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Union to honor Rainer during SBC annual meeting

JACKSON, Tenn.June 3, 2008 – Union University will host an exhibit and a dessert reception for alumni and friends during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Indianapolis June 9-11.

The dessert reception is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10, at 8:30 p.m. in Ballrooms E-G on the “I” level of the Marriott hotel, which is across the street from the Indianapolis Convention Center and is the official convention hotel.

During the reception, Union President David S. Dockery will present the M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award to Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

The M.E. Dodd award is given annually to a leader within the Southern Baptist Convention who displays excellence and leadership in Southern Baptist life, as well as friendship and commitment to Union University. Past recipients include Jimmy Draper (2004), Adrian Rogers (2005), Morris Chapman (2006) and Frank Page (2007).

“Thom Rainer is a gift from God to the Southern Baptist Convention,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “I have known Thom for well over 20 years and have watched his remarkable leadership on display in the context of local church pastor, as a seminary dean and now as president of LifeWay Christian Resources.”

Dockery said Rainer’s abilities as a leader, thinker, writer and preacher of the gospel are well known, and that his insights into such areas as church health, church growth, evangelism and missions are at the forefront of Southern Baptist life.

“Above all, Thom Rainer is a wonderful husband to Nellie Jo, father to their three sons, and friend to many,” Dockery said. “His genuineness, his godliness, his character and his integrity are commendable in every way.”

Dockery also pointed to Rainer’s leadership in February, when LifeWay was the first Baptist entity to respond following the tornado that massively damaged the Union campus. LifeWay contributed $350,000 to Union’s disaster relief efforts.

“For all of these things, plus his superb spirit of collaboration and cooperation evident across our Southern Baptist Convention, it is our great privilege to recognize Dr. Rainer with Union’s highest denominational service award for 2008,” Dockery said.

Union also will host an exhibit at the Indianapolis Convention Center during the annual meeting. Complimentary dessert reception tickets, enrollment information and representatives from faculty and staff will be available at the exhibit from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday, June 9, and Tuesday, June 10. Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11.

Dockery will sign copies of his new book, “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal” at the LifeWay Christian Store in the exhibit hall from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, June 9. Dockery will also address the entire convention at 3:25 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10.

Tim Ellsworth, Union’s director of news and media relations, will sign copies of his new book, “God in the Whirlwind,” on Tuesday, June 10, from 1-2 p.m. at the LifeWay store.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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