By LINDA M. LINONIS
Church Women United Youngstown Area recognized the Rev. Dr. Robin Woodberry with its Valiant Woman Award during a World Community Day observance Friday.
New Bethel Baptist Church, 1507 Hillman St., where Dr. Woodberry is assistant pastor, hosted the gathering.
Jeanne Cotters Monroe, CWU president, and Florence Simon of New Bethel, presented the award. Monroe noted that Mrs. Woodberry is involved in CWU at the local level and as spiritual-enrichment adviser for the CWU Ohio and as chairwoman of the national board’s nominating committee.
Mrs. Woodberry was licensed in the ministry in 1995 under the late Rev. Lonnie Simon, who was pastor of New Bethel, and ordained in 2005 by the Rev. Kenneth L. Simon, son of the former pastor.
At New Bethel, Mrs. Woodberry oversees church administration and the youth ministries. In the community, she is first vice president of Interdemoninational Ministerial Alliance and secretary of the Community Mobilization Coalition.
Mrs. Woodberry’s call to the ministry reflects the family legacy. Her mother, the Rev. Gena Thornton, also was licensed in the ministry by the Rev. Lonnie Simon in 1976 and ordained in 1979.
“I just do what I do,” Mrs. Woodberry said of her work, adding she was appreciative of being so honored. She credited the support of her husband, Anthony; her father, Deacon Robert Thornton of New Bethel, who sang during the program; and her mother, whom she described as a trailblazer.
The Rev. Mrs. Thornton offered the meditation for the program. She used the theme of the day, “Walking through the doors of opportunity,” to note it also takes “strength, faith and courage” to use opportunity wisely. She continued that each person must agree to what God wants for them.
The Rev. Robbin Del Nagro, executive director of Mahoning Valley Association of Churches, said she hopes that MVAC develops a “new fellowship” with CWU. She noted women make up more than 50 percent of church congregations and are the ones who “extend a hand in hospitality ... a Christian virtue.”
She also noted MVAC is partnering with ACTION — Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods — as a way to put “faith into action with projects.”
Jacqueline Burley, director of Protestant Family Service, said the “agency of faith” depends on donations, grants and fundraisers. She noted from August to Oct. 31, PFS served 229 families with food that translated into $20,000 in items from its food pantry and other sources. She noted the agency is expecting more people to seek help since food-stamp allowances were cut.
PFS will host a “Make a Joyful Noise” concert at 4 p.m. Nov. 10 at Western Reserve United Methodist Church in Canfield. A free-will offering will be taken.