2002 Distinguished Alumni/ae
Louisville Seminary | Mar 01, 2002
Louisville, KY, May 2002 – Since 1983, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has recognized members of the Alumni/ae Association for their vision, accomplishments and leadership. The 2002 Distinguished Alumni/ae Awards were presented to four individuals who represent a vast array of service to the Church through congregational leadership, scholarship and church leadership and service in the mission field.
The Rev. Ann Reed Held graduated from Louisville Seminary in 1978 with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree and returned to LPTS as the recipient of an Anderson Fellowship Award to complete the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in family ministries in 1986.
She was ordained in 1978 by Memphis Presbytery, making her the second woman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the state of Tennessee. Rev. Held has served several congregations in Tennessee. In 1990, she became pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, Va., where she has served for more than 11 years.
The first years of her ministry were focused on Christian education and the spiritual development of families. This led to her D.Min. project in that area and the publication of a book, Keeping Faith in Families.
When Rev. Held became the solo pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church, a new church development begun in 1962, her focus expanded to include preaching, pastoral care and community involvement. During her ministry there, the church has grown from 94 members to 160, with a significant increase among children and youth. Her experiences in congregational leadership led her to write Nurturing the Seeds of Spirituality: Families and Congregations Working Together, which explores spirituality in congregations, and We are the Family of God: Family Conversations about the Catechism (1999), which assists families in using the new Study Catechism in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
In Harrisonburg, she has been president of the local Free Clinic, founding board member of People Helping People, a faith-based organization to help the needy, and currently is a member of the city’s Suicide Prevention Task Force. She has also served as the Presbytery’s chair of the Christian Education Committee and is currently chair of the Nominating Committee.
The Rev. Dr. Thornton Wilson (Tony) Tucker, born in Laurel, Miss., graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina before enrolling at Louisville Seminary to earn the Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) in 1955. He returned to LPTS to complete a Master of Theology (ThM) degree in 1960 and 19 years later earned a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from McCormick Seminary.
For 50 years, Rev. Tucker has served the Church and pastored congregations throughout Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia and North Carolina, including North Decatur Presbyterian Church (1961-1969), Sardis Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., (1969-1980) and First Presbyterian of Charleston, W.Va., where he served until his retirement in 1994 and later was honored as pastor emeritus. In retirement, he has served as interim pastor, temporary supply and consultant to seven congregations and several Presbytery committees, earning him the 2001 Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service to the Church since Retirement from the Presbytery of Charlotte, N.C.
In 1987, Rev. Tucker led LPTS to establish the William A. Benfield Jr. Professorship in Evangelism and Global Mission. In his service to the many communities in which he ministered, Rev. Tucker has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and a number of agencies for the homeless and coordinated the clergy divisions for the United Way in Charlotte and Charleston.
Bishop Edward L. Tullis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and educated in Kentucky, earning degrees from Kentucky Wesleyan College (1939) and Louisville Seminary (1947).
As a Methodist minister for 35 years, he served numerous churches throughout Kentucky including Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church in Louisville. During his pastorates he also taught at Kentucky Wesleyan College (1947-1949), was instructor in Methodist Studies at LPTS (1949-1951) and served as Chaplain in the Kentucky State Legislature (1952-1961).
Bishop Tullis has been active in several areas of the United Methodist church, serving on the Board of Managers of the General Board of Mission, Vice President and chair of the Division of Evangelism in the General Board of Discipleship and Vice President of the General Council on Finance and Administration. He has been a Trustee on 12 colleges and seminaries, and he is presently serving in his 42nd year as Secretary-Treasurer of the Magee Christian Education Foundation. He was elected to the Episcopacy of the United Methodist Church in 1972 and served as Resident Bishop of the Columbia, S.C., area and the Nashville, Tenn., area including Middle and West Tennessee and 100 churches in West Kentucky. He retired in 1984.
He is the author of Shaping the Church from the Mind of Christ: A Study in Paul’s Letters to the Philippians (Upper Room) and The Birth of the Book: A Study of the Origin and Growth of the Bible (The Intentional Growth Center), a study designed primarily for church school and Bible class leaders. He has written extensively for Adult Bible Series and other publications.
The Rev. Lachlan Cumming Vass III is the third generation of his family to serve as an ordained Presbyterian minister. He graduated from Davidson College and from LPTS in 1940. During his seminary studies he was the pastor of Hawesville, Lewisport and Morrison (all in Kentucky) churches.
Following ordination by the Knoxville Presbytery, he married Winifred Kellersberger, daughter of a medical missionary of the Presbyterian Church, who served in the Belgian Congo from 1916-1940. In 1940, the Vasses were appointed missionaries to the Belgian Congo.
Rev. Vass spent 30 years as a missionary in Luebo, Belgian Congo, and helped prepare the indigenous Presbyterian Church for independence. He also developed a school where one was not required to become “de-culturalized” to serve as a leader of the church. During the 1940s and 1950s, he promoted independence for the Church along with political independence from Belgian rule for the people of the Congo. This included directing the J. Leighton Wilson Press, the historic publishing operation in the Congo, from 1941 to 1952. His wife edited the mission’s monthly publication, wrote Bible lessons for women’s circle meetings and several books in the Tshiluba language.
As missionaries they faced many challenges, including illness, numerous assignments and the brutality of rebel soldiers who held them at gunpoint for the Press payroll.
In 1971, the Vasses returned to the United States, where Rev. Vass became the business administrator and associate pastor at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Tex. He served there until his retirement in 1983. In 1997, Rev. Vass and his wife catalogued archival materials for the Presbyterian Community of the Congo. They recorded Tshiluba and French publications spanning nearly 100 years that are housed at the Presbyterian Historical Center in Montreat, N.C. They also wrote The Lapsley Saga, the story of the famous Lapsley missionary effort in behalf of Southern Presbyterians in the Congo.