Mars Hill University presented its 2017 Baptist Heritage Award to Rev. Worth Emory of Weaverville, North Carolina, pastor of Ivy Hill Baptist Church. The award was presented April 25, 2017, at the 17th annual North Carolina Baptist Heritage Awards ceremony in Greensboro. The awards are co-sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the North Carolina Baptist Foundation.
Emory is a bi-vocational pastor. A carpenter by trade, he has pastored the Ivy Hill congregation for 50 years. This year marks the 37th consecutive year that Ivy Hill Baptist Church has made a mission trip to Honduras. Other destinations for Ivy Hill teams have included Venezuela, Nicaragua, Canada, and the American far west. Rev. Emory himself made trips for 30 years before bypass surgery limited such travel.
Mars Hill University also has been the honored recipient of Rev. Emory's gracious spirit and his commitment to Jesus' command "to love others as I have loved you." Through the years, Mars Hill students have participated in many Ivy Hill mission trips, and ministerial students have been encouraged to preach at the church.
Despite the fact that he is not an alumnus (though his three daughters are Mars Hill graduates), Rev. Emory's association with the university is longstanding. It dates back to an early relationship he had with Mars Hill graduate Dr. John McGee, a missionary to Nigeria. Dr. McGee encouraged Emory to "claim" an education despite his lack of formal training. He has done just that, taking dozens of seminary extension classes and forging relationships with Mars Hill presidents, faculty, and staff through the years.