On October 25, Candler presented four alumni with the school’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards—two for lifetime achievement and two for faithful and creative leadership—an honor recognizing alumni for their work in service to Candler, the church, the academy and/or the community. This was the first time the awards have been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We celebrate these four remarkable individuals and the good work God is doing through them,” says Jan Love, Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean of Candler. “They exemplify the core values of Candler School of Theology as they serve as faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries throughout the world, and we’re grateful for their witness.”
(From left) Flippin, Brady, Dean Jan Love, Mackey, Smothers
The Rev. Dr. Hal Brady III 64T 84T, retired ordained minister in The United Methodist Church and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of over 50 years of active ministry in Georgia and Texas, his profound dedication to the Candler community, and his passion for presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ in a fresh and vital way. A native of LaGrange, Georgia, Brady’s pastorates have included St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, Georgia; First United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas; Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia; and Carrollton First United Methodist Church, Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, and Clayton First United Methodist Church, all in Georgia. He has served as a trustee of United Methodist-related LaGrange College and Andrew College, as well as in denominational leadership roles as a member of the District Board of Ordained Ministry and the South Georgia Conference Committee on the Episcopacy, and as chair of the South Georgia Conference Committee on Evangelism. In addition to his pastoral and denominational leadership, Brady has also served the community as a member of the board of directors of The Wesleyan Christian Advocate, the Leadership Morality Institute, Global Health Action, and the Georgia United Methodist Communications Council.
The Rev. Dr. William Flippin, Sr. 82T, senior pastor of The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of his 30-plus years of visionary leadership, passion for engaging the community, and purposeful mentorship to pastors, ministers, and community and business leaders. As both a national and international leader, Flippin has traveled to Africa, the Bahamas, Israel, and various other countries to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Under his leadership since 1990, The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church has equipped over 100 ordained ministers and deacons for vocational service, established numerous scholarship funds and awards, and created Christian education and resource centers to educate and engage the congregation and community. In addition, Flippin actively connects his church and ministry to the community through the NAACP’s Outreach Center and as president of the DeKalb County Juvenile Justice Commission.
Carlton Mackey 05T, assistant director of community dialogue and engagement at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Faithful and Creative Leadership in recognition of his remarkable work to build community, address racial inequality, and strengthen families and children, as well as his continued work with Candler students and Atlanta residents. An artist, scholar, community advocate and award-winning photographer, Mackey is the creator of the social media platforms and empowerment movements “Black Men Smile” and “Beautiful In Every Shade,” and a lecturer in Emory’s Department of Film and Media. He currently serves on the Atlanta Board of Education Ethics Commission, as well as on the advisory board of Foreverfamily, a nonprofit that surrounds Atlanta youth who have one or more incarcerated parent with the love of family and provides regular prison visitation. Mackey previously served on the Board of Directors of The WonderRoot Center for Art and Social Change for six years. His engagement with Candler includes being honored with an alumni award by the Candler Black Student Caucus and serving as an original member of the Black Alumni Caucus, which was chartered in 2018.
The Rev. Jasmine Smothers 08T, lead pastor of the historic Atlanta First United Methodist Church, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Faithful and Creative Leadership in recognition of her visionary leadership, her commitment to a way forward, her service as a public theologian, and her dedication to inclusive church communities. When Smothers was appointed to Atlanta First in 2016, she made history by becoming the first female, the first person of color, and the youngest leader in the congregation’s 175-year history. In addition to her pastoral leadership, she has served The United Methodist Church as an associate director for congregational vitality through the Office of Connectional Ministries in the North Georgia Conference and served as the primary staff resource for ministry initiatives including racial-ethnic ministries and the development of young clergy leaders. Smothers has been a board member of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race; the Ministry Study Commission; and several task forces on Ministry with Young People. She is a 2015-2016 Lewis Center for Church Community Fellow, a 2017 inductee into Morehouse College’s prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers, and a 2018 alum of LEAD Atlanta. Under Smothers’ leadership, Atlanta First UMC recently broke ground on an affordable housing development on church property as part of the City of Atlanta’s Faith-based Land Development Initiative.
Top photo: (From left) Flippin, Brady, Dean Jan Love, Mackey, Smothers
Photo by David Fitzer, @FitzMediaServices