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2019 Willson Lecture and Steel-Hendrix Awards set for April 1 and 2

2019 Steel-Hendrix Willson lecturer McKenzie.jpg(1)CONWAY, Ark. (October 19, 2018) – Two annual events to enrich and celebrate leadership in ministry, the Willson Lecture and the Steel-Hendrix Awards, have been set for April 1 and 2, 2019, at Hendrix College.

The Rev. Dr. Alyce McKenzie, an author, ordained United Methodist elder, and professor of preaching and director of the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, will deliver the 2019 Willson Lecture as part of a worship service in Greene Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 1. The service and lecture are free and open to the public. 

McKenzie joined the faculty at Perkins in 2000, and in the spring of 2011 was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, SMU’s highest teaching honor. She served as president of the Academy of Homiletics in 2012, and in 2015 she delivered the Beecher Lectures at Yale Divinity School, the longest-standing homiletical lectureship in the U.S., begun by Lyman Beecher in 1871. In addition to her roles at Perkins, McKenzie currently serves as “preacher-in-residence” at Christ United Methodist Church, a 6,000-member congregation in Plano, Texas, where she preaches monthly and works as preaching coach to their clergy staff. One of her passions is helping younger preachers gain competence and confidence in their vocation of sharing God’s Word. She frequently guest teaches and preaches at various lay and clergy gatherings, and consults with groups of clergy around the country on creating initiatives to foster preaching excellence.  

In addition to delivering the Willson Lecture on Monday, McKenzie will lead the annual John and Marjem Gill Preaching Workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 2. The topic, “Making a Scene in the Pulpit: Vivid Preaching for Visual Listeners,” is also the title of her latest book, published by Westminster John Knox Press. The cost for participants is $35 and includes lunch in the dining hall. For details, visit

Also on April 2, the Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy will honor three extraordinary church and community leaders at the 34th Annual Steel-Hendrix Awards Banquet, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Student life and Technology Center’s Worsham Student Performance Hall North. Tickets for the banquet cost $25 and are available through March 25. Visit for details.

2019 Steel-Hendrix honorees Kirk Waddell Bryant-Moore.jpgThe 2019 Steel-Hendrix Award honorees are:

Michelle Kirk – Hendrix College Youth Minister of the Year

Michelle Kirk grew up in central Arkansas, graduating first from Vilonia High School and later from Baptist School of Radiography, which launched her career as an ultrasound technologist. She has been a faithful member of Greenbrier First United Methodist Church since joining the congregation with her family in 2002. In 2008, after serving for four years in the children’s ministry there, she began to feel a call into ministry with youth. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that she began to serve in the youth ministry. 

After 6 ½ years as a volunteer youth director, Kirk accepted a part-time position as the church’s Director of Youth Ministries. She continues to work part-time as an ultrasound technologist at Surgical Associates of Conway, but is quick to say that youth ministry is where her heart is. She has attended Perkins School of Youth Ministry for the last three years and is pursuing certification in youth ministry through that program. In addition to her work in the local church, she serves on the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministries Adult Resource Team, the Arkansas Conference Youth Ministry Resource Team, and as an adult co-leader of the Central District Council on Youth Ministries.

William A. “Bill” Waddell, Jr.The Mary and Ira Brumley Award for Religious Education

A native of West Helena, Arkansas, Bill Waddell graduated from the University of Central Arkansas summa cum laude in 1978 with degrees in history and Spanish. After studying Spanish literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, and teaching Spanish for two years, Waddell attended the UALR Bowen School of Law and received his juris doctor degree in 1984. He has practiced law with Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP since 1984 and currently serves as the practice group leader for the Commercial Litigation & Regulation Practice Group. A former chancellor of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, he serves as the legal advisor to the denomination’s Council of Bishops, and is a member of St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, where he currently serves as lay leader.

Waddell is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has served as chair of the Financial Services Committee and the Legal Services Committee of the Arkansas Bar Association, and is chair of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission’s Pro Bono Committee. He is also the president of the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation. In 2013, he received the Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award and the Philander Smith College Living Legend Award for his social justice work; and in 2014, the Father Joseph Biltz Award from Just Communities of Arkansas in recognition of his efforts to provide equal access to the legal system for those who are poor or otherwise marginalized. In 2017, he received the American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award and the Arkansas Bar Foundation Outstanding Lawyer Award.

Dr. Keneshia Bryant-MooreThe Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness

Dr. Keneshia Bryant-Moore is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Bryant-Moore has been a nurse for nearly 20 years, providing direct patient care, health education, program planning, and implementation. As a health disparities researcher, she has extensive training and experience in community-based participatory research (CBPR), with particular focus on health disparities and inequities experienced by minority racial/ethnic groups and vulnerable populations. She co-directs the Community Engagement and Dissemination Core of the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities (ARCHD), which is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). She has been awarded contracts from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to foster long-term engagement in research with the faith community, and to support research dissemination, training, and a platform to generate new research ideas. She has led the development of the Faith-Academic Initiative for Transforming Health (FAITH) Network. Through engagement with the faith community, she works to address the health and social needs of diverse groups of vulnerable populations, including pregnant women facing housing insecurity.

Bryant-Moore received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Michigan-Flint; her Master of Science in Nursing from Duke University; and her Ph.D. in Nursing from Azusa Pacific University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, American Public Health Association, and the Little Rock Black Nurses Association of Arkansas (LRBNAA), and she is a lifetime member of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). She serves on the board of directors for the Arkansas Birthing Project, Immerse Arkansas, and the Arkansas Center for Nursing.

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 are made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Jim Willson, who 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