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Washington Area Women Recognize 92 “Men of Honor”

Story By Iris L. Kitching; Photos by Richard J. Gordon
Published 10/13/11

Patrick Crarey, MD, recipient of A Chosen Vessel Award, stands with Barbara Lee, Denise Crarey, Minnie McNeil and India Medley. 

The second annual Men of Honor program recently recognized 92 Seventh-day Adventist men and community members for making a difference in their churches and communities. The Chosen Vessels, also known as the Washington Area Metro Women’s Ministries (WMAWM) team, organized and sponsored the program, which was held at the Allegheny East Conference’s Breath of Life church in Fort Washington, Md.

The men were recognized in categories such as Helping Hand, Spirit of Community or Unsung Hero, with more than 34 receiving the awards. The Helping Hand Award was for men who performed selfless acts of kindness in service to those in need, demonstrated a positive image in providing service and demonstrated personal integrity and compassion in delivery of service. The Spirit of Community Award was for men who had shown continuing commitment to community or public service, earned the recognition, respect and trust of the community and demonstrated personal integrity and Christian service in all phases of life. And, the Unsung Hero Award was for ordinary people who have done extraordinary things and rendered significant service without public recognition, quietly provided his resources and proficiencies to those in need and demonstrated personal integrity and Christian service in all phases of life.

Denise Crarey, WMAWM area leader, said the idea for this program came to her after noticing the many men in her own Emmanuel-Brinklow congregation who gave so much without looking for or receiving recognition. “One was a gentleman at our church, who every Sabbath, stood by the door to welcome visitors, help older people and open the door for every person who came into the church,” she said. “I thought, ‘There are probably men all across our church who do this and we probably have no idea!’’’

So, the WMAWM team set out to ask women in the Washington, D.C.-area to nominate extraordinary men for recognition at an annual ceremony. The first year, 52 men were nominated, and Crarey muses that next year, the numbers will probably continue to increase.

This year’s program began with an introit by the Young Warriors for Christ, a mentorship program for young men at Emmanuel-Brinklow church in Ashton, Md. Holding their distinctive wooden swords, the young men set the stage for the festive evening. The men to be honored walked into the sanctuary ceremoniously and took their places on stage where all in attendance could see them and admire their accomplishments.

Crarey gave a warm and hearty welcome to the attendees. Kathleen Murrell of Emmanuel-Brinklow church, recited the poem, “The Occasion,” and offered her personal, in-depth look at why the 92 men were worthy of honor. Lynda Hodges of the Capitol Hill church in Washington, D.C., gave her own tribute by singing “A Few Good Men,” inspiring the crowd with the words and delivery of the song.

When it came time to recognize the awardees, Debra Anderson, a member of the Emmanuel-Brinklow Church and special assistant to the area leader, called the attention of the audience to the selected passage for the event: Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to those in the family of faith.” This Bible text appropriately punctuated the occasion and gave a reflective look at the good the nominees had done.

All 92 men were celebrated and participated in a pinning ceremony. Tanya Holland, an Emmanuel-Brinklow church member, designed the Men of Honor logo, which was later created into a lapel pin. The Men of Honor Class of 2011 was the first to receive this memento. Presenters were Women’s Ministries leaders or committee members: Gail Ellison (New Life church in Gaithersburg, Md.) and Lystra Antoine (Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md.), Oralyn Weston (Bladensburg (Md.) church) and Kathleen Coleman, (Emmanuel-Brinklow church). Tracey Hermanstyne and D’Andria Anderson-Jackson, youth representatives from WMAWM, also participated.

The WMAWM Executive Committee was charged with nominating one man for a Chosen Vessel Award, which recognizes the outstanding service and support of an individual or group to the mission and vision of Women’s Ministries globally and to the constituents of the WMAWM.

The 2011 Chosen Vessels awardee, Patrick Crarey, MD, was visibly surprised to hear his named calledf or this award. Committee members have long noticed that Dr. Crarey not only supports his wife but also her vision for Women’s Ministries. Gail Ellison, an executive council member, said of Crarey, “The spirit of a man sets the tone for his household, and Patrick Crarey personifies how that tone should be set. Under Denise Crarey’s leadership, Women’s Ministries in the D.C.-Metro area has flourished in part because of Patrick’s commitment to our success. His flexibility, patience, monetary contributions, unfailing support and wisdom have blessed our ministry and taken it to new heights. He is truly a Chosen Vessel personally hand-selected by God.”

Marcus Harris, DMin, pastor of Breath of Life church and the area leader for the Allegheny East Conference’s D.C.-Metro Ministerium, offered a prayer of consecration for the 92 honorees. With the program nearing completion, the audience enjoyed Lynda Hodge’s soul-stirring, expressive and powerful rendition of the song, “I Am Blessed.” After Minnie McNeil, Women’s Ministries director for Allegheny East Conference, offered the benediction, the Young Warriors marched into place in the church’s center aisle, tribal drums pounding to the rhythm of the praise band that provided hand-clappin’, foot-tappin’ music. The honorees walked out of the sanctuary to the smiles, cheers, applause and standing ovation of family, friends and members of their congregations.

“These men made us proud, and thankfully what they have done to serve fellow men, their churches, and the community has not gone unnoticed,” Crarey said. “As we look forward to next year’s Men of Honor program, women, keep your eyes open for men to be nominated for their life of service to others. Congratulations to each and every 2011 man of honor. May God bless you as you continue to serve mankind.”