Pastors receive first W.S. Ridgway Awards


The Rev. Stephen Bittick and the Rev. Mitchell Cochran are the first recipients of the Walter Steven Ridgway Award. 

The scholarships are funded by the Walter Steven Ridgway Endowment. The selections were made by the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation, Inc., which administers the endowment. 

Bittick is pastor at Fannin United Methodist Church, while Cochran is associate pastor at Brandon St. Mark’s UMC. 

The award was created in December 2005 by the family of W. S. Ridgway, Jackson St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Dr. J.L. and Mary Wofford. The award was created to recognize and honor the memory of Walter Steven Ridgway. 

The scholarships are awarded to at least two persons interested in learning more of the history of Christian creeds, the preservation of these guidelines for our Christian faith and sharing those creeds with others. The recipients will visit sites of interest to Christians and historic places associated with the formulation of The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed and perhaps Athanasian Creeds. Such historic places could include, but are not limited to, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Library and the Blue Mosque. 

“A creed is a reference point in our lives which helps to broaden our understanding of the relationship between God and Christ. Many of our guides are being challenged. The creed is a concise rendering of the Christian belief of vision and reality. It defines the community of faith,” said J. L. Wofford. 

Mr. Ridgway was a leader and Sunday school teacher at the former Capitol Street UMC in Jackson. He died in 1969 at the age of 81.