Skip to content

Spectrum Editor Wins Award for Excellence


The following is the press release from the Charles E. Weniger Society.

LOMA LINDA, Calif. — Three individuals, noted for their work in journalism, music and research recently received one of Seventh-day Adventism’s premiere awards in recognition of their significant professional achievements and contributions to the denomination.


The Charles E. Weniger Society, during its annual meeting and awards ceremony in Loma Linda, Calif., honored Shelton Kilby III, a pianist, composer and minister, V. Bailey Gillespie, theology professor and researcher, and journalist Bonnie Dwyer.


The society held its event at the Loma Linda University Church on Jan. 19 and featured a keynote address by Kilby whose artistic collaborations include work with Edwin Hawkins, Walter and Tramaine Hawkins, The Friends of Distinction, Wintley Phipps, Patti Austin, Walter Arties, and Walter Turnbull, founder of The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem.


Kilby’s presentation for the Clinton Emmerson Annual Weniger Address, titled “Beyond Borders,” illustrated his thoughts on music and social movements. Moving from lectern to piano, he began in the Bible with the music that Moses and the Israelites sang on their journey to the Promised Land and talked of the centrality of music in the experience of a people. Variations on early Advent hymns were also demonstrated, as he showed how the music of the time influenced the music of the people.


As a film composer Kilby won an Angel Award in 1985 for the soundtrack of the NBC documentary “A Profile of Ramses.” He also collaborated with Grammy-winning record producer and arranger Mervyn Warren on the Warner Brothers recording of “Handel’s Messiah – A Soulful Celebration,” and with composer and conductor John Williams on the music for the movie “Amistad,” directed by Steven Spielberg. Having provided the music for many Seventh-day Adventist television ministries over the years, Kilby currently serves as a full-time visiting professor of music and culture, general music, and music composition at Wilberforce University in Ohio, the nation’s oldest African American university.


When news is obstructed darkness falls and anxiety grows, but when people are told of events beyond their experience it gives a sense of security, control, and confidence. So noted Dwyer, using the words of journalist and press critic Tom Rosenstiel. Dwyer, editor of contemporary issues journal Spectrum, thanked the society for recognizing the significance of independent journalism to the church community and thanked Spectrum’s web team as well as its founders for the hope they create with their work. The journal is based near Sacramento and is a publication of independent nonprofit organization Adventist Forums.


“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” Dwyer said. Her work in investigative journalism for Spectrum was also noted by former “Faith for Today” television host and Loma Linda University Church Pastor Dan Matthews and by retired physician Joan Coggin during the presentation of the awards.


In his acceptance of the Weniger award, Gillespie thanked the many students, teachers and administrators who have been involved with him in the multi-phased Value Genesis research project over 23 years, noting that a version of the study has been carried out in many of the world divisions of the church in addition to the studies in the United States. This groundbreaking analysis on the faith development of church youth has now involved more than 50,000 Adventist young people. Gillespie is also now engaged in two ongoing studies for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists examining faith, values, and commitment in church members in the North American Division. Gillespie currently serves as professor of theology and personality, and director of the John Hancock Center for Youth and Family Ministry in the H.M.S. Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University.


In addition to honoring this year’s award recipients, the society launched a new scholarship program during their meeting. Awards will be given to select students at all North American Adventist colleges.


The annual Charles Elliott Weniger awards are granted to Seventh-day Adventist educators, physicians, humanitarians and others noted for qualities of inspiration, motivation and excellence. The Weniger Society seeks to recognize persons who have portrayed character and commitment in their personal lives and professions, traits exemplified by the life and service of Weniger, a beloved teacher of research and rhetoric and dean of the SDA Theological Seminary in the 1950s.


Started in 1974 by the late Congressman Jerry Pettis, Clinton Emmerson, and John Osborn, the Weniger Society has given out more than 150 awards to Adventist luminaries. In 2012, the awards went to famed conductor laureate of the San Francisco Symphony Herbert Blomstedt,  Alcyon Fleck, co-founder of International Children’s Care, and Howard V. Gimbel, renowned ophthalmologist. Other awardees in the past have included General Conference presidents Jan Paulsen and N.C. Wilson.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.