Martin Methodist College President Ted Brown was the recipient of the Francis Asbury Award at the 2012 Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, held June 10-12 at Brentwood UMC. The Asbury Award is recognized for excellence in fostering United Methodist ministries in higher education.
In a unique twist, this year’s recognition during Annual Conference was especially noteworthy as the Tennessee Conference was in the midst of celebrating its 200th Year Anniversary. As part of this celebration, various historical characters were portrayed by willing participants from around the conference, in period dress, and appeared at various times to relive key moments in Tennessee Methodism.
Brown had just completed presenting the annual update on Martin Methodist College to the conference attendees while portraying founder Thomas Martin. He was followed at the podium by MMC drama professor David Alford, who delivered an historical moment as Bishop Francis Asbury. Then, much to Brown’s surprise, Alford, while still in character, proceeded to present the Asbury Award to Brown.
A non-monetary award to recognize and encourage support of higher education and campus ministries within The United Methodist Church, the Frances Asbury Award is given annually to a clergy or lay person (whether employed or is a volunteer of the church) who meets the specific criteria. The award is named for Bishop Asbury and is based on his admonition to the people called Methodists to erect a school in the vicinity of every church. “We must,” he said, “give the key of knowledge to your children and those of the poor in the vicinity of your small towns and villages.”
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