Chowan Christian Service Association Fall Meeting features Baptists on Mission Disaster Relief Coordinator Tom Beam
On Tuesday, September 20, Chowan University hosted the annual Chowan Christian Service Association (CCSA) Fall Dinner. Baptists on Mission (BOM) Disaster Relief Coordinator Tom Beam was the keynote speaker. The evening also highlighted CCSA student leaders and the donors that support them.
The meeting was opened with a welcome from CCSA President, Rev. Robbie Parker. University President Kirk Peterson gave remarks and shared how CCSA has been a vital benefit to students called to ministry. CCSA scholars Malachi Cobb, Brayden Conboy, Kashara Simpson, Destiny Vaughan, and Rachel Van Buren led the Association in singing “How Great is Our God.” Sophomore Deondre Brown then delivered the invocation. Following the blessing, guests enjoyed a delicious meal provided by Pioneer Catering.
After the meal, Rev. Robbie Parker called the meeting to order. Vice President of University Advancement Andy Wilson gave a financial report and thanked donors for investing in students. Lou Ann Gilliam, Director of Chowan University, recognized former CCSA graduates as well as current students and shared that giving to CCSA matters and that the students are the “why” for their generosity. Gilliam then transitioned to recognized donors who had reached special giving levels.
CCSA Sustaining Donors were honored for their faithful contributions. In attendance for this recognition were Ernie and Austine Evans of Ahoskie and Captain Milton (Mick) and Carol Outten. Also honored were those unable to attend Rev. and Mrs. Robert Paccioco, Oriental First Baptist Church, Gene & Bettie Anne Crabtree, Bettie Grissom, and the Nancy Rawls Barden Estate. Sustaining donors are recognized with a certificate, and their names are engraved on the Sustaining Donor Plaque. Robbie and Malinda Parker were then presented with the Blue & White award for their generosity.
Gilliam then recognized Charles Pond with CCSA’s highest honor, the “Jar of Clay.” The award’s name comes from 2 Corinthians 4:7 “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” Gilliam thanked Pond and his late wife, Juanita for being God’s vessel to support students. After receiving the Jar of Clay that was crafted on campus by Associate Professor of Art Rob Buller, Pond thanked the Association for the meaningful recognition and pledged to continue to support CCSA.
Following the donor presentation, junior Erica Mock delivered the CCSA Student Perspective. She enthusiastically shared how she had found friendships through fellow CCSA students and had grown from the ministry opportunities provided by Campus Ministry. She also cited how the CCSA retreats have expanded her view of ministry.
Minister to the University Rev. Mari Wiles gave a campus ministry report. Wiles highlighted the ongoing investment in Team 4:13, a peer-to-peer program designating a student chaplain on each athletic team, as well as the pastoral care Student Ministry Chaplains are aiding within the Residence Halls. After her report, Wiles introduced the guest speaker, Tom Beam. Wiles expressed her appreciation for Beam’s support of the collegiate ministry, noting that together they led Chowan’s first mission team to Cuba in 2012.
Beam gave inspiring remarks to the Association. He began by sharing how BOM provides hope to those that feel hopeless. He shared the story of a woman in Kentucky who had been impacted by the severe flooding in Kentucky. Beam relayed that upon entering the relief center, she announced, “I already had nothing, and even that has been washed away.” Beam shared how BOM volunteers comforted this lady by working on her house and giving her a welcome mat at her front door. This kind gesture, along with the work, gave this woman hope.
Beam reflected on his days as a college student, how an anonymous person sent him notes of encouragement every week for all four years of his college career. Upon graduation, he learned that Pat, a friend of the family, had chosen to “adopt” him while he was in college. He credits her prayers and encouragement with preparing him for ministry and the work he does now. He encouraged donors to be like “Pat” and invest in students.
Following Beam’s remarks, Robbie Parker gave closing remarks and sophomore Kashara Simpson delivered the benediction. Students and guests then enjoyed a time of fellowship.
For more information about the Chowan Christian Service Association, contact Director of Church and Community Relations Lou Ann Gilliam at email@example.com.