news-category: Campus News

GWU Campus Community Invited to Webb Connections Panel Discussion on April 20

A photo collage featuring pictures of the speakers for the event, from left, Dr. James Howell, Dr. Kimberly Moore, Dr. William Willimon and Dr. Tracy Jessup
The four panelists are, from left, Dr. James Howell, Dr. Kimberly Moore, Dr. William Willimon and Dr. Tracy Jessup.

Moderated by President Dr. William Downs, Panelists will Explore Impacts of Christian Higher Education

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs invites the campus community to attend the final Webb Connections event for the semester, “A Revival in Christian Higher Education: Building A Bigger Tent.” Webb Connections is an informative series hosted by Downs and featuring a panel of experts discussing topics of national, regional and local interest.

Dr. William M. Downs
Dr. William M. Downs

The program on April 20 at 7 p.m. will be held in Stewart Hall of Tucker Student Center. The panelists will discuss the history of higher education in the west and its close ties to faith, specifically Christianity. They will also explore various aspects of the impact, the purpose, the need and place for Christian higher education within the culture, society and community today. After the panel discussion, audience members will be invited to ask questions of the group.

Refreshments will be available, and all COVID-19 guidelines will be observed, including physical distancing and required face coverings. Because attendance is limited, registration is required and may be completed here. When all spots are filled, a wait list of alternates will be compiled and notified if seats become open. 

Moderated by Downs, four panelists will participate:

  • Dr. James Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, N.C. Howell has been senior pastor of Myers Park since 2003. He studied chemistry and physics at the University of South Carolina (Columbia) before going to Divinity School at Duke, where he also earned a Ph.D. in Old Testament. He has published 17 books, including “Yours are the Hands of Christ,” “Worshipful,” and “Weak Enough to Lead.” He is involved in leadership within the denomination and city-wide endeavors.
  • Dr. Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian Life and Service and senior minister to the University, GWU. Jessup received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Gardner-Webb. He earned his Master of Divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School (Birmingham, Ala.). He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jessup also teaches in the Gardner-Webb undergraduate Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy. He enjoys the opportunity to serve the local church through interim pastorates, pulpit supply, and preaching revival services.
  • Dr. Kimberly Moore, senior pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Gastonia, N.C. Moore is a graduate of Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., where she received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is a graduate of Gardner-Webb School of Divinity, where she received her Master of Divinity degree in Pastoral Studies and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Ministries. Moore is the first female to serve as a senior pastor in the Gaston County Baptist Association. She is the founder and CEO of Kimberly Moore Ministries, which is a non-profit, outreach ministry offering empowerment classes, women’s ministries, mentoring sessions, and conferences.
  • Dr. William H. Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School, Durham, N.C. Willimon has a Bachelor of Arts from Wofford University (Spartanburg, S.C.), Master of Divinity from Yale University (New Haven, Conn.), and Doctor of Sacred Theology from Emory University (Atlanta, Ga.). A bishop in the United Methodist Church, Willimon served as the dean of Duke Chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke University for 20 years. He returned to Duke after serving as the bishop of the North Alabama Conference from 2004 to 2012. He is the author of 70 books with more than over a million copies sold. His “Worship as Pastoral Care” was selected as one of the 10 most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. In 2017, he published “Who Lynched Willie Earle? Confronting Racism through Preaching.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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