Chowan Christian Service Association Recognizes Seven Graduating Seniors at Dinner Meeting
On Monday, April 25, 2022, the Chowan Christian Service Association held its spring dinner meeting. The meeting gave special emphasis to the 2022 graduating CCSA Scholars: Jordan Brown a religion major from Plymouth, NC; Steven Butler a history major from Raeford, NC; Miyah Eley a psychology major from Suffolk, VA; Patrick Krack a sports management major from Nottingham, MD; Welinton Mariano a sports management major from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Diamond Martin a graphics communication major from Winston-Salem, NC; and Corbin Robertson a religion major from Mt. Airy, NC.
The meeting opened with a welcome from CCSA Board of Directors President, Rev. Robbie Parker. Following the welcome, University President, Dr. Kirk Peterson brought greetings and welcomed the Association to the first in-person meeting since September 2019. CCSA Scholars Brayden Conboy ’25, Kashara Simpson ’25, Diamond Martin ’22, and Malachi Cobb ’23 led the Association in the praise chorus, “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” Following the song, Patrick Krack ’22 gave the invocation and blessing for the meal and meeting.
After the prayer, Pioneer Catering served a delicious meal complete with one of Chowan’s famous signature desserts, mudballs. After the meal Rev. Parker called the meeting to order with a brief business meeting. Vice President for Advancement, Andy Wilson then shared the financial report noting that CCSA had just over $1,428,858.00 in the scholarship endowment and $825,501 in the CCSA Missions Endowment which provides for mission trip scholarships. He thanked the Association for investing in students.
A moment of remembrance was given to Mrs. Ganell Pittman who had died on April 1. Mrs. Pittman and her husband, James Pittman were faithful donors to the CCSA Missions Endowment. Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving and Assistant to the President John Tayloe shared that the burning candle at the front was in her memory and invited the Association to pause in a moment of silence.
Minister to the University, Rev. Mari E. Wiles gave a campus ministry report reflecting on the challenges of the previous two years. In her remarks, she shared how Campus Ministry has created unique opportunities to engage students and serve others throughout the pandemic. Following her report, Rev. Wiles introduced the new Minister of Engagement, Calvin Carter ’15. One of Mr. Carter’s primary responsibilities is to enhance the current Gospel Choir ministry through recruiting singers through a scholarship program.
Representing the graduating CCSA scholars, Welinton Mariano and Miyah Eley, both student ministry chaplains, delivered remarks celebrating CCSA. Mr. Mariano shared about God’s faithfulness through the adversity in his life, including the untimely death of his mother and the pandemic. Ms. Eley shared that “CCSA allowed me to pursue my calling of going into ministry, and filled me with the tools and wisdom, growing me into the woman of God I am today and enhancing my Chowan journey.” She also expressed her gratitude for the opportunities she had in Campus Ministry, especially in the Daughters of the Most High Praise Dance ministry.
An annual tradition is for the graduating seniors to receive a hand-thrown pottery chalice crafted on campus by Assistant Professor of Art, Rob Buller. Before presenting the 2022 graduating seniors their chalices, Director of Church and Community Relations, Lou Ann Gilliam, invited Rev. Steve Ruffin ’20 to receive his chalice. Because of the pandemic, CCSA could not celebrate the 2020 graduates in person. Mrs. Gilliam was able to present the chalices to all the 2020 graduating seniors, except for Rev. Ruffin until this occasion. Rev. Ruffin is the pastor of the Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Tarboro, NC. He completed his degree through the Ordained Ministers Grant program. Rev. Ruffin is now one of the newest members of Chowan’s Ministerial Board.
During the Chalice presentation, Mrs. Gilliam shared a scripture from Deuteronomy 16:1-3. In her remarks she emphasized verse three “for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it—the bread of affliction—because you came out of the land of Egypt in great haste, so that all the days of your life you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt.” Mrs. Gilliam shared that the shelf-stable communion cups that had become a staple for church communions are a modern-day reminder of the “bread of affliction” and encouraged the seniors that each time they observe communion, especially with these pre-filled cups, that they would be reminded of God’s faithfulness.
After the presentation, Rev. Parker led the Association in a “Charge to the Seniors” litany thanking them for their service and encouraging them to continue serving in Jesus’s name. Following the charge, Corbin Robertson ‘22 read I Corinthians 11:23-26, and Rev. Wiles led the Association in communion. After communion was served, Diamond Martin ’22 gave the benediction. Members were then invited to greet all the CCSA scholars.
For more information on the Chowan Christian Service Association contact Lou Ann Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org.