Rev. Dr. Billy Newton
Following a career in education, chaplaincy, and nonprofit social services, Billy Newton was called and installed as pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church on August 30, 2015.
In 2013-2015, Newton assisted Highland during a transitional time for the church, while he continued at Maryville College and with community programs, serving as President of the New Opportunity School for Women Foundation in Berea, KY. For twenty years previously, he served as Chaplain and director of engaged learning at Rhodes College in Memphis and as Executive Director of The Center for Strong Communities in Maryville, TN. He has been honored with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for service and other awards in community leadership and building multicultural/multifaith relationships.
Billy attended Rhodes College and graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1986 with a Doctor of Ministry degree, where he received honors for Greek and Biblical Studies, His doctoral project focused on practical theology and peace education. He is ordained as a teaching elder and minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). The focus of his work has always been teaching, social services, and connecting colleges, churches and communities for social justice and education. Prior to his theological studies, Billy taught school, co-founded a Montessori school in urban Atlanta, and supervised the training and certification of many Montessori teachers.
He has served on staff and boards with numerous nonprofits and grassroots organizations, particularly with community education and social justice efforts in Memphis and Southern Appalachia. While in Memphis, he taught and wrote curriculum for the School of Servant Leadership and developed college-community partnerships in service-learning and leadership development. He has also led special projects with the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Memphis InterFaith Association, Heifer International, the Micah 6 Project, and with the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, NJ. For sixteen years, he was friend and pastor to many of the homeless men and women in Memphis.