Oct. 14, 2013
A heart for ministry with the disenfranchised drives the life’s work of two Candler alumni awarded the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Community in late September. Diane Moseley 71T and Brian Combs 06T received recognition as graduates of the school who have displayed devoted commitment as ambassadors and advocates for Candler, the church and the community as a whole.
Moseley thanked the many people who have guided her ministry and reflected on her 40 years at Killingsworth Home, a community residence in Columbia, South Carolina for women working to overcome lives of addiction, violence, incarceration and family crisis situations.
“I am at home with those who ask questions, and it has been my deep privilege to stand with them in some of the most intense moments of redemption and reconciliation as guideposts to better questions and possible answers are revealed. My ministry has been God’s gift to me.”
Under Moseley’s leadership as executive director, Killingsworth Home has flourished as a ministry of The United Methodist Women, helping hundreds of women find financial and emotional support as well as education and training for leading sustainable lives after they leave the program.
One of the first female MDiv graduates of Candler, Moseley says that she never set out to be unconventional, but was simply following a call as surprising to her as it was to others.
“I think if one is honest, being beckoned by the Creator of the Universe is about as big a surprise as one could get. Who can imagine it? God wants me to do what? It makes me laugh; it tells me something about the nature of God. It surprises me that I am included in a holy beckoning to come dance. Candler didn’t do that. God did that. Being at Candler helped me to accept it.”
Brian Combs builds intentional community with society’s marginalized at Haywood Street Congregation in Asheville, NC. Combs began Haywood Street in 2009 as a direct response to his conversations with the homeless in soup kitchen lines, under bridgesand in shelters. He sought to create a worship home for those who needed more than just physical feeding. In his acceptance remarks, he spoke of how he saw Jesus in the congregation at Haywood.
“[Jesus] incarnated as a homeless derelict. Born in the gutter to a teenage mom with a suspect marriage, he lived as an unbecoming pauper, not a manicured prince."
Combs’ message remained focused on the works of Jesus, which he uses as the guidepost for his ministry. “This Jesus, the one who founded Haywood Street, a disparate blend of sober and intoxicated, mentally ill and sane, purveyor and prostitute, lost and found—he is the one who put a call and claim on my life here at Candler.”
He thanked his family and friends, extending a special word of gratitude toward theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman and Luther Smith, professor of church and community at Candler, as his mentors in ministry.
“I’m honored and privileged to be a bandy-legged beast, a donkey helping haul the freight of the gospel in the name of the one who is forever transforming, sanctifying, and reconciling the world back to himself.”