This speech was given on June 7th by Dr. David Jennings on the Nyack College NYC Campus. The following are his remarks regarding the A.B. Simpson Award and its inaugural recipient: Reverend Wendy Calderon-Payne.
Albert Benjamin Simpson was a leading evangelist, scholar, social reform activist and pastor. A.B. Simpson, in his pursuit of reaching the poor and immigrants in New York City, welcomed them to the esteemed church that he pastored in lower Manhattan. When the religious leadership of the church opposed him, he decided to resign from his prestigious pastorate and founded the Missionary Training Institute, now known as Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, which equipped people from diverse denominational backgrounds to become missionaries in order to reach the unreached people groups of the world. He was also the founding pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle, a church that would welcome the most destitute people in New York City which grew into a world-wide movement called the Christian and Missionary Alliance. In the 1800s before desegregation, women’s suffrage, and long before the still needed and long-awaited immigration reform, A.B. Simpson was training, empowering, and graduating women and men, blacks and immigrants to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
It is our desire to recognize some of the modern-day ministry leaders who are impacting our city with the same kind of vision, leadership and passion for Jesus and the marginalized. We understand that all of us are ministering in the footsteps of those who have gone before us and Nyack wants to begin honoring those who have led the way. This A.B. Simpson award is intended to recognize a person who embodies the values of A.B Simpson by empowering young and emerging leaders who labor to bring the whole gospel to the whole world. This person champions the cause of the disenfranchised, empowers women, aids and helps immigrants, and serves as a catalyst to bring unity among a sea of diverse ethnicities and races. Like A.B. Simpson, the awardee is a bridge builder to bring the church together across denominational lines to promote the unity of the Body of Christ and further the gospel for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Our inaugural honoree of the A. B. Simpson Award is the Reverend Wendy Calderon-Payne. She is a graduate with honors from Brown University with a degree in Latin American Studies. Her leadership of Bronx Connect, where she serves as the Executive Director, is exactly the kind of work and ministry that Dr. Simpson would have supported and sent Nyack students to at the turn of the 20th century. Around the values of Love, Action and Justice Bronx Connect is connecting young people labeled by society as “troubled” with mentors so that they can be restored and realize all that God has intended for their unique lives.
Reverend Wendy also serves as the Director of Seekers where she creates opportunities for student led ministry in high schools and colleges across the entire city. Before Reverend Wendy comes forward I would like to show a short video about the Seekers ministry.
On behalf of Nyack College we present the 2018 inaugural A. B. Simpson Award for service to the youth of New York City to Reverend Wendy Calderon-Payne.