By Woody Woodrick
Twick Morrison, whose love for the United Methodist Church couldn’t be separated from her love of history, was honored June 9 by the Mississippi Conference.
Morrison was named recipient of the Tobias Gibson Award for her love of history and the Emma K. Elzy Award for her efforts in racial reconciliation. The awards were presented during the 20th session of the Mississippi Annual Conference at Jackson Christ UMC.
Bob Morrison accepted the awards on behalf of his late wife, who died Feb. 7 of cancer.
“If you didn’t know Twick Morrison, I’m sorry,” said Juanita Franklin, a close friend of Mrs. Morrison who worked with her on the conference Commission on Religion and Race which sponsors the Elzy Award.
Mrs. Morrison (right) helped develop the Light Partners program that seeks to connect churches across racial lines. She was also involved in the Journey Toward the Light, where the commission visited civil rights sites around the state and heard stories of those involved in the efforts.
The Emma K. Elzy Award encourages reconciliation by honoring an individual, group or institution that has shown outstanding achievement in race relations in the state of Mississippi.
Meanwhile, Morrison was proud of the history of her hometown Vicksburg. She sparked efforts to have a panel of a historic mural along the Mississippi River front depict the important role Methodists played in the settlement of the town. The panel was completed shortly after Mrs. Morrison’s death.
The Commission on Archives and History presents the Tobias Gibson Award, named for the first circuit rider sent to the area in the 1700s.
In addition, the Rev. RoseMary Williams of Delisle and Anita Butler of Leland were presented the Harry Denman Awards for Evangelism. The awards are made possible each year by The Foundation for Evangelism, an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Denman Evangelism Awards are presented at each annual conference.
Butler (below) was cited for her 40 years of mission work around the world. She and her husband Pat Butler founded the Shepard Children's home in Nicaragua that is home to more than 238 children. Following a mission trip to India, Anita Butler spearheaded the building of a children’s home and a leper colony. She has been involved in mission trips that saw nearly 900 people make professions of faith. She has made 48 mission trips to Honduras, Nicaragua and India.
Since becoming pastor at Mount Zion UMC in Delisle, Williams has seen membership grow steadily. It has gone from two meetings a month to every Sunday, and Sunday school has grown from one class to five.
Williams has also led the church as it has become more involved in the community. She has traveled locally and throughout the nation to visit members and nonmembers in the hospital. After Hurricane Katrina she checked on each member of Mount Zion and also community members. Mount Zion has been used to house volunteers after the storm, and Williams has overseen the distribution of food and clothes following Katrina. She has secured grants to help the community members to rebuild their hope, homes and spirit.
Mount Zion has received awards for being a “Church for All God’s Children” for two years.
The award is named for Dr. Harry Denman, a Methodist layman. Denman possessed a passion for telling the Good News and a personal commitment to help people experience the transforming power of God through Jesus Christ.
Denman was committed to strengthening our denomination through teaching, preaching, programming and personal leadership. For 27 years he led the Board of Evangelism of the United Methodist Church. Among the many things that he began was the Upper Room Ministries, the best known ministry of the United Methodist Church throughout the world.