2016 Regional Assembly Disciple of Merit Award

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REVEREND MONTEE T. AKERS, JR.

Rev. Montee T. Akers, Jr. has served the Christian Churches of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) as the last President of the Chicago Disciples Union for three years and he was in charge of the transition to closure. Reverend Akers has served as member of the General Board for over 20 years representing the Chicago Metro Area Churches. Rev. Akers has been a Pastor-Mentor to all the timothies that have interned at Park Manor and licensed by the CCIW. The list is as follows: Rev. Howard Kennon, Rev. Phillip Conyers, Rev. Larry L. Jackson, Rev. Darron Bowden, Rev. Donald Keith Gillette, Rev. Christopher Dorsey, Rev. Yvonne Hawkins, Rev. Yvonne Gilmore-Essex, Rev. Ayanna Johnson-Walker, Rev. Sandra Brown, Rev. Connie Simms, Rev. Josephine Ruffin, and Rev. Crystal Chinn.

Rev. Montee T. Akers, Jr. is currently serving as the Assistant Minister of Park Manor Christian Church. He has served under the pastorates of Rev. Richard H. Davis, Rev. Charles H. Webb, Sr., Rev. James L. Demus, III and currently under Rev. Dr. William E. Crowder, Jr., Senior Pastor. He attended Jarvis Christian College, in Hawkins, TX and he is a graduate of Eureka College, in Eureka, IL. He received his Master of Arts in Theological Studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1996 by the Christian Churches of Illinois and Wisconsin, Disciples of Christ.

Rev. Akers is a third generation Disciple and his grandfather attended Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, MS. He has served 70 years as a member of the Christian Church denomination and 60 years at Park Manor Christian. He has served Park Manor in many capacities, including Pastor of the Junior Congregation, Elder, Sunday School Teacher, Bible Class Teacher, and Interim Pastor of Park Manor Christian Church.

Rev. Akers is truly devoted to his calling and he is a prayerful man of God. Rev Akers has been married to Audrey Akers for 55 years and they have three children Vincent, Atondra, and Lamonte, Rev. Akers has five grandchildren, Mia, Jetaun, Amber, Robert, and Zachary.

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REVEREND TOM AKERS

Reverend Tom Akers is currently serving as the part-time Minister in Lawrenceville, IL and has done so for six years.  Tom and his late wife Vickie (Hebert) Akers have five children and ten grandchildren.  Tom currently resides in Robinson, IL

Reverend Akers was born in Washington County, Virginia.  He is a graduate of Oak Ridge High-school (Oak Ridge, TN), Transylvania University, and Christian Theological Seminary.

He has served churches in Illinois since June of 1969 and those churches include:
First Christian Church (Olney, IL)
Coldbrook Christian Church (Cameron IL)
First Christian Church (Robinson, IL)
Memorial Christian Church (Rock Island, IL)
First Presbyterian (Palestine, IL)
Pleasant View (Palestine, IL)
Lawrenceville First Christian Church (Lawrenceville, IL)  

Throughout the years Tom, alongside with his wife, have served on a number of committees as well as other volunteer roles within the region such as, Ministry Committee, Regional Search Committee, Chair of the Administration Committee, and volunteered a number of hours at Camp Walter Scott as Vickie served on the Camp Management Committee.  Reverend Akers continues to support and remain active in the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin.

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“BILL” DECK

Wyman “Bill” Parks Deck is a wonderful man who has committed his entire life to building up the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). He was raised in the town of Girard, Illinois and resides there still. He graduated from Eureka College in 1966 and continues to support the College to this day.

He has made multiple mission trips from going to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and many more. He has donated substantially both financially, and physically to the ministries within the Local, Regional, and General church. He is deeply committed to sharing the history of our wonderful denomination and is a beacon of hope when it comes to being an example of what it means to live out a life of discipleship. He is a great support of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. He has encouraged young ministers in their call and helped them to grow towards ordination and into their ministries.

Bill has led by example in all that he does. He is always wanting to grow and learn, and is a participative member of the Academy of Life Long Learning. Bill has worn many hats in his life, from teacher, to librarian, sailor, and Pharmaceutical assistant, which followed the tradition of many of his family members. He eventually retired as the librarian at Auburn High School. It was there that he was able to share his passion for books, and education, which he continues to share with all whom he meets to this day. Bill is a person who is about making connections and healing divisions. He is always there with a smile and story to share with you, and a willing ear to listen. Bill is the biggest fan of his hometown of Girard. He can always be seen promoting anything for his hometown. This could be anything from promoting the Pumpkin festival, to building a new community center for the town of Girard. Bill is extremely active in helping with the local food pantry and is always volunteering his time to assist with the food ministry within the community. He is an amazingly compassionate person who loves in the manner that we are called to love as disciples.

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TERRY AND FRIEDA FOLAND

As a couple, Frieda and Terry Foland have devoted a lifetime to the Disciples of Christ Denomination. 
Frieda attended Culver Stockton, College, Columbia College in Missouri, and Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.  She then pastored churches including Central Christian in Havana, Illinois.  Freida has been active in the regional camp program and has spent many summers as a counselor at Walter Scott Camp.  She has served on regional committees and is currently a Regional Elder. Freida has served as interim minister for several churches in the Illinois Region since retiring.

Terry also attended Culver Stockton College then went on to the Missouri School of Religion. He also attended Sangamon State in Springfield, Illinois.  Terry was pastor to several schools while in school then served churches including First Christian in Fayette, Missouri and Central Christian in Danville, Illinois before becoming Associate Minister for the Illinois and Wisconsin Region, where he served for 15 years.  He then became an Area Minister in the Missouri Region.

Terry was a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute for several years serving churches of many denominations all over the country.  He was instrumental in the Interim Ministry Network.

Terry has also served on numerous committees at the regional level and currently serves as Elder alongside Frieda.

Together the Folands have supported the region and each church they have attended generously with both money and time.  Frieda and Terry enjoy travel and both are avid readers.

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