Sunday, July 23rd, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball was presented the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence by Gil Hanke, General Secretary of the General Commission of United Methodist Men, and Larry Coppock, National Director of Scouting Ministries for United Methodist Men. “Very few persons are able to truly surprise me anymore,” Bishop Sandra said, “but I was surprised when Gil Hanke and Larry Coppock gave me the Susanna Wesley Award at the National Boy Scout Jamboree last week. I am thankful and truly humbled and honored to receive this award.”
The Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence is named after the mother of John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Movement. Despite great financial and personal hardships, Susanna made certain her children were well educated and trained in the classics and faith. “Susanna Wesley had high expectations for people to both grow in and live out their faith. She spent tremendous time, effort, and energy nurturing people in these directions even in the midst of challenging life circumstances. She sought to nurture others in the faith so that they, in turn, could lead even more of God’s children to faith in Jesus Christ,” Bishop Sandra shared.
Reflecting on what it means to receive the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence, Bishop Sandra said; “I too have high expectations for people to grow in and live out their faith and seek to nurture others into disciples of Christ who in turn make more disciples of Jesus Christ. To receive this award at the Scout Jamboree was very significant for me.”
“The Jamboree is a gathering of tens of thousands of scouts and leaders who seek to grow in life and faith. It is a gathering of persons who are intentionally working on leadership development so that they can influence and impact a greater good for all people in this world for today and for the future. Scouting helps scouts to find positive values for their lives, values upon which leadership will be born and will grow; and leadership that is meant not only for the success and good for the person in and of themselves, but for the families, communities, and nations these scouts will serve now and in the future. What a significant setting in which to accept this award.”
The Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence was established to honor women who have served Jesus Christ and The United Methodist Church in a manner similar to Susanna Wesley. An awardee must possess a distinctive intellect, a nurturing spirit, unwavering devotion and perseverance in the faith.
The 15 United Methodist Chaplains present for the National Boy Scout Jamboree also received the God and Service Award from the United Methodist Men Scouting Ministries coordinator, Larry Coppock.
The God and Service Award is a national recognition awarded by churches and national youth agencies cooperating with Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.). It is given to acknowledge distinguished volunteer service by adults in ministry to young people through service to the Church and one or more of the national youth agencies, including Boy Scouts.
Rev. Randy Mitchell, serving North Elkins, and Rev. Deborah Coble, Conference Director of Communications, were award recipients from the West Virginia Conference.
Following the award presentations, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball led those gathered in the celebration of Holy Communion. Rev. Dr. Barry Ball and Rev. Dr. JF Lacaria were also present for the celebration which included hundreds of scouts of various faith traditions, including United Methodists, from Alaska to Florida.
You may learn about how United Methodist Men interfaces with Scouting Ministries by visiting: http://www.gcumm.org/scouting.