Teresa Coble Sherwood ’77, Distinguished Humanitarian
With her degree in psychology from Southwestern, Teresa Coble Sherwood ’77 has served for nearly 20 years as Director of Mission at First United Methodist Church Mansfield, where she has developed and overseen global mission and disaster response efforts around the world, as well as programs to respond to the needs of the local community.
Sherwood provides organizational leadership for Common Ground Network, a non-profit comprised of local leaders who coordinate services for vulnerable families in community; for ZOE Ministry, an orphan empowerment ministry, changing the lives of thousands of children; and for LifePoint, a school for young adults with special needs. She is also wife to Donnie Sherwood, Southwestern class of 1976, and mom to two adult children, Sam and Emily.
One of Sherwood’s friends says she is a kind, trustworthy person, who has given him very helpful counsel over the years concerning the work of Juntos Servimos in Matamoros. He also says that she is that rare person who can navigate both the colonias of Matamoros, where the poverty crushes people, and the administrative world, which does not always translate intentions to action.
One of her 20-year colleagues says Sherwood has carried Southwestern’s core values with her into the world, taking them to heart and continuing to use her education and experience to transform the world into a better place for all people. The colleague says she knows no one who respects the worth and dignity of others more than Sherwood. Through her passionate respect for diverse and sometimes struggling people, Sherwood has become engaged in the pursuit of justice and the common good for all people through a variety of local, national and international programs, events and organizations.
Sherwood is indeed a visionary leader in international relief. After traveling to Zimbabwe in 2005, her heart was stirred to make a difference and through her vision and leadership, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been provided to bring hope to AIDS orphans who are raising up their younger brothers and sisters in poverty. Those who were once starving and hopeless are now educated, self-sufficient community leaders who are transforming the lives of other orphans in their country.
As a humble, caring, compassionate, charitable, inspiring Christian leader, Sherwood is known to travel the world seeking whom she might serve and teaching others how to serve. She has a gift for looking at and pulling out the best in those that the world might otherwise see as hopeless causes.
Sherwood’s senior pastor says that she is passionate about compassion; she cares about the least, the last, and the lost in “wise and I-am-going-to-do-something-about-it ways.” When she sees a need, locally or across the globe, she works to meet it. Her key mission is to transform people, families and communities, not only by helping individuals, but also by helping to create independence, self respect, and self-sustaining communities.
While one of her long-time friends says Sherwood has a wicked sense of humor, she also says that through grace and compassion, Sherwood has touched the lives of many locally, regionally and globally. The same friend also says that she has personally benefited from Sherwood’s work toward the betterment of others.
Sherwood models for others what mission and outreach should look like. First Methodist Mansfield is a national leader in mission because, according to Sherwood’s pastor, he follows and supports her, not the other way around. He also says that Sherwood’s consistency and unwillingness to give up has set a standard for her own success and that of First Mansfield for the past 25 years.
For helping others without question, for faithfully doing God’s work around the world and in her own backyard, and for carrying her alma mater’s values into the world, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni proudly presented Teresa Coble Sherwood with the 2014 Distinguished Humanitarian Award.