People of Faith: Feb. 3, 2017

Burns, Gill, Lemmer to receive Steel-Hendrix Awards

Cindy Burns

Cindy Burns, the Rev. David Gill and Christy Lemmer will be honored by the Marshall T. Steel Center Tuesday, April 25, at the 32nd annual Steel-Hendrix Award banquet, held in the Student Life and Technology Center at Hendrix College in Conway.

Burns will receive the Mary and Ira Brumley award for Religious Education. She has been a member of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church since relocating to Little Rock in Sept. 1985, and has been on staff at Pulaski Heights UMC since June of 2000. She has worked in adult education, missions, evangelism and assimilation. Since June of 2008, Burns has served as director of ministries with children and families.

David Gill

Gill will receive the Ethel K. Millar Award of Religion and Social Awareness. He served churches in rural Indiana for seven years and also lived in Christian community in Boston. He has taken youth groups to Heifer Ranch for summer mission trips and then was invited to join the staff of Heifer, where he served 12 years as their director of church relations and grants. In 1997, he became executive director of Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center. He helped start a Solar School that has graduated 13 classes of students who have installed more than 60 solar power projects in Haiti.

Christy Lemmer

Lemmer, the ministry program director at First United Methodist Church Morrilton, will receive the Hendrix College Youth Director of the Year award. She attended Henderson State University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she studied early childhood education. She is currently a certified Lay Servant in the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available by advance purchase through April 20; contact the Hendrix’s chaplain’s office for more information at 501-450-1263 or

The annual Willson Lecture will follow the Steel-Hendrix banquet; this year’s lecturer is Dr. Amy-Jill Levine. Levine is the University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhoades and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. She will speak in the Mills A lecture hall at 7 p.m., and the lecture is free and open to the public.


18 from Arkansas attend Convocation for Pastors of Black Churches

The 10th Convocation of Pastors of Black Churches was held in Atlanta Jan. 10-12, 2017 and included 18 clergy and laity from the Arkansas Conference among the more than 500 participants. Chaired by the Rev. Vance P. Ross, who encouraged attendees to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the event’s theme was “Called to Fresh Vision.”

The preaching, teaching and music was inspired by the traditions of the Black Church and included influences of the Afro-Caribbean and other diasporic cultural underpinnings. The overarching theological focus rested on Revelation 21:1-5 and Habakkuk 2:1-3, and activities included mentoring sessions for young persons entering the ministry, as well as workshops for more seasoned lay and clergy. A highly popular segment was “Inside the Pastor’s Studio” modeled after Inside the Actor’s Studio with Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of Windsor Village UMC Houston, Texas. Caldwell shared things that he anguished over as well as those things that brought him joy.

Plenaries included Pastor Vision, Worship, and A Vision for Discipleship Development. Featured preachers included Bishop Sharma Lewis, the Rev. Benjamin Kevin Smalls and the Rev. Jasmine Smothers. The event included opening communion with the Ebony Bishops, and a remembrance of baptism for the closing worship led by the Rev. Rose Booker Jones.