On September 14, Candler presented Timothy McDonald III 78T and Sarah Gerwig-Moore 02L 02T with the school’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards, an honor recognizing alumni for their work in service to Candler, the church, the academy and/or the community.

Timothy McDonald III78T received Candler’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of his 30-plus years of service to the church, university, and larger society. McDonald is senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, where he has served since 1984, shepherding the congregation’s growth from 35 members to nearly 1,500 today. He served three terms as president of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, and has also served as special assistant for community concerns to Mayor Maynard Jackson, and national director of Operation Breadbasket and Special Projects for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is a founder of the African American Ministers Leadership Council and president of the African American Ministers in Action of People for the American Way.

As a Candler student, McDonald was the founder and first president of the Black Student Caucus, and now serves on the school’s Black Alumni Caucus. He is also an active partner with Candler’s Black Church Studies and Contextual Education programs. Honored by several organizations for his volunteerism, McDonald was named a Candler Centennial Medalist in 2014, in recognition of his leadership in the church and community.

“Rev. McDonald has devoted his life to serving others, demonstrating personal commitment and prophetic leadership to mobilize communities to address civil rights and economic and social justice,” said Jan Love, Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean of Candler, who presented the award. 

Sarah Gerwig-Moore 02L 02T received Candler’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Faithful and Creative Leadership in recognition of more than a decade of service to the community. Gerwig-Moore is associate professor at Mercer University School of Law. While pursuing her dual Master of Theological Studies/Juris Doctor degree at Emory, she won Candler’s Myki Mobley Award, presented to the MTS student who demonstrates academic excellence and significant social concern. Gerwig-Moore was also awarded the Herman Dooyeweerd Prize in Law and Religion from Emory Law School. At Mercer University School of Law, she established The Habeas Project, which provides pro bono representation in cases pending before the Georgia Supreme Court and in other cases presenting pressing constitutional issues. The Habeas Project has briefed and argued over 70 cases, and won full or partial relief on behalf of many of its clients. Much of her work is motivated by her interest in criminal justice reform, especially the elimination of the death penalty.

Prior to joining the Mercer faculty, Gerwig-Moore served as the senior appellate supervising attorney in the Office of the Public Defender in Macon. She is a justice-minded community leader, having served two terms on the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission, including four years as its chair. She is founding co-chair of the College Hill Corridor Commission, an organization noted for its visible progress in inner-city neighborhood revitalization and efforts to ensure transparency through civic engagement.

“Sarah Gerwig-Moore’s dedication to justice for the marginalized and her commitment to the highest standards of intellectual and theological integrity are enormous contributions to the common good,” said Love in presenting the award.

In closing, Love praised both honorees. “In their lives and ministries, Timothy McDonald and Sarah Gerwig-Moore embody the core values of Candler School of Theology as they endeavor to serve as faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries throughout the world.”

Top photo (from left): Rev. Will Conner 12T (president of the Candler Alumni Board), McDonald, Dean Jan Love, and Gerwig-Moore.