JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Union University trustees have established the Union University M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award to recognize a Southern Baptist for his or her service and leadership on behalf of Tennessee Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The award is named in honor of M.E. Dodd, a Union graduate considered the father of the SBC’s Cooperative Program for churches’ financial support of worldwide missions and ministry initiatives. Dodd was the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., who also served as president of the SBC and the SBC Pastors’ Conference.
University President David S. Dockery said the institution created the award to honor Southern Baptists who are committed to the Cooperative Program.
“M.E. Dodd is often linked to the founding and shaping of the Cooperative Program in the Southern Baptist Convention and this award is a way that Union University can encourage faithfulness to and cooperation among Tennessee Baptists as well as among the broader Southern Baptist Convention in the days ahead,” Dockery said.
Since its inception at the 1925 Southern Baptist Convention, more than $10 billion have flowed through the Cooperative Program in support of enlarging God’s Kingdom. Dodd called this plan the “safest, sanest, and most scriptural way to finance our Kingdom work. Money given to the church and the Cooperative Program will go farther, rise higher, spread wider, work deeper and last longer than when given to any other place or cause.”
The inaugural award will be presented in 2004, Dockery said.
Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, commended Dockery and the university for the new award.
“Union University once again is demonstrating its unfettered loyalty to the Southern Baptist Convention,” Chapman said. “Union University, under the leadership of its outstanding president, Dr. David Dockery, has wholeheartedly embraced the convention and is dedicated to teaching biblical principles that prepare the students for living a dynamic witness for Christ.”
Virginia D. Joyner, granddaughter of the late Dodd, expressed gratitude for the establishment of the award.
“The Dodd family and I are extremely pleased,” she said. “It has been 51 years since my grandfather’s passing and his contribution to all areas of Southern Baptist life is still being realized.”
Union’s alumni and associated leaders have made significant contributions to the SBC, including R.G. Lee, Wayne Dehoney, J.D. Grey, James Sullivan, George Savage and John J. Hurt.
According to the International Mission Board, 75 Unionites are currently serving on the mission field. The total number of active and inactive missionaries with ties to Union is 238.
Nominations for the award can be sent to Union University’s Office of Church Services, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, TN 38305.
The Union award is the second CP-related honor named for Dodd. The SBC Executive Committee has given an M.E. Dodd Cooperative Program Award at each year’s SBC annual meeting since 2000. The SBC award honors a person, congregation or organization that has demonstrated continuous, long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practice and spirit of the Cooperative Program.