North Carolina Baptist agencies honored 17 people April 23 during the 13th annual Baptist Heritage Award ceremony in Greensboro.
The annual award ceremony is co-sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of N.C. and the N.C. Baptist Foundation. It honors individuals and couples for their service to Baptist agencies.
Keynote speaker Michael Blackwell, president and CEO of Baptist Children’s Homes of N.C. for the past 30 years, described the award recipients as those with “a light in their eyes, with an energy in their bones, and with a fervor in their spirit.”
BR photo by Shawn Hendricks
Heritage Award winners pose for a photo April 23 after the banquet honoring them and their service to North Carolina Baptist entities.
“This entire room today is full of women and men with that kind of passion, with that kind of missionary spirit,” he said.
Baptist Children’s Homes
The Baptist Children’s Homes of N.C. honored Jerry A. and Evon Jordan for their financial support, dedication to ministry, and work in their community and church. Blackwell shared how the couple, members of Lakeview Baptist Church in Albemarle, have ministered to children at Mills Home and Camp Duncan.
“Whether it’s building a bath house at Camp Duncan for Girls or providing encouragement to a child who has lost his or her way, Jerry and Evon are not satisfied to just visit a cottage, go away and never come back,” Blackwell said. “Pages in a book could be filled with their unselfish acts of philanthropy. Their mission is to change lives, and they are our partners in changing the lives of scores of children.”
Baptist State Convention
The Baptist State Convention of N.C. (BSC) honored Sei Hun Kim for his ministry among Asian Christians. Kim has mentored, discipled and ministered to new believers and Christian leaders, and helped plant churches through the BSC, the North American Mission Board and the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Although he officially retired in 2005, Kim continues to serve the BSC in Asian church development and leadership development.
Kim is “one of the most humble servants of God that you will ever meet; he always desires that … all of the attention and praise be directed toward Jesus Christ,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the BSC. “God has used this man to change the destiny of many people because they discovered a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The Biblical Recorder honored Michael Smith for his dedication to the Recorder, the Baptist State Convention of N.C. and his “stellar” support of the Cooperative Program (CP). He has led Fruitland Baptist Church in Hendersonville to give as much as 49 percent through CP.
Smith has served as pastor of the church for the past 22 years. He is a past chairman and member of the BR Board of Directors, served numerous other Baptist committees and is one of the faculty at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.
“We want to honor him … not only because of the specifics of his involvement in the Biblical Recorder’s life and history, but the big picture is always important as well,” said Allan Blume, editor of the BR.
Campbell University in Buies Creek honored Sadie Neel. A 1942 Campbell graduate, Neel served as a trustee for 20 years and a committee chair at the university. She created a scholarship fund in memory of her late brother, and created two endowed scholarships to benefit Campbell’s Divinity School.
She has been actively involved with Neuse Baptist Association and Falling Creek Baptist Church in Goldsboro, where she is a member. She is a committed member of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), teaches a Sunday School class and has served on various church committees. She has played the organ for more than 30 years.
“Sadie Neel has served the people of her community,” said Jerry Wallace president of Campbell University. “She has served her church, and she has served Baptist people.”
Chowan University in Murfreesboro honored Betty Rose Duke, a trustee and Development Committee member of Chowan, for her financial gifts to the university. She has been a strong supporter of the university’s music department. She helped found and is honorary chair of the Friends of Music organization, which helps provide needed funding for the university’s music efforts. She is a member of First Baptist Church in Ahoskie and is active in WMU, the church’s senior citizens group and various other church and community committees.
M. Christopher White, president of Chowan University, described Duke as an excellent gardener, dedicated Christian and generous friend who is faithful to her church, the university and community.
Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs honored Ronald and Martha Hawkins for their service and financial support to the university, community and church. Ronald was also recognized for his professional excellence as a banker. The couple is actively involved at First Baptist Church of Statesville, where they are members and Ronald has served as a deacon. Ronald, a 1955 graduate of Gardner-Webb, has also served the university as a trustee, and has led on various committees in his community.
A. Frank Bonner, president of Gardner-Webb, described the couple as two of the university’s “most loyal and generous friends.” “Their friends will tell you,” he added, “that Ron and Martha’s most important leadership roles have been the roles of committed spouses, loving parents and doting grandparents.”
Mars Hill College
Mars Hill College in Mars Hill honored Susie and A.C. Honeycutt. Both graduates of Mars Hill, class of 1975, the couple was recognized for their financial support and faithful involvement with the college and community. A.C. is a trustee of the college. In 2006, the couple helped start Fields of Hope, a gardening and farming project focused on fighting hunger in western N.C. Through mobilizing volunteers, Fields of Hope has harvested 325,000 pounds of vegetables distributed to 12 area food banks. The couple, members of Mars Hill Baptist Church, also has led in efforts to distribute food, clothes and build homes in Honduras.
“Humble,” “visionaries,” and “committed” were words used by Bud Christman, vice president for Advancement at Mars Hill, to describe the couple.
Meredith College in Raleigh honored Robert H. Lewis for his passion and dedicated financial support of the college. Lewis, a member of First Baptist Church of Raleigh for more than 60 years, has served three terms as a trustee and been on the Board of Associates and other committees at the college. Lewis, described as a “familiar face” on campus, has attended a continuing education courses at Meredith for two decades. He’s been a faithful contributor to the school’s music department, which included helping purchase a Steinway grand piano and the school’s first harpsichord. He’s also supported scholarships for music majors.
“We are so fortunate to have Bob as a leader [and] friend,” said Lennie Barton, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Meredith.
The N.C. Baptist Foundation honored William S. “Bill” and Dorothy L. “Dot” Goodwin. Both were recognized for their involvement in church, their association, the Baptist State Convention of N.C. and community.
Once a dairy farmer, deacon and Baptist committee leader, Bill also chaired the Apex Area School Board during the days of racial integration. The Lions Club and Apex Chamber of Commerce named him “Man of the Year.”
Dot directs Senior Singers at Apex Baptist Church. An honored Meredith College alumnae, she was the first woman to serve as moderator of the Raleigh Baptist Association.
The couple established a scholarship at Meredith College, and a charitable remainder trust with the Baptist Foundation for Baptist Children’s Homes, Meredith College and Apex Baptist Church.
“Humble” and “servant leaders” describe the Goodwins, said Bill Overby, development director for the foundation.
N.C. Baptist Men recognized Jerry and Joyce Causey for their commitment and leadership in their community, Baptist life and Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Ministry. Jerry, a former Vietnam helicopter pilot, designed Feeding Unit 2, which provided more than 400,000 meals during a two-month period in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Following the hurricane, the couple served more days than any other volunteers in New York and New Jersey. They are members of Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, where Jerry is a deacon. He has also led volunteers in assisting with Baptist Men projects.
“Jerry and Joyce are great examples of how God is using ordinary people in extraordinary ways to bring Him the glory,” said Richard Brunson, executive director of N.C. Baptist Men.
W.F. Baptist Medical Center
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center honored Caryl J. Guth for her excellence as an anesthesiologist, her volunteer work and philanthropy that has garnered praise throughout her career. Once named Wake Forest College’s top female athlete, she now serves on the Medical Center’s Board of Visitors and the Board of the Medical Alumni Association, where she is a past president. Guth, the daughter of a Baptist minister, established the Guth Family Fund in Integrative Medicine, the Caryl J. Guth M.D. Fund for Initiatives in Energy Medicine, and provided financial support for various student scholarships.
Kyle Young, a trustee with the Board of Directors for the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, described Guth as a “leader of great vision” and “the most generous living graduate of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.”
Woman’s Missionary Union
Woman’s Missionary Union of N.C. honored Eva Higdon Wood, or as some refer to her “Missions Sergeant” or “Sarge,” for her volunteer work, her dedication to Andrews First Baptist Church in Andrews and more than 50 years of leadership with WMU. A retired school teacher, she has led her church in various mission projects – including packing backpacks with food for needy children, working at the local food pantry and delivering school supplies to the Baptist Children’s Homes. She has coordinated offerings at her church that support mission work around the globe, and she’s mentored younger generations of volunteers in Christian, educational and community efforts.
Bonnie Wiggs, chair of the Heritage Award Committee, said, “All of us need an Eva Higdon Wood in our church or community.”