The Marshall T. Steel Center will honor three extraordinary church and community leaders at the 35th Annual Steel-Hendrix Award banquet on Monday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m., in Worsham Performance Hall in the Student Life and Technology Center, Hendrix College.
Tickets for the banquet cost $25 through Monday, February 24.
2020 Steel-Hendrix Award Winners
Mary and Ira Brumley award for Religious Education —
is a retired public educator with a passion for teaching and spending time with
students. As a teacher and administrator in the Pulaski County Special School
District (16 years) and the Little Rock School District (21 years), her roles
included junior high school science teacher for both districts and supervisor
for Gifted Education Programs for LRSD. She also has served as an adjunct
faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a scholastic
auditor for the Arkansas Department of Education.
received a Bachelor of Science degree from Philander Smith College (where she
has since received a Living Legends Award) and a Master of Education degree and
supervision certification from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her honors
as an educator include an LRSD Superintendent’s Citation; LRAEOP Administrator of
the Year; College Board Southwest Region Award for Advanced Placement; Arkansas
Association Gifted Education Administrator of the Year; and recognition by
Governor Mike Huckabee as an Outstanding Arkansas Educator. In addition, the
Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy has recognized her and her husband for
visionary leadership in pipeline program development.
Methodist, her activities in the church have included Sunday school teacher,
financial steward, communion steward, United Methodist Women, pastor parish relations
chair, nurture and membership committee, worship committee, and finance
committee. Presently she serves on the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas
Board of Directors, Arkansas Conference Episcopacy Committee, the Central
District Superintendency Committee, alternate member to the Arkansas Annual
Conference, and scholarship committee member for the Dollars for Scholars Program
at Wesley UMC Little Rock.
Donaldson has served
as president of the Arkansas Association for Gifted Education Administrators
(AAGEA); on the board of directors for Arkansans for Gifted and Talented
Education (AGATE) and Arkansas Association Education Administrators (AAEA); and
as a member of teachers associations for PCSSD and LRSD as well as the Arkansas
Education Association. Donaldson enjoys participating in the Little Rock Chapter
of The Links, Incorporated, which she has done for 16 years. She also serves as
second vice president for the Alpha Mu Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International
Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness —
Rev. Paul Atkins
deacon serving Canvas Community United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Paul
Atkins is the son and grandson of life-long Methodists. He grew up in Little
Rock and Benton and participated in the life of his local church through youth
group, mission trips, and church camp. In college, he studied bassoon
performance at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he met his wife,
Julie. They married in 1998, half-way through his masters in music at the
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. After two years in New Jersey as a
freelance bassoonist, Atkins returned to Central Arkansas in 2001 to work as a
church music director. When that position ended, he joined his father in the
insurance business while continuing part-time in music ministry and exploring
his call to ordained ministry. While attending Memphis Theological Seminary,
his experience volunteering at a ministry with people experiencing homelessness
knocked him off his intended path back to music ministry. His family (including
daughter Elizabeth, born in 2008) moved to Little Rock to do church differently,
where they connected with Canvas Community in 2011.
At Canvas, Atkins
has developed relationships with his friends experiencing homelessness and
tried to find ways to connect them with the rest of Canvas and the wider
church. When his friends go to jail for various reasons, Paul visits them and
has organized a monthly note-writing ministry. He has led Bible studies trying
to draw together people from different backgrounds. This past April, Canvas and
the City of Little Rock piloted a program called Bridge to Work, which offers
people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to work picking up trash
around the city as well as get connected with services to help them get to
their next step. Hundreds have participated in the program and been able to
earn a day’s pay, get identification documents, access to health insurance and
health and job search services, and some have found permanent jobs. Overall,
Paul believes God is calling rich people and poor people to know and care about
each other and to live into God’s web of loving kindness where all are family.
Hendrix College Youth Minister of the Year — Virginia Brown
A White County
native, Virginia Brown is the current director of youth ministries at First
United Methodist Church of Beebe, Ark. She has been a United Methodist her
entire life, and graduated from Searcy High School while being an active youth
group member at St. Paul United Methodist Church. St. Paul is also where she
got her start in youth ministry, as an intern straight out of high school.
for two years in Searcy, Brown began her first part-time youth ministry job at
First United Methodist Church of Pocahontas. To finish her degree in Recreation
and Parks Management, she transferred to Southeast Missouri State University;
while completing her degree, she also interned for two years at Centenary
United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, Mo. During summers, she worked at
Beartooth Christian Camp in Fishtail, Mont., first as a counselor and then as
the assistant program director. While still in Montana, she accepted the
position at First United Methodist Church of Beebe, where she has now been for
5 ½ years.
For the past year
and a half, Brown also has attended seminary full-time at Memphis Theological
Seminary. Her dreams include becoming an ordained Elder in the United Methodist
Church. She enjoys spending time outdoors, and would like to use her passion
for experiencing God through creation as a way to reach not only young people,
but also entire families.
Online registration is available
here; fees do apply.
To pay by check please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks can be mailed to:
Attn: Chaplain's office
1600 Washington Ave.
Conway, AR 72032