Looney Named 2014 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church

Bishop Looney photo courtesy of The Foundation for Evangelism

Bishop Looney photo courtesy of The Foundation for Evangelism

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina — The Foundation for Evangelism announces the selection of Bishop Richard C. Looney as the 2014 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church.

As a member of the Holston Annual Conference, Looney served appointments in Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, shared in Pulpit Exchanges in England and Australia, and work missions in Peru, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  In July of 1988, he was elected by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and assigned as the first Bishop of the newly created South Georgia Episcopal Area (the South Georgia Annual Conference) where he served for 12 years, before “retiring”.  He then served as President of The Foundation for Evangelism in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, as Episcopal Director of the Foundation, and continues to serve as Episcopal Director Emeritus.  He provided several resources for equipping the local church to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, including Altar – The Place Where Persons Meet God  and Providing an Opportunity for People to Follow Jesus, which are available from The Foundation for Evangelism.

Known for his humor, Looney often says that he has flunked retirement more than once.  Despite having reached the highest position of clergy leadership in The United Methodist Church, he felt a call to return to his pastoral roots and accepted an appointment as pastor of the small Telford United Methodist Church near Jonesboro in Northeast Tennessee. Following four years at Telford he also served 18 months as pastor of Munsey Memorial UMC in Johnson City, Tennessee, becoming a regular on the church’s You Tube channel where his sermons were made available weekly.

Born in the Methodist parsonage in Hillsville, Virginia, he is a graduate of Emory and Henry College, and Candler School of Theology, with additional study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and Union Theological Seminary.  In 1957 he married the former Carolyn McKeithen of Jackson, Mississippi.  He and Carolyn were the parents of three children and became proud grandparents of four.  After 51 years of marriage, Carolyn passed away in 2009.  Looney is trying retirement again, having moved to Chattanooga to enjoy family, hiking and writing.

The Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church Award is presented annually by The Foundation for Evangelism to an individual whose personal ministry in evangelism has been recognized throughout the United Methodist denomination.  Known for its flagship program the E. Stanley Jones Professors of Evangelism, the Foundation provides grants to enable The United Methodist Church to fulfill its mission to bring persons into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  To learn more about the Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church Award and other grant opportunities visit www.FoundationForEvangelism.org

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Daryl StephensCarla McLain Recent comment authors
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Daryl Stephens

I first met Bishop Looney when I lived in Macon, Georgia, for a year, and he preached at the Holy Week services at Mulberry Street UMC. Then I moved to Johnson City, TN, when I got to meet him again after he retired and spoke at a retreat for Munsey Memorial UMC. Then I got to know him as my pastor at Munsey . A wonderfully gracious man with, as has already been said, a wonderful sense of humor (and a pretty good bass singing voice, too, I might add!).

Carla McLain

My husband and I have been blessed with having Bishop Looney as our pastor and friend . He has touched our lives with his humor, faith, and service. Phillip and Carla McLain

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