See All Photos from the 2019 Dinner of Celebration here All photos courtesy of Luke Lucas.

On Thursday, August 8, 2019, the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation celebrated its 12th year in ministry at the annual Dinner of Celebration. The banquet, held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery, welcomed approximately 400  students, alumni and supporters. Including those in attendance were some of the seminary students and course of study students being supported by the Foundation during the 2019-2020 school year.  [caption id="attachment_3123" align="alignright" width="150"] Rev. Robin Wilson[/caption] Each year, two extravagantly generous donors underwrite the entire cost of the banquet, ensuring that donations made to the foundation are allocated for scholarships. Rev. Robin Wilson senior pastor of Opelika (Ala.) First United Methodist Church, served as the evening’s host. The invocation was given by  Rev. Jay Cooper, senior pastor of Montgomery  First United Methodist Church. Mrs. Mabs and Mr. James Seay performed duets of "The Prayer" and  "You Raise Me Up." A highlight of the annual banquet is witnesses from scholarship recipients. This year, three 2019 graduates shared words of thankfulness to donors. Those sharing words of gratitude were: 
  • Kristen Wright is a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  She currently serves as Associate Pastor at Ashland Place UMC in Mobile, Ala. 
  • Stephan Margeson is a graduate of Duke Divinity School. He currently serves as Associate Pastor at Ozark (Ala.) UMC.
  • Jagger Eastman is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. He currently serves as Pastor of Grace UMC in Auburn, Ala. 
Mr. Philip Young, a founding member of the  Stegall Foundation Board of Directors, presented the 10th annual "Spirit of the Foundation" Award to Mr. George Sabin Gibbs, III. This award is presented annually to honor a donor who has shown faithful commitment to the mission of the foundation. In presenting the award, Young testified to Gibbs' charity and humbleness as he has established a legacy of giving throughout his life.  [caption id="attachment_3152" align="alignright" width="150"] Mr. George Sabin Gibbs, III[/caption] In response to his receiving the award, Gibbs detailed how his involvement with Christian counseling drew him to want to be part of the mission of the foundation in supporting students. "I don't think we can do anything stronger than help students in this world," he said. Previous recipients of the Spirit of the Foundation Award are: Mr. Boyd Goddard; Bishop Paul A. Duffey; Mr. John Bullard; Mr. Temple Millsap; Mr. Wayne Russell; Mr. Dan Lindsey, Sr.; Dr. Paulette Thompson; Rev. Arthur Carlton (posthumously); and Mr. George Goodwyn. On behalf of the foundation’s board of directors, Rev. Tony McCullough, pastor of Prattville (Ala.) First United Methodist Church ,then presented the third annual Church Appreciation Award to Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla.  The award recognizes a congregation who faithfully supports the mission of the foundation. Hurricane Michael destroyed much of the church and affected each member of the church in the fall of 2018. However, Lynn Haven UMC remained extravagantly generous in response to missional needs. "It was unbelievable that just a few short weeks after their sanctuary was destroyed, the Lynn Haven UMC sent their first check of $1,000 for our seminary students through the foundation," said McCullough. "Similar checks for our seminary students have been received from the church periodically since October 10." [caption id="attachment_3120" align="alignright" width="300"] Lynn Haven UMC[/caption] Present to receive the award on behalf of the church was their pastor, Rev. Craig Carter , along with his wife, Lee;  Mr. Tom Fanning, Church Council Chair, and his wife, Katie; and District Superintendent, Dr. Doug Pennington, and his wife, Sandy.  In response, Carter said: "When our church was destroyed, Christians all around us spontaneously reached out to us in our time of greatest need. We want to be that kind of church for others." Previous recipients of the Church Appreciation Award  are:  Fort Davis (Ala.) UMC and Lillian (Ala.) UMC. [caption id="attachment_3125" align="alignright" width="300"] Dr. Karl K. Stegall[/caption] Dr. Stegall personally offered a word of appreciation to donors at the conclusion of the banquet. “Friend, things have changed in our world," he said. "We are living tonight in a world where evil at times seems to overwhelm us. In this world, I do not know of any greater need we have than that of producing more and more effective young women and men to share the good news of Jesus Christ. This is what YOU are doing and, for this, we will be forever grateful." Dr. Stegall then invited all seminary and course of study students present to come forward as both retired and active ministers offered a blessing over the students. Rev. Jim Dannelly (retired) offered a benediction as the banquet came to a conclusion.