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Thornburys return for campus farewell

Union faculty and staff members gather in prayer around Greg and Kimberly Thornbury during a Sept. 3 dinner. Greg Thornbury, president of The King's College in New York, spoke in a Union chapel service Sept. 4. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Union faculty and staff members gather in prayer around Greg and Kimberly Thornbury during a Sept. 3 dinner. Greg Thornbury, president of The King's College in New York, spoke in a Union chapel service Sept. 4. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

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JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 4, 2013 – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.

Greg, the former dean of the School of Theology and Missions, became the president of The King’s College in New York City July 9 after he and Kimberly served 15 years at Union. Kimberly transitioned from being Union’s senior vice president for student services and dean of students to The King’s College’s first lady and special assistant to the president for strategic planning.

The couple and their two children moved to New York before Union’s fall semester began, but the family returned to Jackson to visit campus once again.

“I want to say to you that I’m very sorry how we left under total cover of darkness,” Greg told chapel attendees during a service he led Sept. 4 at the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel. “It was like the rapture happened and the only people taken were the Thornburys.”

Wearing his classic bowtie, Greg encouraged chapel attendees not to live in fear, as he referred to the despair the Israelites expressed when Pharaoh’s army drew near.

Realizing that people can do nothing to save themselves is the first step to confronting fear, Greg said. Having faith that God will fight the battle is the next step.

“Only if you walk in faith will you be able to show the world that you are truly alive,” Greg said. “I was here 15 years, and at the very end of it all, I have nothing better to say to you than look to Christ.”

After the service, Greg and Kimberly welcomed hoards of students, faculty and friends at the Carl Grant Events Center. The line that attendees formed stretched halfway across the ballroom, through the hallway and to the building’s front entrance.

Amanda Bennett, a Union alumna and philosophy graduate, said Greg not only helped give her a vision for her career but also had a major impact on how students interacted with one another.

Greg and Kimberly also intentionally carved time of out their schedules for students, Bennett said, as the couple not only remembered students’ names but also formed friendships with them.

“I think Greg Thornbury had a huge influence on the attitude and culture on the campus, even in the chapel addresses,” Bennett said. “He was cool and hip while being academically rigorous, and he was a good intellectual example for all of us.”

Ashley Blair, an assistant professor of communication arts, said she raised her children alongside Kimberly and spent hours with her during the 2008 tornado that ravaged campus – experiences that resulted in a strong friendship with the Thornbury family. Becoming a Union employee the same year as the Thornburys, Blair noted that Kimberly set the tone for a grace-filled community at Union while Greg ensured campus theological discussions were handled “in a very solidarity-based kind of way.”

“The Thornburys have been very dear and wonderful friends, both professionally and personally,” Blair said. “But beyond Dr. Dockery, there is no one who has had more impact on the day-to-day culture of Union in the past 15 years than the Thornburys because of who they are and because of their responsibilities.”

The night before the chapel service, Union administrators, faculty members in the School of Theology and Missions and staff members in student services dined with the Thornburys at the Doubletree hotel in Jackson. Among the gifts the university presented to the Thornburys were a drawing of Union’s Miller Tower and a framed copy of a 1960 Christianity Today article by theologian Carl F.H. Henry, entitled “Do We Need a Christian University?”

Audio from Greg Thornbury's chapel address is available at www.uu.edu/audio/detail.cfm?ID=722.

By Beth Byrd

 

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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.   Many friends of Greg and Kimberly gathered at the Double Tree to say farewell to these friends of Union.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Many friends of Greg and Kimberly gathered at the Double Tree to say farewell to these friends of Union. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Carla Sanderson prays with Greg and Kimberly before dinner at the Double Tree hotel in Jackson, TN.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Carla Sanderson prays with Greg and Kimberly before dinner at the Double Tree hotel in Jackson, TN. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Kimberly Thornbury visits with friends Bryan Carrier and Joy Moore at the farewell dinner.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Kimberly Thornbury visits with friends Bryan Carrier and Joy Moore at the farewell dinner. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Ray Van Neste takes a photo of Greg and Kimberly with his I-Pad.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Ray Van Neste takes a photo of Greg and Kimberly with his I-Pad. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg Thornbury tells friends and former co-workers of his love and admiration for David Dockery. Dockery is the model for a true leader.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg Thornbury tells friends and former co-workers of his love and admiration for David Dockery. Dockery is the model for a true leader. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.   Greg shows one of the gifts given him by former co-workers.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg shows one of the gifts given him by former co-workers. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Fun times during Jim Patterson's presentation.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Fun times during Jim Patterson's presentation. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. –  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Kimberly express her thanks to all the friends at the dinner.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Kimberly express her thanks to all the friends at the dinner. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Greg's co-workers present a gift at the farewell dinner.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg's co-workers present a gift at the farewell dinner. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Greg's former co-workers presented Greg with a mounted article in Christianity Today about the need for a Christian Institution of higher learning in New York City.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg's former co-workers presented Greg with a mounted article in Christianity Today about the need for a Christian Institution of higher learning in New York City. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Jim Patterson concludes his remarks at the farewell dinner.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Jim Patterson concludes his remarks at the farewell dinner. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury react to a fun gift at the farewell dinner.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury react to a fun gift at the farewell dinner. - Morris Abernathy
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9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn.  Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg and Kimberly say thank you for the wonderful evening.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg and Kimberly say thank you for the wonderful evening. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 4, 2013– Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower.   Friends and former co-workers lay hands on Greg and kimberly while Todd Brady prays for them as they move into their new responsibilities at The Kings College in New York City.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 4, 2013– Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower. Friends and former co-workers lay hands on Greg and kimberly while Todd Brady prays for them as they move into their new responsibilities at The Kings College in New York City. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.  Group shot with friends from Union University.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Group shot with friends from Union University. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York.   Greg gathers with good Union friends.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. – Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. Greg gathers with good Union friends. - Morris Abernathy
Large | X-Large
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower.  Greg  addresses the chapel service at Union University.
9/4/13 - JACKSON, Tenn. Greg and Kimberly Thornbury returned to Union University’s campus Sept. 3-4 for a final farewell to the Union community as the couple launch new ministries in New York. David Dockery presents an artist rendition of Miller Tower. Greg addresses the chapel service at Union University. - Morris Abernathy

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

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