculties of Birmingham-Southern College as visiting distinguished professor and as visiting research professor at Duke University Divinity School.
He is the author of nearly 60 books, with total sales of more than one million copies. His “Worship as Pastoral Care” was selected as one of the ten most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. In 1996, an international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world.
His articles have appeared in many publications including The Christian Ministry, Quarterly Review, Liturgy, Worship and Christianity Today. He is Editor-at-Large for The Christian Century. He has served as editor and expositor (with his wife, Patricia) for Abingdon's International Lesson Annual. He has written curriculum materials and video for youth, young adults, and adults. His Pulpit Resource is used each week by over 8,000 pastors in the USA, Canada, and Australia. A 2005 study by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found that Bishop Willimon is the second most widely read author by mainline Protestant pastors.
Bishop Willimon has given lectures, taught courses, and served on the faculty at many pastors' schools and at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, including Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Oxford, University of Bonn, and the University of Muenster, Germany. His books have been translated into eight languages. He is a graduate of Wofford College, Yale Divinity School, and Emory University.