The Shine the Light Award, established in 2011 by American Baptist Women’s Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA, serves to recognize a woman serving as an outstanding light-bearer for Christ. The award highlights a specific ministry project that best demonstrates how the award recipient spreads the light of Christ through her congregation, community, or world. The award recipient may be one or more women.
Karen Brokaw and Carolyn Argust are being recognized for their outreach ministry to refugees and immigrants in Rochester, New York. Karen and Carolyn feel deeply the importance of literacy for refugee and immigrant families, and used skills honed in their previous professions (Karen as a retired city school teacher, and Carolyn as a retired city government leader), to launch a tutoring program for immigrants and refugees, in partnership with the public library in the neighborhood where a significant number of newcomers were being resettled.
Initially begun with refugees from Burma who had joined Lake Avenue Baptist Church, the outreach quickly grew to include Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and Animists from Congo, Mexico, Turkey, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, China, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Honduras, Viet Nam, Laos, and other nations of origin. Volunteers offer childcare in the library so that parents may focus on their learning. Karen and Carolyn employ creative teaching techniques and also help the participants teach their children the importance of reading, working towards the success of future generations. Additionally, Carolyn and Karen’s work has attracted many volunteers from the Rochester community, and their commitment to leadership development has resulted in some class participants now taking leadership in the outreach.
ABWM Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom said that the Shine the Light Award will be presented to Karen Browkaw and Carolyn Argust at the “A Time to Serve: Deeping Relationships” intergenerational retreat sponsored by AB Women’s Ministries, on July 26-29, 2014, at the Green Lake Conference Center, Green Lake, Wisconsin.
Past recipients of the Shine the Light Award include the women’s ministry of the First Baptist Church in Selma, California, for their work on behalf of victims and survivors of sex trafficking; Mrs. Elizabeth Gooden and Mrs. Sybil Jones of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, recognized for their devoted commitment to the Open Door Fellowship, a ministry to incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals; Rev. Barbara Jim-George of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California, for her work in the prevention of human trafficking through an educational program for girls aged 11-16; and a posthumous recognition of Darlene Pennington of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Nebraska, for a life of Christian service and her dedication to foster parenting.
For more information about the Shine the Light Award, visit the AB Women’s Ministries website at www.abwministries.org, or contact the AB Women’s Ministries office at (610) 768-2288 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Nomination forms for the 2015 award will be available in the fall of 2014.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with more than 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.