Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Hymn Society Honors Former Mission Leader

By Elliott Wright*

Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 4, 2018—The Rev. S T Kimbrough, a former staff member of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, has received the highest honor that can be given by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
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He has been named a society “fellow” for his work as a scholar, musician and advocate of global hymnody in the churches. The society is an ecumenical organization of people passionate about hymns and congregational singing.

“We congratulate S T for this high honor but are not in the least surprised,” said Thomas Kemper, the Global Ministries chief executive. “He was a wonderful musical and liturgical asset in the years he was with us. He provided leadership for our Global Praise program that has introduced so many hymns from around the world into general Christian worship.”

Kimbrough, a native of Alabama, was with Global Ministries from March 1993 through June 2006, retiring as associate general secretary for mission evangelism. As the founder of Global Praise, he was responsible for a series of audiovisuals and song books celebrating global hymns.

A well-known concert baritone in the U.S. and Europe before coming to Global Ministries, Kimbrough is also a leading scholar on the life and hymn texts of Charles Wesley, one of the 18th century English founders of Methodism. He is the author of Charles Wesley: Poet and Theologian and many other books.

“S T did especially valuable work for Global Ministries and the church as a whole through his writing on the roots of Methodism in Russia and in helping to create hymnals for Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Cambodia,” Kemper said.

Kimbrough is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, the Duke University Divinity School in North Carolina and earned a doctoral degree in Old Testament and Semitic languages from the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. He is currently a research fellow at the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition at Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.

*Elliott Wright is a communication consultant for Global Ministries.