The BISHOP BENJAMIN J. RAVENEL, SR. SCHOLARSHIP AND AWARDS COMMITTEE (originally named the May Festival and Awards Benefit Committee) has been in existence since May 1985. The late Bishop O. T. Jones, Jr. commissioned our work. The late Mother Irene A. Oakley was our founding director. These two individuals laid a solid foundation for our growth and success over these many years. Under the leadership of the late Bishop Benjamin J. Ravenel, Sr., the work of the committee continued to expand. Under the leadership of our current jurisdictional prelate, Bishop Guy L. Glimp, we envision on-going growth and expansion.
Since 1985, on the first Saturday in May, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (PCEJ) of the Church of God in Christ has celebrated the Annual Awards Benefit Dinner at a venue in eastern or central Pennsylvania. The jurisdiction represents more than 70 Church of God in Christ congregations in Eastern and South Central Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia to Altoona, and from the Poconos to Southern Chester County.
As believers in Christ, and as citizens of our great nation, we believe that it is important for us to participate fully in the growth and health of our neighborhoods and communities; and that we contribute in a tangible way to that growth and health. Our churches and our church leaders have direct, continuous contact and involvement with the underprivileged and hurting segments of our population, as well as with a population that is privileged and successful. They are all members of our churches. One of our aims is to effectively join together as “village” to rear our children, to provide models of good and productive citizenship, and to provide opportunities for their education and career development.
The annual dinner has enabled our jurisdiction to make available to many of our churches short term loans for church extensions and rehabilitation. The dinner has been the vehicle by which our jurisdictional leadership has honored those men and women who have worked among us and who have often gone unnoticed.
THE AWARD CATEGORIES
THE COMMONWEALTH DISTINGUISHED AWARD is given to a man or woman who has exemplified a life of holiness and integrity. Also, one who has been creative and innovative in serving our jurisdiction and his/her local church.
BISHOP O. T. JONES, SR. AWARD is in honor of our late Jurisdictional Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, SR., this prestigious award is given to a senior statesman in our church who exemplifies the leadership qualities of Bishop Jones, Sr. recipient is a family man, a churchman, a man of prayer.
THE MOTHER NEANZA Z. JONES AWARD is named in honor of the late wife of Bishop Jones, Sr. This award is given to a woman who has exemplified the ideals of Christian womanhood, who is hospitable, warm, and who is like the woman described in Proverbs 31.
MOTHER IRENE A. OAKLEY is the founding director of the BBJR committee. Mother Oakley was a trailblazer in the Commonwealth. The was the wife of the late Bishop B. M. Oakley, who shattered a glass ceiling by succeeding him as pastor. Mother Oakley was loyal selfless and faithful as she served the leadership of our jurisdiction. This award is given to a man or woman who demonstrates the loyalty, selflessness, and faithfulness of the late Mother Oakley.
CHAPLAIN ELMER N. HUNTER AWARD is named after the late Chaplain Hunter who assumed a strong leadership role in our jurisdiction for many years. An award recipient is a man or woman who has been faithful to our churches and has distinguished him/herself as a civic and community leader.
THE DR. LAFAYETTE FRANK GOODING AWARD is named after the late Dr. Gooding who was a pastor, and for many years, the coordinator of our educational programs. The recipient exemplifies the spirit of this man who had many talents and was active in the community and had a passion for missions and education.
THE BISHOP O. T. JONES, JR. AWARD is named after the late Bishop Jones, Jr. who served for many years as the leader of the youth department of our national church. These awards are given to young people in our churches who are faithful and active in their local churches and their districts. They demonstrate, not just potential for leadership, but dynamic, active leadership qualities in their churches now.
BBJR MAY QUEEN AWARD is based upon one woman being chosen as the May Queen and is surprised at the annual dinner. She is chosen because she manifests the qualities of hospitality in a warm and tangible way.
THE BBJ MAY KING AWARD was initiated in 2012, and also a surprise to the recipient) is given to a gentleman among us who has demonstrated hospitality, warmth and a good sense of humor.
THE PASTOR OF THE YEAR is chosen by the Pastors’ and Elders’ Council of our jurisdiction, in recognition of his/her leadership and faithfulness to the vision of the jurisdiction.
MEET THE COMMITTE
BISHOP GUY L. GLIMP,
CHAPLAIN AUDREY MOODY,
SIS. RUTH BURNETTE
SUPT. DOC DILMORE
PASTOR ROBERT WOODALL
ELDER JAMAR JOHNSON, PCEJ Youth President
MISSIONARY JENNIFER TOMPKINS,
PCEJ Youth Chairlady