Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-09-25

Dr. William Robbins Sims, pastor of Whitfield United Methodist Church of Montgomery, Ala., has received the first James A. Auchmuty Fellowship for continuing education and professional renewal among congregational leaders.

The $5,000 award is funded by the James A. Auchmuty Fund for Excellence in Congregational Leadership, established in 2005 by Shades Crest Baptist Church in conjunction with Samford University's Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence.

Dr. Sims is participating in the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation offered by the Upper Room Ministries of Nashville, Tenn. He is focusing research and study on "Nature and Spirituality."

Sims has served as a pastor since 1974, including some 25 years at Methodist and Baptist congregations in Alabama. He is a graduate of Troy State University with master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He has further study at Candler School of Theology of Emory University and with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Auchmuty Fellowship program is open to clergy and laity of any Christian denomination, race and gender with at least 15 years of exemplary congregational leadership experience. Designed to help both clergy and laity counteract burnout, the fund is named for the retired longtime pastor of Shades Crest Baptist Church, a Samford graduate.

For information on the program, contact the Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.