2008 John Rea Thomas Award
Presbyterian Association of Specialized Pastoral Ministries (PASPM)
The John Rea Thomas Award, presented by the Presbyterian Association of Specialized Pastoral Ministries (PASPM), is given to persons, organizations, institutions or congregations that have demonstrated excellence in the fields of pastoral care and counseling.
PASPM recognizes Timothy Little, D.Min., director, Clinical Pastoral Services, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, Calif., where he has served since 1988. Timothy initiated the establishment of the accredited Clinical Pastoral Education Program. Through that program, religious leaders of all faiths receive graduate and post-graduate training in the specialty areas of spiritual care and counseling. In addition to persons with theological degrees, parish nurses, social workers, marriage family therapists and others complete that training.
He has been faithful to his sense of call to the Presbyterian Church and his family. Timothy follows in the footsteps of two family members who became Presbyterian Ministers.
He is passionate about social justice, interfaith work and multicultural concerns. As Parish Associate at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Sacramento, he is active with a variety of issues primarily related to inclusiveness of all persons: gay, straight, rich, poor, black, white, Asian, able and disabled. Westminster has made great strides in becoming a welcoming place for all persons and in reducing emotional and physical barriers to full participation.
In addition to his local involvement, Timothy has provided national leadership to the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) since becoming certified in 1966 and has served on its national and regional Accreditation Commissions. He is also a Diplomate in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), serving as national chair of its Community Mental Health Center Committee and convener of the California Coalition on Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is also certified by the Association of Mental Health Clergy. Timothy received the prestigious Anton T. Boisen Award for his many services to that organization. As a Board Certified Chaplain of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), he served on its Board of Directors and helped inaugurate and serve as the first chair of its Commission on Advocacy (Diversity), 2001-2004.
Locally he founded the Sacramento Interfaith Disability Awareness Project and has been on the board of the Central California Sierra Chapter of The Health Ministry Association.
Timothy has been involved with PHEWA since 1968 and has served in a variety of positions. Currently he serves as moderator of PASPM and since he announced that this term is his final term, PASPM wanted to honor his dedication by awarding him the John Rea Thomas Award.
The above activities and responsibilities would keep any individual busy, in addition to his primary duties as a Clinical Pastoral Educator during the past 42 years. But what is worthy of special notice is that he was born with limited vision, has never driven a car because of legal blindness and lost his last vestige of sight 17 years ago. He is a familiar sight at conferences as he touches a colleague's arm to guide him to the next meeting.
Timothy married Sandra "Sandy" Miskelly in 1958 and they have three children and seven grandchildren. Timothy and Sandy are partners in life and together they have had a life of justice making … but that’s a whole other story!