Meadors, CahoonOn September 24, Candler recognized Pamela A. Cahoon 77T and Marshall L. (Jack) Meadors 58T with the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement, an honor presented to alumni for their work in service to Candler, the church, the academy and/or the community.

Pam Cahoon retired in 2014 after 36 years as executive director of CROS Ministries (Christians Reaching Out to Society) in Palm Beach County, Florida. An elder in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), Cahoon was the first staff member of CROS, which was founded by a group of United Methodist churches to address the community’s unmet needs. Under her leadership, CROS grew into an interfaith agency with more than 3,000 volunteers and a variety of programs to prevent poverty, food insecurity and homelessness. Apart from CROS, Cahoon has served in leadership roles of many community service organizations, including as the first president of the Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, Inc. She was integral in bringing Habitat for Humanity to Palm Beach County, serving on its first board, and was a founding board member of Teen Musical Theatre, a program for teens who could not afford private music lessons. She is also on the board of directors of the Palm Beach County Food Bank. Cahoon is a five-time delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the UMC, and has served on the denomination’s General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.

Retired United Methodist Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer is one among many of Cahoon’s admirers, and wrote a letter in support of her nomination for the award.

“I believe that when people and groups met Pam, they were captured by her authentic witness and caring,” she wrote. “She believed in the mission of CROS and embodied that mission by her life’s work. When people began to note her capacity to effect change to better the lives of people, they wanted to be a part of what she was leading.”

Kenneth H. Carter, resident bishop of the Florida Episcopal Area of the UMC, also stressed the significance of Cahoon’s ability to connect with others. “Pam’s leadership has been compassionate and effective, relational and prophetic.”

Marshall L. “Jack” Meadors served as pastor and district superintendent in the South Carolina Conference of the UMC for 34 years. In 1992, he was elected bishop by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and served the Mississippi Conference until he retired in 2000. Meadors served on the Anderson County School Board, where he worked to integrate public schools, and was appointed by South Carolina Governor Richard Riley to the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging and the South Carolina Commission on Aging, which he chaired for five years. As bishop, he served on the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the General Board of Church and Society, and the University Senate. He also headed the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference, a group of religious leaders who worked to promote tolerance and understanding of diversity. He and his wife, Hannah, chaired a special denominational task force charged with emphasizing the rights of children, which led to the creation of the United Methodist Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty. Meadors served as chair of this task force from 1996 to 2000, during which time he participated in a special session of the United Nations dealing with issues affecting children around the world. In 1999, he was part of a delegation led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson that secured the release of three American prisoners of war in Belgrade, Serbia. And in 2000, Meadors returned to his alma mater, serving as Candler’s bishop-in-residence for five years. He holds five honorary degrees and is a trustee of Wofford College in South Carolina and a trustee emeritus of Emory University.

In nominating Meadors, T.B. Skinner 60T 67T wrote: “Like [John] Wesley, Jack sees the world as his parish.”

Another supporter, Cermette Clardy Jr. 65T, points to Meadors’ tireless work for those who are marginalized. “Jack has been a voice of commitment, compassion, grace and social awareness for three generations of United Methodists and others,” wrote Clardy. “He has been an outspoken advocate for all those who are on the margins of society. He calls for the church to be a prophet, not a pacifier.”

Candler Dean Jan Love added her praise at the award ceremony, pointing to the recipients as outstanding models of Christian servant leaders.

“Throughout their lives of service, Pam and Jack have embodied Candler’s core values and fulfilled its mission, acting as faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world,” says Love. “They are truly exemplary, and we are grateful for their gifts and accomplishments.”