The 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award, presented annually in recognition of outstanding leadership and service, was awarded to L. Elbert Wethington D’46, G’49 at the annual alumni homecoming luncheon Oct. 11.
A former missionary and seminary professor, Wethington spent 25 years guiding the Wesley Heritage Foundation in the execution of the Wesley Heritage Project—the translation, publication, and distribution of the works of John Wesley. This 14-volume work, known as Obras de Wesley, has been distributed to pastors throughout Latin America and the United States. He retired from this work as the first president of the Wesley Heritage Foundation in 2005.
From 1954 to 1963 he and his wife, Lois, served in the Philippines under the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church. He taught theology at Union Theological Seminary in Manila and assisted with the formation of a new congregation. He also taught at Duke Divinity School in the late 1950s and was involved in the establishment of Methodist College (now Methodist University) in Fayetteville, N.C.
After returning to the United States in 1963, Wethington taught in and chaired the department of religion at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., until his retirement in 1983.
Obras de Wesley is “a key that, potentially, may open the Wesleyan heritage to any candidate among the more than 300 million Spanish-speaking people in the Americas and in other places of the world,” said Scott M. Rimer D’93, chair of the award selection committee, quoting Dr. Mortimer Arias, whose keynote address at the Global Consultation on the Impact of Obras de Wesley underscored the importance of this work: “Because of this major undertaking, … John Wesley … is right now speaking and preaching in Spanish of the 21st century, and in many parts of the world.”