Marshall, Special Award Recipients Honored

The alumni association of Phillips Theological Seminary awarded its 2023 Marshall Awards to the Rev. Renee J. Bridwell and the Rev. Dr. Mark W. Pumphrey during the Remind & Renew conference in Tulsa, Okla. The Rev. Daniel B. Merrick, Jr. was also honored with a special, posthumous award. 

Bridwell and Pumphrey, were each honored for their lifetime of service to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Marshall Award recognizes graduates of Phillips Theological Seminary, Phillips Graduate Seminary, The Graduate Seminary of Phillips University, or the College of the Bible whose service to God, the church and the humancommunity has been faithful and exemplary. 

While studying for her MDiv at Phillips Graduate Seminary, Bridwell served as co-pastor with her husband, Steve, at First Christian Church in Hennessey, Okla. Following her ordination, they accepted a joint call to First Christian Church in Marion, Ill. 

She served in a variety of regional roles throughout her ministry, including her final full-time ministry as Associate Regional Minister in the Kansas region. Bridwell has also volunteered in some 50-60 sessions of summer church camp in three different regions, led youth mission trips and International Affairs Seminars, and served on the Oklahoma region’s Task Force on Women. 

Pumphrey, who received three degrees from Phillips (BS, MDiv and DMin), started his journey into ministry in 1972 as a youth minister in Colorado and continued to serve the local church for more than four decades. He spent 18 years at South Broadway Christian Church in Denver—the longest tenure in the church’s 133 history. In 2017 he came out of retirement to serve at First Christian Church in Greeley, Colo. where he is now Co-Pastor.  

He has also served on the Phillips Alumni/ae Association Board, including two terms as president, and held positions on the General Board of the Christian Church and on the Administrative Committee and in the Central Rocky Mountain Region. 

The special posthumous award was given to Merrick, editor of the Chalice Hymnal, who served congregations in Illinois, Wisconsin and the Panama Canal Zone during his ministry career. He received a BA in religion in 1948, returning to Phillips to receive a BDiv from the College of the Bible in 1954. 

Merrick won his first hymn writing contest in 1950 and was known for writing a Christmas hymn each year of his ministry. He was a member of the Hymn Society of America for more than 50 years and assembled a personal hymnological library of more than 1,100 volumes. Those volumes, now known as the Merrick Hymnody Collection, were donated to Phillips Theological Seminary after his passing in 2004. 

His hymns have been published in several major hymnals and he was an important part of the Association of Disciples Musicians.