Summer Celebration revives spirit of attendees

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Summer Celebration 2014 crowd
See 2014 Kopio winners
See photos of July 1 fireworks
See photos of Summer Celebration or visit

More than 2,300 people from across the nation gathered at Lipscomb University June 29-July 1 to be spiritually revived at Lipscomb University’s 2014 Summer Celebration, three days of faith, fun and fellowship.

Through hundreds of sessions, performances, films and activities with the theme, “Reviving the Mission,” Summer Celebration inspired attendees to return home and revive the mission of their local congregations to reclaim lost ground in our culture and set a spirit of evangelism.

“Here, we get confirmation, affirmation, insight and inspiration that we’re on the right trajectory with our ministry,” said Tom Reynolds, executive director of The Way, an alcohol and drug addiction recovery program for men in Huntsville, Ala.

“One of the classes we were in with (new Lipscomb Bible dean) Leonard Allen was on dealing with outsiders and the culture they dwell in. For me, dealing with addicts is almost the epitome of the ‘I-want-it-now culture.’ So it’s a great opportunity to bring Christ into that mindset and that attitude and to see the transformative power in not only the men themselves, but in their families and relationships,” he said

“Our prayer was that by the time everyone left on Tuesday, they would each feel called to revive the mission of Jesus Christ in their congregations. We hope they have renewed confidence that Christ is leading, and that God wants to move and work through those committed to His cause,” said Scott Sager, one of the lead coordinators of Summer Celebration.

Summer Celebration also debuted a number of new innovations and activities this year, including:

  • Evening children’s program at Kidz Blitz;
  • A new Summer Celebration mobile app that included schedules, speaker biographies and additional information about the event; and
  • The Faith and Culture film festival, featuring four faith-based, thought-provoking films including, “Unconditional” and “Letters to God.”

Summer Celebration concluded July 1 with the annual family picnic, concert by the Annie Moses Band and professional fireworks display, attended by thousands from the Lipscomb family, the local community and across the nation.

“I like seeing so many people come together to share the same faith and same values and spend time with God as a family,” said Kyrsten Turner, a 2014 Lipscomb graduate from Atlanta.

To see photos from picnic and other Summer Celebration activities, click here.

2014 Kopio Awards
Three local servants were honored during Summer Celebration with the 2014 Kopio Awards, given by Lipscomb University to community members who have tirelessly given of themselves in service to God and the community. Winners this year were Connie L. Seabrooks, principal, Tennessee Prison for Women; Nancy and Marlin Connelly Jr., minister and Lipscomb professor and scholar; and Hugh and Diana Travis, Scout executive, Middle Tennessee Council, Boy Scouts of America. 

The name “Kopio” comes from a Greek word describing one who labors to the point of utter exhaustion with the help, and for the glory, of God. Lipscomb University established the Kopio Awards to honor those individuals who give of themselves in this manner in service to God and the community.

Connie L. Seabrooks
Connie Seabrooks has served as principal for the Tennessee Prison for Women, home of the Lipscomb LIFE program, for 16 years and is acting director of education for the department of corrections for the State of Tennessee.  In her 40 years of correctional experience, one of her greatest achievements is being instrumental in partnering with Lipscomb University to establish the LIFE program (Lipscomb Initiative For Education) where Lipscomb students join inmates at the Tennessee Prison for Women for undergraduate classes taught by Lipscomb faculty. In December of 2013, Lipscomb awarded its first associate degrees to nine inmates of the prison. Beyond her work in academe, she is a leader in several community organizations and is an active member of First Baptist Church South Inglewood. She is married to Glenn C. Seabrooks Sr. They have three children and twin grandsons.

She was awarded the Kopio Award for having, “ the vision and wisdom to help launch the Lipscomb LIFE program,” said Richard Goode, professor of history and director of the LIFE program, as he presented the award. “Her vocation is love and grace. She has taken time for the many and for the one. When tending to her sheep, she accomplishes her vocation sometimes with words, sometimes with actions and sometimes with her presence.”

Seabrooks received a standing ovation as she was presented with the award.

“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award,” she said. “My greatest joy is watching God work. I thank God for allowing me to be a vessel to do His will. I thank Lipscomb University for the impact it has had on the community and the Tennessee Prison for Women.”

Nancy and Marlin Connelly Jr.
Nancy and Marlin Connelly Jr.
were awarded the Kopio, for their lifelong service to Christian education at Lipscomb and ministry within the Church of Christ. The many generations of Lipscomb students who were taught by Connelly during his 33 years as a Lipscomb Bible and speech/communication professor, were represented during the ceremony by Jim Thomas, Lipscomb faculty and special assistant to the president, and Beth Harwell, Tennessee’s first female Speaker of the House.

Thomas noted that Nancy Connelly spent years serving as “Lipscomb students’ surrogate mom,” as well as the real mother to three children and devoted wife to Marlin for 58 years as of this December. Harwell shared that when people ask her what prepared her for public service, she fondly recalls her classes at Lipscomb and especially Marlin Connelly’s introduction to speech class.

“On behalf of your students, thank you for being such a wonderful influence,” Harwell told Connelly, who accepted the award from Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry.

“This award reminds me of a flame--the light you have brought into thousands of lives and the warmth that you have shared with so many,” Lowry said.

Connelly is a 1957 Lipscomb graduate. He earned his master's from Temple University and a doctorate from The Ohio State University. He has been a minister for the Calhoun Church of Christ in Georgia, the Pitman Church of Christ in New Jersey and Indian Springs Church of Christ in Ohio.

In June of 1967, he headed to Lipscomb University to teach Bible and speech/communications, where he was a popular professor for 33 years and was appointed the first Batsell Barrett Baxter Chair of Preaching. He preached at Bellevue Church of Christ for 26 years, followed by 14 years at Hillsboro Church of Christ, then another seven at Bellevue. Connelly and his wife Nancy have three grown children—Phil, Pam and Andy—all Lipscomb University graduates.

Diana and Hugh Travis
Hugh Travis,
scout executive for the Middle Tennessee Council, Boy Scouts of America, and his wife, Diana, were recognized for their tireless support of Boy Scouts and their service to the community.

“Hugh and Diana Travis have devoted 38 years of tireless service to boy scouts across Tennessee,” said J.D. Elliot, of the Memorial Foundation, when presenting the award. “They are living examples of what it means to put service above self. They set high expectations for self and always remember who helped them along the way.”

As the Middle Tennessee Council scout executive, Hugh Travis oversees scouting in the 37-county area serving 35,000 scouts and volunteer leaders. He began his scouting career in Middle Tennessee as district executive, and then advanced to director of field service. He went on to serve as scout executive in Johnson City, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla., before moving to California as associate regional director for the western region. He holds the God and Country Award and is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University and is active with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Alignment Nashville and the Nashville Rotary Club. He serves as an Advisory Board Member of U.S. Bank. The Travis’ have two sons who are Eagle Scouts. They reside in Franklin, Tenn.

“We are truly humbled by this recognition,” said Hugh. “We have tried to labor for the glory of God and to give of ourselves for the betterment of others. We humbly say thank you.”