The Rev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett, MDiv '78, DMin '81 to receive 2014 Distinguished Alumni/ae Award
Award to be presented March 13th
at 2014 Alumni/ae & Friends Days
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett, Lead Pastor at Claremont United Methodist Church, has been selected as the 2014 Recipient of Claremont School of Theology’s Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. The award will be presented to Rev. Dr. Rhodes-Wickett at a special luncheon in her honor as part of this year’s Alumni/ae & Friends Days, an annual gathering that brings together alumni/ae and supporters of Claremont School of Theology (CST) for two days of theological enrichment. The Distinguished Alumni/ae Award Luncheon will take place on Thursday, March 13th at 12:15 PM on the CST Chapel Lawn.
CST first welcomed The Rev. Dr. Rhodes-Wickett to campus in the fall of 1973 when she arrived as a Master of Divinity (MDiv) candidate. Upon graduating in 1978, Rhodes-Wickett received the First United Methodist Church (UMC) of Santa Monica Edwin and Frances Witman Pastoral Care Award, presented to a CST student who demonstrates excellence or shows great promise in pastoral care. In 1975, she was ordained as a Deacon in the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. After serving for two years as Associate Pastor of Northridge United Methodist Church, she was ordained an Elder in 1980. In the years that followed, Rhodes-Wickett built a track record of sustained leadership at several congregations, including ten years as Co-Pastor and Pastor-in-Charge at Santa Clarita UMC, twelve years as Senior Pastor at Westwood UMC, and as Lead Pastor at Claremont UMC from 2006 to the present.
For more that twenty-five years, The Rev. Dr. Rhodes-Wickett has been selected for leadership positions within the United Methodist Church on the district, conference, national, and international levels. From 1990-1994, she served as the District Superintendent in the Long Beach District of the UMC. She was elected by the California-Pacific Annual Conference as a delegate to the Western Jurisdictional Conferences in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004; and delegate to the World Methodist Conferences held in Rio de Janeiro in 1996 and Brighton, England in 2001. Rhodes-Wickett represented the United Methodist denomination at the Protestant Consultation on Church Union (1982-1988) and the National Council of Churches in Christ (1996-2000). She currently serves on the California-Pacific Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.
Throughout her career, The Rev. Dr. Rhodes-Wickett has demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and interfaith engagement. She has served on the board of directors for a number of local organizations including the Westside Interfaith Council, People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), and the Westwood Village Rotary Club. She is currently involved with the Claremont Interfaith Council, Progressive Christians Uniting, and the Clergy and Laity United for Justice (CLUE) Los Angeles. In 2009, the Rhodes-Wickett was the recipient of the California-Pacific Conference’s (UMC) Mel & Lucile Wheatley Lifetime of Justice Award.
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett’s relationship with CST has only deepened since she completed her first degree in 1978. She received her Doctorate in Ministry (DMin) from CST in 1981. She served as an adjunct faculty member from 1999-2012, instructing CST students in the art of preaching and facilitating seminars for students taking part in local field education assignments. In 2005, CST established a scholarship in her name upon the twenty-fifth anniversary of her ordination as an Elder.
Perhaps the most profound event to take place in Rhodes-Wickett’s life at CST occurred during her first days on campus. It was then that she met Al Wickett, whom she married in 1977. A pastor, musician, and composer, Al was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2000. He died in 2010. Following his death, the scholarship that had been established in the name of Sharon Rhodes-Wickett was amended to include Al. His mother Jean served as a trustee at CST and is the namesake for the School’s Wickett Lecture.
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett is the proud mother of two adult children – Ben, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California (USC); and Rachel, who holds a master’s degree from the USC School of Social Work and with her husband Elliott have three young sons.
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