MTS Graduate Rev. Paul Atkins has received the Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness from Hendrix College. The following information comes from the Hendrix College website:

“An ordained deacon serving Canvas Community United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Paul Atkins is the son and grandson of life-long Methodists…

While attending Memphis Theological Seminary, his experience volunteering at a ministry with people experiencing homelessness knocked him off his intended path back to music ministry. His family (including daughter Elizabeth, born in 2008) moved to Little Rock to do church differently, where they connected with Canvas Community in 2011.

At Canvas, Atkins has developed relationships with his friends experiencing homelessness and tried to find ways to connect them with the rest of Canvas and the wider church. When his friends go to jail for various reasons, Paul visits them and has organized a monthly note-writing ministry. He has led Bible studies trying to draw together people from different backgrounds.

This past April, Canvas and the City of Little Rock piloted a program called Bridge to Work, which offers people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to work picking up trash around the city as well as get connected with services to help them get to their next step. Hundreds have participated in the program and been able to earn a day’s pay, get identification documents, access to health insurance and health and job search services, and some have found permanent jobs. Overall, Paul believes God is calling rich people and poor people to know and care about each other and to live into God’s web of loving kindness where all are family.”

Congratulations, Rev. Atkins!