Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. presented seven Bishop's Awards, two of them posthumous awards, at the 2012 Annual Conference Session.
The recipients were (in order of presentation):
- the late Scott Kennedy
- the late Ralph Griffin
- Annabelle Frazier Whipple
- Harold Anthony (Hal) Hyde
- Rebecca Yee Perry
- Judy Longshore
- Dan Eberly
Bishop's Awards are given to laypersons who have "demonstrated outstanding service both in their local church and beyond the local church" – and while pastors, family, and friends are notified of the honor so that they can make plans to be present, the awards come as a complete surprise to the recipients themselves.
One of this year's honorees was caught so off guard that she felt compelled to put her appreciation on paper.
The letter from Rebecca Yee Perry follows:
Dear Bishop Brown, and Brothers and Sisters of the California-Nevada Annual Conference,
Thank you again for the honor and privilege in receiving the Bishop's Award on Friday. I was overwhelmed with emotion from the surprise, so I was unable to properly respond to this honor.
My work and accomplishments are merely a reflection of the blessings I have received. The opportunities I have been given within the greater UMC and freedom to find my passion are, without a doubt, what has led me on the path and journey that God calls me today.
The journey I have taken is not in isolation. I believe the things we do are in connection and community with others. My Boulder Creek UMC family has nurtured and encouraged me over the 30 years I have attended; they have been a voice to God's wisdom, a gentle shoulder to lean on, and a place to grow my faith. It is here that I have learned to be "in my own skin"; to love the person God intends me to be. Through them, I have spread my wings and shared God's love with those in our community and to those in far off places.
I also give credit to my parents, who were active in the Presbyterian Church for 60 of their 81 years of life. By example, they taught me the love of God and commitment to servanthood. Even now, their faith and love, in dealing with the depths of my father’s Alzheimer's disease, is an example to everyone they encounter.
As a Volunteers in Mission board member (and chairperson beginning in July) it is my hope AND vision to create and support mission opportunities that inspire and ignite a passion for Christ in others, whether travel takes them to the next town, state, or to the other side of the globe.
It is my greater prayer that we as Brothers and Sisters in Christ can stand as ONE:
One in love, One in friendship true,
One in hope, One in spirit too,
One in faith that God will care for you,
Until we meet again.
(This is BCUMC's closing song in worship)
In faithful servanthood,
your sister in Christ,
Rebecca (Becky) Yee Perry