Dr. Joel C. Hunter will be the 2011 commencement speaker at the Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 7, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the 4,400-seat auditorium of the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY.
Dr. Hunter is the senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, FL. He is an internationally known spokesperson for "compassion issues" outlined in Scripture: sanctity of life, creation care, justice, poverty, and marriage and the family, and has been featured in national publications including, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He is frequently interviewed on NPT, CNN, and PBS.
During Dr. Hunter's tenure at Northland, which began in 1985, the church has grown from 200 faithful souls to a congregation of 15,000 that worships at three sites around Metro Orlando and around the world via interactive Webcast. Congregants take leadership of nearly every ministry effort inside the church, out in the community, and around the world as Dr. Hunter encourages Northlanders: "Do what you can, where you are, with what you've got."
Before bringing his family to Northland, Dr. Hunter served as a United Methodist pastor for 15 years in Indiana. He and his wife, Becky, have been partners in the ministry since their marriage in 1972. Becky is the former president of the Global Pastors Wives Network and the author of two books on marriage and family. The Hunters are parents to three married sons: Joshua, CEO of Hunter Vision; Isaac, senior pastor of Summit Church's multi-site congregation of more than 4,000 in Orlando; and Joel, an ophthalmic surgeon. The Hunters have six grandchildren: Noah, Jada, Ella, Lincoln, Luke, and Ava, who moved to heaven on September 4, 2010, at the age of 5.
Cooperation and partnership are hallmarks of Dr. Hunter's ministry. Together, he believes, we can accomplish more because of our differences than we would on our own--without giving up our unique identities. A respected leader in the Evangelical community, he serves on the board of the World Evangelical Alliance (420 million constituents) and the National Association of Evangelicals (30 million members).
Dr. Hunter served in the inaugural year on the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which advises President Barack Obama on substantive policy issues, including interfaith relations, strengthening the role of fathers in society and reducing the number of abortions. He continues as a spiritual advisor to the President.
Dr. Hunter is the author of several books, including A New Kind of Conservative (Regal Books), which outlines a non-partisan approach to political involvement.