Daniel Kelsey, a senior at Anderson University majoring in Christian ministries and youth leadership-development, from Covington, Ind., was recently selected as the 2012 recipient of the Billie Roy and Pearl Toon Smith Endowed Christian Education Scholarship Award. The $5,800 scholarship was presented to Kelsey on March 20 by the Religious Studies Department during a special luncheon in the Olt Student Center.
The purpose of the scholarship is to support, enhance, and promote the academic study of Christian education and assist Christian education student scholars in their academic work as they prepare for careers and lives of service in the academy, the church, and the world.
[Photo: Daniel Kelsey is pictured with his parents (left) Randy and Lisa Kelsey, Christie Stephens, and Dr. Stan Stephens.]
Religious Studies faculty noted that during his undergraduate years, Kelsey had “integrated ideas and experience into a theology and plan for ministry.”
“Daniel has done good work with respect to Christian education and continues to work at correlating in meaningful ways his ministry experience, the particular ministry contexts in which he has served, his course work, and his future plans,” said Dr. Alan Overstreet, associate professor of Christian education/ministry and chair of the Religious Studies Department.
After graduation, Kelsey plans to seek employment in the Louisville, Ky., area with a Christian nonprofit organization or a social service agency working with at-risk children and youth. He also hopes to pursue a Master of Social Work from the University of Louisville.
“I have greatly appreciated my time in the Religious Studies program,” said Kelsey. “The professors and classes have challenged me to consider what I believe and have prepared me for a future career in ministry. I have been able to formulate my approach to ministry and broaden my understanding of what it means to engage in Christian education. I am deeply thankful for this award and appreciate the support and flexibility it gives me as I pursue work and education within Christian ministry upon graduation. This award provides me with both financial support and encouragement as I look to share the love of Christ with those around me.”
[Photo, from left: Sheila MacMurray, Dr. Alan Overstreet, Daniel Kelsey, and Dr. Marie Morris.]
Originally from Alabama, Billie Roy Smith felt a call to ministry in 1946 and moved with Pearl and their young daughter to Anderson, Ind., where he enrolled at Anderson University. Pearl supported the family by working second shift at Guide Lamp. The family attended Park Place Church of God where Pearl was touched by the teaching of Carl Kardatzke in their Sunday school class. Kardatzke’s classes created a desire in Pearl to study Christian education, and she decided to take several classes sponsored by the Church of God. Over the years, Pearl taught Sunday school and served on the state board of Christian education for the Alabama Women of the Church of God.
In 1996 Billie Roy Smith, B. Th. ’49, honored the life and memory of his wife of 54 years, Pearl Toon Smith, by endowing a Christian education lectureship. From 1997 to 2007 renowned Christian education scholars and practitioners presented lectures and discussions in their areas of expertise to university students, faculty, pastors, church leaders, and others interested in the field of Christian education. In 2007 the Smith and Stephens family converted the lecture series into an endowed scholarship honoring the stewardship and the dedicated and faithful Christian lives and ministries of both Billie Roy and Pearl Toon Smith.
[Photo, from left: Dr. LaVern Norris, Dr. Kenneth Hall, Arlene Hall, Daniel Kelsey, Christie Stephens, and Dr. Stan Stephens.]
Past recipients of the scholarship award include Xen Riggs, Hannah Adams Ingram, Suzanne (Drayer) Kellam, and Keith Sayer.
“The generous vision of the Smith and Stephens families has contributed significantly to Christian education for several years,” said Overstreet. “The lecture series was of great benefit to all who shared in it, and the scholarship award provides ongoing support to students in their academic and ministry careers. The Department of Religious Studies appreciates deeply this support and the fruit that it bears.”
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.