Baylor University Associate Professor Wins Christian Music and Ministry Award

June 9, 2009
News Photo 4717Terry York

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Dr. Terry York, associate professor of Christian ministry and church music at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, received the Baptist Church Music Conference's highest award at the group's annual gathering in Nashville on Monday.

York was presented with the W. Hines Sims Award, instituted in 1971 and named for the late W. Hines Sims, editor of the 1956 Baptist Hymnal. Sims was the secretary of the Church Music Department of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board for nearly 20 years.

"So many of us have benefited from our association with Terry York as a student, colleague or friend," said Chuck Bridwell, a conference executive council member, who presented the award.

"He has a special way of including and encouraging that makes us better for having been around him," said Bridwell, minister of music at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award."

The award puts York in "a very elite group of Baptist church musicians," said Dr. Randall Bradley, professor of church music and director of the church music program in Baylor's School of Music.

"Terry played a major role in producing the 1991 Baptist Hymnal and is one of the most significant living Baptist hymn writers," Bradley said.

York's Worthy of Worship is one of his most beloved hymns.

"Worthy of Worship is a tune that helped bridge the gap between traditional hymnody and the praise choruses," Bradley said. "It's a combination of the rich text by Terry and the singable music by Mark Blankenship.

"Terry's hymns are distinguishable by the rich metaphors and poignant imagery."

Being named for the award is "really an honor," York said. "When I see the names of all those who have received the award and think mine is going to be on that same list, it's quite humbling."

One of the best known on that list is George Beverly Shea.

York, who knew Sims, said that Sims was "a real encourager" to him.

"He'd send hand-written notes to me from time to time when I was working for what was then the Baptist Sunday School Board," York said.

York earned his bachelor's degree from California Baptist College in Riverside, Calif., and his master's degree and doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is a former manager of the field services section of LifeWay Christian Services, formerly the Baptist Sunday School Board.

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