In October, Princeton Seminary named two of its graduates as 2011 Distinguished Alumni. DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr., Class of 1989, and Hughes Oliphant Old, Class of 1958, were honored during the annual reunion banquet on October 24.
Soaries is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and a pioneer in the work of faith-based community development, including the establishment of a housing assistance recovery program that purchases homes of families facing foreclosure and leases them back to homeowners. Soaries was also recognized for his work in developing the dfreeTM strategy, which teaches and encourages debt-free living. DfreeTM was featured on CNN’s Black in America documentary series. Soaries also wrote a book about the strategy, which teaches people to live within their means without debt, deficits, and delinquencies.
Soaries was New Jersey’s secretary of state from 1999 to 2001, the first African American to serve as a constitutional officer of the state.
President Torrance told Soaries that Princeton was grateful for his “faith in and obedience to Christ’s command to love one’s neighbor as the foundation of his ministry.”
Old was recognized for his lifetime commitment as a pastor, teacher, and scholar committed to the centrality of preaching, prayer, and sacrament in Reformed worship, and how worship shapes and grounds the Christian life and the vitality of the church. His career culminated in the publication of a seven-volume work, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church. Torrance said that Old “single-handedly gathered comprehensive information about the Reformed tradition with tremendous enthusiasm.”
Old was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Liturgics at the Calvin 500 Commemoration in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 2009. He is currently dean of the Institute of Reformed Worship at Erskine Theological Seminary.