People of Faith: March 6, 2015

Dr. James V. Lyles

Dr. James V. Lyles

Lyles named distinguished alumnus at Perkins

Arkansas native the Rev. Dr. James V. Lyles on Feb. 2 received a 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Alumni/ae Council of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. This annual award recognizes Perkins graduates who have demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support and involvement in the goals of Perkins School of Theology and SMU, distinguished service in the wider community and exemplary character.

With four fellow students—John Wesley Elliott, Arthur Hawkins, Negail Rudolph Riley and Cecil Williams—Lyles helped Perkins School of Theology lead the way in the desegregation of SMU as the five became the first African Americans to be admitted as degree candidates and to graduate. Lyles earned the Master of Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology in 1955.

Lyles’ ministry has included pastoring churches in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin and California; serving as a denominational and annual conference staff executive with responsibilities in mission, evangelism and church renewal; as a military chaplain with the U.S. Air Force; and in campus ministries and teaching at the college level.

Lyles recently published a memoir, Hard Trials, Great Tribulations: A Black Preacher’s Pilgrimage from Poverty and Segregation to the 21st Century. In addition to his degree from Perkins, he earned a B.A. from Philander Smith College, where he graduated at the head of his class with distinction, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Steel-Hendrix Awards for Guinn, McDaniel, Stewart

Hendrix College has announced the winners of the 2015 Steel-Hendrix Awards. The recipients include Belinda “Be” Guinn, Youth Minister of the Year; Dr. Jay B. McDaniel, the Mary and Ida Brumley Award for Religious Education; and the Rev. Hezekiah David Stewart Jr., the Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness.

Belinda Guinn

Belinda Guinn

The Youth Minister of the Year Award was created in 2003 to honor individuals who have been outstanding in their service to young people through the youth ministry of the United Methodist Church in Arkansas.

Guinn has served as youth ministry volunteer, junior high youth minister, youth ministry director, membership secretary and historian at Sardis United Methodist Church. She also serves on the church’s administrative board, as well as being a life-long member of the church body.

Guinn has attended Perkins School of Youth Ministry eight of the 10 years she has served as a youth minister. Along with her local church youth ministry experience, Guinn has also served on the former South Central District Council on Youth Ministry, the Conference Council on Youth Ministry Junior High Assembly Task Force Team, and the Central District Council on Youth Ministry.

Dr. Jay B. McDaniel

Dr. Jay B. McDaniel

The Mary and Ida Brumley Award for Religious Education honors those who have provided distinguished service in the field of religious education. The award celebrates the legacy of Mary and Ida Brumley, long-time Christian education leaders in the North Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

McDaniel regularly speaks at Ecumenical Buddhist Society, Pulaski Heights UMC, First UMC Little Rock, First UMC Conway, Hot Springs Unitarian Church and Arkansas Governor’s School.

In addition to his speaking positions, McDaniel is director of the Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy at Hendrix College, co-founder and member of the board of directors of the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, member of the American Academy of Religion, member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and founder of “Journey into Silence.”

McDaniel has also served as chairperson of the Church and Society Committee of First UMC Conway, member of the Animals and Theology Working Group of the Centre for the Study of Theology at the University of Essex, UK, a member of the American Academy of Religion and member of International Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies.

Rev. Hezekiah David Stewart Jr.

Rev. Hezekiah David Stewart Jr.

The Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness recognizes persons whose lives have been distinguished by a passion for social justice and a commitment to the general welfare of all people. The award is given in memory of Miss Ethel K. Millar, a long-time Hendrix College librarian whose passion for peace, commitment to a variety of social organizations and work as a role model inspired Hendrix students to devote their lives to the pursuit of the highest ideals of peace and justice.

Stewart earned his Master of Divinity degree at The Interdenominational Theological Center, Turner Seminary, at Atlanta University in Georgia. He later taught at Shorter College Theological Seminary.

Stewart now serves as a pastor, teacher and lecturer in his community. For 14 years, Stewart has served as the pastor at Moody Chapel AME Church. In addition to his pastoral service, he has been involved with Mt. Nebo Church Advisory Board to College Station Boy Scouts of America, a Social Action Consultant for Little Rock Ministerial Alliance 12th District Episcopal AME church and the Interfaith Hunger Task Force, among other roles.

The award recipients will be honored at a banquet Thursday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. A lecture by author Dr. Lauren Winner will follow the banquet. For tickets, contact the Rev. J. Wayne Clark, 501-450-1263 or