Religious Life

33rd Annual Steel-Hendrix Banquet

The Marshall T. Steel Center will honor three extraordinary church and community leaders at the 33rd Annual Steel-Hendrix Award banquet on Monday, March 12th, in Worsham Performance Hall in the Student life and Technology Center at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets for the banquet cost $25 through Friday, March 2nd.

2017 Steel-Hendrix Award Winners 

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

Rev. Ronnie Miller Yow

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.

Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness — Rev. Maxine Allen

Maxine Allen

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. 

Hendrix College Youth Director of the Year — Amy Bennett Shores

Amy Bennett Shores

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. 


Online registration is available here, fees do apply.

To pay by check please email

Checks can be mailed to:

Hendrix College

Attn: Chaplain's office

1600 Washington Ave.

Conway, AR  72032

Willson Lecture: 

Teresa Fry BrownFollowing the Steel-Hendrix Banquet at 7:00 p.m. in Worsham South, Dr. Teresa Fry Brown will give the annual Willson Lecture. Dr. Fry Brown 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 lecture is free and open to the public.