The Rev. Keary C. Kincannon, founding pastor, Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in Lee District, was named a recipient of the Society of John Wesley Award of Merit during graduation ceremonies for Wesley Theological Seminary at the National Cathedral on May 7.
Each May the seminary presents the award "to one or more individuals who exemplify a high standard of commitment and devotion to God, the Church and Wesley Theological Seminary" through their sacrificial leadership. Recipients are Wesley Theological Seminary graduates nominated and selected by fellow graduates.
Chartered in 1996, Rising Hope ministers to the spiritual and practical needs of the "most at-risk people on the Route 1 corridor. Church members come from all walks of life including many homeless and destitute individuals and families," the seminary noted in making the award.
"Keary Kincannon has had a dramatic impact on the Route 1 corridor. He's touched the lives of the people who came to him in need as well as those who came to Rising Hope wanting to be a part of this movement," said the Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president, Wesley Theological Seminary.
"Keary is one of the most amazing servants of Christ and the Church. The time I spent at Rising Hope forever changed my life and ministry," said the Rev. Laura Beaver Hamrick of Moorehead, N.C., who nominated Kincannon for the award. She became familiar with Kincannon's work when she completed her seminary field-placement internship at his church.
Wesley presented the award to Kincannon and the Rev. Kenneth Arthur, former director, United Methodist Home for Children in Pennsylvania. Kincannon graduate with his master of divinity degree from the Seminary in 1981.
HE FOUNDED Rising Hope to minister to "the least, last, lost, lonely, and those left out of mainstream society." He has supported Wesley Theological Seminary by serving as a seminar leader for the school's field-placement program. He has also been field-education supervisor for five Wesley interns placed at Rising Hope.
For the past two years, Kincannon has served on the Urban Ministry Task Force with other professionals to help shape the program at Wesley to equip pastors for the urban ministry. "The thing that's so exciting about being involved with the urban ministry is that it is following in the footsteps of the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley," Kincannon said.
"I was very honored by the award. This is the highest honor the seminary can bestow," he said.
"But, the honor is far from being all mine. It's because of all the work we, all of our staff and volunteers, are doing at Rising Hope that this honor was given," he said.
My entire family was there and it was very exciting for them, particularly since my grandfather graduated from the predecessor institution to Wesley Seminary. It was a very good day," Kincannon said.
Wesley Theological Seminary is one of the largest and most diverse seminaries in the world. Located at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues in the District of Columbia, it attracts more than 1,500 individuals to its classes each year. The majority of its students are enrolled in the master of divinity program in response to a call to ordained ministry.