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  • Alumni

Brenda Breeden Receives Cross and Flame Award


Brenda Breeden of Abilene has been named the 2011 recipient of the Cross and Flame Award for the Northwest Texas Annual Conference. Breeden was honored during the Sunday morning service at St. James United Methodist Church on August 14.

Brenda has served as a dedicated ambassador to both McMurry and the United Methodist Church for over 40 years. She is being recognized for her many years of service with the McMurry University Cross and Flame Award for 2011 for the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Brenda began her relationship with McMurry as a student in the 1960s where she worked as a student worker in the business office. After marrying, she left McMurry for a few years but soon returned as a fulltime business office employee. She has now served as the smiling face at the McMurry business office window for over 30 years, currently as Director of Student Accounts. As students deal with the difficulty of understanding their financial statements, Brenda serves as a compassionate, understanding and knowledgeable resource. She is well-respected by her coworkers, being selected to serve on the Staff Council, SACS Advisory Committee, and in 1997-1998, she was honored as the Staff Member of the Year. She also received the Cabinet’s Exemplary Service Award in 2007. Brenda returned to the classroom earning an Associate Degree in 1996 and her Bachelors in Christian Education in 2000.

Brenda comes from a large “McMurry family,” including a brother, husband, two daughters, a son, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and a niece—all who attended McMurry, several by her influence. Additionally, she regularly supports McMurry financially as a yearly contributor to the McMurry Fund. She serves as the McMurry representative for her home church and is a member of the McMurry Women’s Club, where she is currently serving a second term as President, following her first presidency in 2003-2004. She participates in the club’s activities, including baking cakes for students on their birthday and joining the members as they design and assemble their annual quilt, both used as fundraisers to benefit student scholarships.

Her service to the United Methodist Church is one of longevity, diversity and passion. “Active” cannot begin to describe her involvement with St. James UMC, and specifically the United Methodist Women. In her home church of St. James UMC in Abilene, she is a “jane-of-all-trades”—an endless vessel of diversified talents. On any given Sunday morning, you can find Brenda in one of the following roles:

photographing for the church scrapbook, operating the sound booth, putting on a puppet show, teaching second grade Sunday School, or cataloging books as the church’s librarian. When she’s not at church, she has been known to repaint nativity scene characters, work on the church’s yearly scrapbook, support the church’s fair booth, or put together costumes for the Living Last Supper. On top of all of this, Brenda also serves on the District Committee of Ministry.

She has served on numerous church committees including Lay Leadership, SPRC, History & Archives, and chair of the Worship Committee. Currently, she serves on the committee organizing an event celebrating St. James’ 50th Birthday. With each St. James event, she takes the initiative to promote the event to family, friends and coworkers, encouraging them to attend.

She has served as not only the President for the local United Methodist Women (UMW) chapter, but as President for the district for five years—a role that typically only serves for two or four years. Other past roles in the UMW include four years as Communications Director for the Abilene District, five years as Vice President in the local chapter, four years as District Vice President, and she currently serves as the chair of local arrangements for the UMW’s South Central Jurisdiction. In addition, she currently serves as Treasurer of the local chapter. Brenda regularly attends UMW conferences representing her district, including the yearly legislative event in Austin. She has served for one year as Assistant Dean and one year as the Dean of the UMW’s School of Christian Mission, and was an integral influence in bringing the school to the McMurry campus in 2009 as an annual event.

Established in 2000 by the McMurry Alumni Association, this award is given to strengthen the relationship between McMurry University and the United Methodist Church by recognizing individuals for service to their churches and to the University.