On Oct. 13 Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church honored four individuals with the Kenneth O. Jones Distinguished Service Award. We offer our congratulations, and gratitude, to this year's recipients.
Doug Bennett joined Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in March 2000. On his new member information form, the last question was, "Are you interested in serving on committees or sub-committees of the Session or Trustees?" He checked the box that said, "Not now, maybe later." "Later" came faster than he probably expected.
Doug served two terms on FAPC's Board of Trustees and chaired the Property Administration Committee. His expertise in architecture and construction were valuable assets during the extensive Crossroads renovation project in 2003-04 (when the Christian Education Center was constructed, and all offices and meeting rooms in the Curry Church House were renovated) and the recent Generation to Generation campaign, which included the $8 million brownstone restoration project.
A lifelong Presbyterian, he spent his professional career as an executive with such nationally recognized construction firms as Turner, Tishman and Sordoni Skonska. He currently serves as an FAPC docent, sharing his architectural insights as he guides visitors through the Sanctuary, Kirkland Chapel and other sacred spaces.
In presenting the award, Derek Maddalena, director of facilities, said, "Doug has taught me that giving unconditionally of your time and skills are rewarding. To the church, they have been priceless."
David Liu has been a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church since 1997. From 2003 until 2016, he also served as a member of the church staff. During his 20 years here, he has been involved in, a leader of and a champion of both the Women’s Association and the Men’s Association, the City Club and the Fifth Avenue Fellowship Club, the Couples Club and the Center for Christian Studies, the Circle of Caregiving and the Legacy Circle. He has been an officer, a liturgist, a contributor to the Lenten Devotional and FAPC's magazine, The VOICE, and a testifier in worship.
Former Senior Pastor Tom Tewell convinced David to come out of retirement to lead FAPC's first small groups ministry. This successful initiative has since evolved into our thriving Community Groups. In a letter marking David's retirement from FAPC last fall, Dr. Tewell described him as "a man of many gifts that he uses unselfishly in the service of Jesus Christ. He truly embodies the hospitality of the gospel."
"I got to know David when I came on staff in 2010," said Executive Pastor Charlene Han Powell. "It didn’t take long for me to realize that we had an unofficial fifth pastor on our staff, who was not only visiting with and caring for our members with the deepest need, but going the extra mile by feeding them, praying with them, helping them navigate the hardships of life and loss, and giving them proof that God truly loves us and cares for us."
With her husband, David, Karen Liu first began attending Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1996 and became a member the following year. Over the next two decades, became a member of the steering committee of the Couples Club and has been active in the City Club, the Women’s Association, the Circle of Caregiving and the Legacy Circle. An educator, she also served on the committee for the Center for Christian Studies (now Adult Education.) She was elected to the Board of Deacons and the Session, and played a key role in the Session’s Benevolence Committee organizing and vetting requests for aid benefitting God’s work in the world.
Outside of FAPC she has been a leader in the field of early childhood education and started a series of daycare centers in 1971 that became a model for other community-based education programs. She has received numerous awards for her work in education, including The Courage Award for her work with children following 9-11, the Samuel Peabody Award for community activism and for devotion to children, and the Golden Heart Award from Champions for Children.
"Karen has quietly and steadily been a gracious caregiver to homebound members of this church and to those transitioning from independent living to care facilities," said Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston. "She is seemingly tireless in passing out good will, can often be found in the Romeyn Room praying for all those listed in the bulletin and beyond, and is a true emissary of God’s astounding love and joy."
Lynn Wishart became a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1995. As a Deacon, she chaired the Worship Committee and maintained a long-term, faithful relationship with her visitee for many years after rolling off the Deacon board. As a two-time Elder, she chaired the Outreach Committee and the Worship Committee, and though no longer an officer, she continues the painstaking work of scheduling all officer worship duties.
One of the most active and visible members in the church community, Lynn chairs the Committee on Homelessness, volunteers in the David B. Skinner Shelter, The Bowery Mission and at special events throughout the year, works in the FAPC Archives, and is captain for a team of ushers and greeters. A member of the Mission Partner Committee, she has been liaison to our mission partners Presbyterian Senior Services and West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, where she now serves on the board. Behind the scenes, she provides medical escorts to some of our most frail members, and reaches out to those in need with a kind and compassionate presence.
"A law librarian by profession and a Presbyterian through and through, she is meticulous about detail, and thus she takes personal responsibility for updating the Usher & Greeter Handbook, the Shelter Manual, the worship maps and probably much more," said the Rev. Kate Dunn. "Competent, dependable, wise, funny, creative, humble and kind, she is one of the finest examples of what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ."
List of Kenneth O. Jones Distinguished Service Award Honorees
The Kenneth O. Jones Distinguished Service Awards were created in 2011 to celebrate officers of the church and honor select individuals for their exemplary histories of service. With the addition of the 2017 honorees, the award has been presented to 28 individuals.
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