Rev. Bill Reece - 2011 Marshall Award Recipient
Willard T. "Bill" Reece B.D.
Retired Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Retired Founder and Director, The Campaign to End Childhood Hunger in Kansas
* B.A. Phillips University
* B.D. Phillips Graduate Seminary
* Academy of the Ecumenical Institute
Willard T. "Bill" Reece was ordained in 1951 by First Christian Church, Edmond OK where his father, Owen W. Reece, had served as minister. While earning his seminary degree at Phillips Graduate Seminary, Rev. Reece served as weekend youth director in Christian Churches in Tonkawa OK, Liberal KS, and Coffeyville KS. His first full time church was First Christian Church, Tahlequah OK, followed by ministries with Britton Christian Church, Oklahoma City, and First Christian Church, Shawnee OK.
In 1966 Rev. Reece began a new phase in his ministry when he accepted a call to be the minister of a new congregation, Pine Valley Christian Church, Wichita KS. The newly established church provided an opportunity to pioneer unique ministries during an era of church renewal. For twenty-seven years he led the church in serious studies of foundational and contemporary theology. The studies took place in House Churches where more than eighty percent of the members met twice monthly in homes for study, spirit nurture, and sharing about individual mission. The church was also known for its liturgically sound, creative worship services.
Much of the energy of the church was focused on the Christian quest for peace and justice. Beginning with active involvement in efforts to end the Vietnam War, Pine Valley was one of the first ten Disciple churches to be a Shalom Congregation. Pine Valley was a primary leader in helping Wichita and the state address such issues as race relations, poverty, women's rights, childhood hunger, and gay and lesbian rights. Pine Valley was home to the first interracial preschool in Wichita. Three mayors of Wichita and other local and state political leaders were members of Pine Valley. After retiring from Pine Valley in 1993, Rev. Reece worked with Wichita Interfaith Ministries to found and direct The Campaign to End Childhood Hunger in Kansas. He and his wife, Ginny, have four adult children and seven grandchildren.