ACtivators assist in leadership at the annual Senior High Youth Connection, which brings several hundred Grace Presbytery young people and counselors together at Austin College each January.
A gift of $250,000 from Grace Presbytery of North Texas in October 2015 provided half the funding necessary to endow the College’s ACtivator youth ministry program, a key element of the College’s Presbyterian outreach of the past 20 years and of strategic planning for the College’s future.
“We are so grateful to Grace Presbytery for this gift and the continued opportunity to serve that it will provide to students at Austin College—and to the hundreds of young people and adults who enjoy the leadership of our ACtivator youth ministry team,” said President Marjorie Hass. “The endowment of this program will provide another lasting connection in the long and supportive relationship between Austin College and the Presbyterian Church. We thank the leaders of Grace Presbytery for meeting the first half of the endowment for this program.”
Austin College Chaplain John Williams ’84 began the College’s ACtivator program in 1995. Since then, 520 Austin College students have planned and led 600+ ministry events involving more than 48,000 youth and adults. “Since the beginning of this program, Grace Presbytery has been our faithful, generous, flexible, courageous, eager, and encouraging partner,” Williams said. “This significant and visionary gift is the most recent chapter in the long and inspiring story of the relationship between the Presbytery and Austin College.”
Joe Clifford, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, also serves on the Austin College Board of Trustees and understands the long-term benefits of the gift. “Grace Presbytery’s investment in the ACtivators is a blessing not only for Austin College but also for the Presbyterian Church (USA),” he said. “Our congregations and our Presbytery have benefited from the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love the ACtivators bring to everything they do. In turn, many ACtivators go on to leadership positions in the congregations they join later in life.”
“Grace Presbytery is very grateful for the educational strength and ministry of Austin College,” said Jan DeVries, General Presbyter of Grace Presbytery. “We have many Austin College graduates in our churches; we know the strength of the ACtivator program and the training it offers in terms of individuals discovering future ministries. This gift was representative of our deep commitment and appreciation to Austin College and the Office of the Chaplain at Austin College.”