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2018 Steel-Hendrix Awards and Willson Lecture set for March 12


CONWAY, Ark. (December 11, 2017) – The Marshall T. Steel Center will honor three extraordinary church and community leaders at the 33rd Annual Steel-Hendrix Awards banquet on Monday, March 12, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Student life and Technology Center’s Worsham Performance Hall North.

Teresa Fry BrownThe banquet and lecture are sponsored by the Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy and the Office of the Chaplain. Tickets for the banquet cost $25 and are available through March 2, 2018. For more information or to purchase banquet tickets, visit  

The annual Willson Lecture follows the banquet, and is free and open to the public. This year’s guest lecturer is Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, who is the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology. An ordained Itinerant Elder, she is the fourteenth Historiographer, Editor of the A.M.E. Review and is the Executive Director of Research and Scholarship for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She earned her Ph.D. in Religious and Theological Studies from Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Religion and Social Transformation. Her Master of Divinity degree is from Iliff School of Theology, and she also holds a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. She is the author of five books, including Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body and Animation in Proclamation (Fortress Press, 2008), and of numerous articles and chapters in edited publications.

The Willson Lecture will take place in the context of a worship service at 7 p.m. in Worsham Hall South.

While visiting Hendrix, Fry Brown also will lead a preaching workshop on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Worsham Hall North.

The 2018 Steel-Hendrix Award honorees include:

Rev. Ronnie Miller-YowThe Mary and Ira Brumley award for Religious Education  

A native of Dallas, Texas, the Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow serves as senior pastor at Little Rock’s Wesley Chapel and Duncan United Methodist Churches. In addition, he is Chaplain and Dean of Religious Life and Campus Culture at Philander Smith College, located next to Wesley Chapel. Educated at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Yow began his career teaching elementary school, but discerned the calling to preach the Gospel and began teaching a different audience. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Membership at Wesley Chapel has grown considerably since Yow arrived, with Philander Smith students taking active roles in leadership and participation. In 2015, Yow became director of the newly-established South Little Rock Teaching Parish, under which Wesley Chapel, Duncan, and White Memorial UMCs work with Philander Smith College to provide mentoring and practical experience opportunities for young people considering a call to ministry.

Rev. Maxine AllenThe Ethel K. Millar Award of Religion and Social Awareness

The Rev. Maxine Allen is the Arkansas Conference UMC’s Associate Director of Ministries for Mission Field Engagement. The first African-American woman to be ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church in Arkansas, she has worked extensively for social justice in her local community and globally for women, children, and the poor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from Philander Smith College, and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center’s Gammon Seminary, where in 2008 she was named Alumna of the Year. Her social advocacy spans five decades, beginning with “Sing Out America,” a performance group that contained youth of all cultures at a time when interracial groups remained prohibited in many places. She was a founding member of the Sojourner Truth Players, a Black community theater group in Fort Worth, Texas. Moving home to Arkansas, Allen became one of the first on-air personalities at KABF Community Radio, providing children’s and public affairs programming. She was instrumental in founding the first battered women’s shelter in Arkansas (now Women and Children First) and helped to successfully lobby the legislature to adopt stronger domestic violence laws. She served as founding executive director of Second Genesis, a transitional home for women coming from prison. She now serves on the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission; the Arkansas Women’s Project Leadership Team; is the first woman to serve as President of the Little Rock Christian Ministerial Alliance; and is a member of the Gammon Seminary Board of Trustees. Within the UMC, she chaired the first Commission on the Status and Role of Women in Arkansas and the Commission on Religion and Race; served as campus minister at UA Little Rock and Dean of the Chapel at Philander Smith College; and as statewide disaster response coordinator.

Amy Bennett ShoresHendrix College Youth Minister of the Year

Amy Bennett Shores grew up in Haughton, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana College in Pineville, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, and went on to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity. After working in college and youth ministry in Louisiana and Georgia, Amy moved to Arkansas to be closer to family, and spent a few years working as the Associate Director for Habitat for Humanity of Saline County. She now serves as the Minister of Youth and Young Adults at Asbury UMC in Little Rock. In addition to serving at Asbury, Amy is a volunteer for Ozark Mission Project, and serves on the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministries Adult Resource Team, the Junior and Senior High Assembly Task Force, and the Hendrix Youth Institute Advisory Board.  

About Steel-Hendrix

In 1984, Hendrix College inaugurated the annual Steel-Hendrix Award Lectureship to celebrate 100 years of its official relationship with the United Methodist Church. The award was named in honor of Marshall T. Steel, a prominent minister and former president of the college.

About the Willson Lectures

The Willson Lectures were established at Hendrix in 1956 for the purpose of bringing outstanding speakers to discuss spiritual values, sound family relations and vital issues confronting the world today. The Willson Lectures were made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Jim Willson. They have established lectureships at 23 United Methodist colleges nationwide.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit