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GCAH Recognizes Distinguished Service Award Winners

Featured GCAH Recognizes Distinguished Service Award Winners

The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) was pleased to award the 2017 Distinguished Service Awards to Dr. Jerry Gill and Dr. Paul McCleary at their recent annual meeting. The award service was attended by GCAH’s board members, invited guests from Drew University, honorees’ family members, and staff.

Spurred by the “Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples” at the 2012 General Conference, Dr. Gill set out to create a way for others to understand the history behind the need for such an act. He accomplished this through his outstanding efforts to collect the oral histories of Native Americans in Oklahoma. His work resulted in the production of the video documentary, "Who Is My Neighbor?  Native American Methodism in Oklahoma." 

Gill is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he earned his BA, MA and PhD in history. He served in administrative and external relations positions at Oklahoma State University for 34 years; the final 23 years as President & CEO of the OSU Alumni Association. 

Dr. Gill served on the Oklahoma Conference Commission on Archives & History (CAH), 2008-2016; Chair 2008-2012.  During his time with the Oklahoma CAH, he helped oversee an oral history initiative.  Gill purchased video equipment, hosted training seminars for local church history interviewers, and placed those oral histories in the conference archives. Other initiatives include researching the history of First United Methodist Church, Stillwater, for a special recognition event commemorating the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1889. He conducted interviews with church members and organized the 125th anniversary program for First Church, with the sermon delivered by Bishop Robert E. Hays. He wrote the supporting documentation for petition that was approved by the Oklahoma CAH and Annual Conference for recognition of First Church as a Conference Historic Site. He organized the community-wide event to celebrate First Church's recognition as a Conference Historical Site and to unveil the Historic Site plaque permanently mounted at the entrance to the sanctuary.

Dr. Gill is a Fellow of the Society of John Wesley, the OSU Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, and recipient of the True and Loyal Award—a recognition from the president of OSU for career service to the University. 

Dr. McCleary was honored for his work with the World Council of Churches, on the EUB Methodist Merger in 1968, and for his teaching and writing in the field of Methodist Church polity and governance.

McCleary is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL. Paul served student appointments in the Central Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church before leaving for Bolivia where he served as pastor, District Superintendent and Executive Secretary of the Annual Conference. He has served denominational posts as Executive Secretary of the Structure Study Commission of the General Conference, Assistant General Secretary for Latin America of the General Board of Global Ministries, Associate General Secretary of the General Council on Ministries, and as Executive Director of Church World Service of the NCCC. For several years he served with non-governmental organizations such as Save the Children, Christian Children's Fund and Feed the Children. He served as President of the NGO Committee to UNICEF and Chair of the Board of InterAction. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the Latin American Development Bank. McCleary has served on committees of the World Council of Churches and for eight years as an advisor to the Bishops' Task Force on Children and Poverty of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. He is the author of several books, studies, and monograms.