SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Catawba College: Four individuals were honored by Catawba College recently at the 2017 Church/College Dinner hosted on campus by the College's Lilly Center for Vocation and Values and Campus Ministry.
Those honored with Church/College Awards included the Rev. Dr. Don and Jo Anne Flick of Taylorsville, the Rev. Lawrence "Larry" Bolick, Jr. '70 of Salisbury, and Mr. Barry Leonard '65 of Lexington, all of whom have supported and assisted with the work of Catawba's campus ministry and its Lilly Center.
Established in 2009 as a way for the College to recognize and express appreciation to persons who have served both the Church and the College in exemplary ways, the Church/College Awards, and the dinner at which these are presented, lift up the relationship between Catawba College and the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. The event is an opportunity to share with the church constituency what the college currently is doing to address that church/college relationship and to continue the tradition and mission of providing an education rich in opportunities for students to grow spiritually. The event also is an opportunity to recognize persons who have been particularly faithful to that aforementioned mission in both the wider church and to the college.
The Rev. Dr. Don and Jo Anne Flick have established a scholarship at Catawba to enable deserving students to prepare for a vocation in ministry. The Flicks have provided leadership for the Southern Conference and the Western North Carolina Association of the United Church of Christ, serving multiple congregations and working together to organize and reshape these congregations. They have also served in the long term health care and retirement housing area of ministry and have been instrumental in developing new facilities and inter-generational programs.
Reverend Lawrence "Larry" Bolick has held many roles in the Southern Conference and the Western North Carolina Association for the United Church of Christ, from senior pastor to music minister. He has ministered in UCC retirement communities, led mission trips to rebuild devastated neighborhoods, and helped assure that there is a written record of the faith journeys of those in the UCC through his work with the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and in his contributions in the writing of the history book, "Churches Related." Bolick has also helped market and promote the Youth Theology Institute offered at Catawba College.
Mr. Barry Leonard, a retired CPA, has provide leadership and shared his business acumen at Peace United Church of Christ in Greensboro, at his home congregation of Second United Church in Lexington, and at Catawba College, his alma mater. He served for almost two decades on the Catawba College Board of Trustees, a living example of the Christian faith tradition where his strong ethical and moral values were exemplified in selfless service and generosity. He has also established a fund at Catawba to support students preparing for Christian ministry.
The first Church/College Dinner was held in 2009 and the inaugural recipients of the Church/College Award were Wade Hampton Shuford, Jr. '50 of Hickory and Claude Abernethy, Jr. of Conover. In 2011 another Catawba County resident, the Rev. Dr. Tom Hamilton '55 received the honor. The fact that several of the total award recipients to date are from Catawba County itself speaks to the strong affiliation between Catawba College and the county in which the college was founded and existed for nearly 75 years.
In addition to presenting the Church/College Awards, this year's dinner provided an opportunity for Catawba students who are a part of the Year of Inquiry program to update the church representatives on developments at the college which make possible the strengthening of the relationship and the mission. One such program is the Theology Institute which has been developed by the college with the support of a major funding grant from the Lilly Endowment. The Institute gives Catawba students opportunities to further explore their faith and the possibility they may be being called into professional ministry. These students work with faculty members and pastors to provide week-long retreat experiences for high school youth to learn about the Christian faith and what being a person of faith can mean to them. Participation in this program doubled from the previous summer.
Another new program at the college is the Catawba Outdoor Adventures (COA) which provides students opportunities to go camping, hiking, and exploring in the outdoors, and enables them to recognize God at work in their lives and to think about their relationship to God and one another.
There are 15 students in the Year of Inquiry program, the largest number in the past 10 years. This program provides those students who think they may be receiving a call from God full time Christian service to further explore that possibility. Many of these students will go into pastoral, music, outdoor, or youth ministry and do further education in preparation for serving in these capacities.