Catawba College and Its Chaplain Recognized by Southern Conference of UCC
June 21, 2012
Catawba College and the Rev. Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp, the college's chaplain and senior vice president, were recognized at the annual conference of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. The June 14-16 conference event, held at the Holiday Inn in Salisbury, was hosted by the Western Association.
Partner in Ministry Award
The college received the "Partner in Ministry" award in recognition of its "faithful partnership with the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ." The denomination was responsible for the founding of the college in Newton, N.C., 161 years ago; the college relocated to Salisbury, N.C. in 1925.
In a time when many church-related colleges have abandoned the relationship with their founders, Catawba has continued to honor the relationship, considers its values as an institution to be informed by the church relationship, and seeks to help its students make those values an important part of their educational journey and of their lives. Catawba also has continued its rich tradition of preparing students for vocations of ministry and service to the church. The college is one of a handful of institutions of higher education in this country that offers preparation for service in outdoor ministry careers such as directors of camps and conference centers. In this way, the college renders an important service not only to the United Church of Christ, but also to all denominations that operate outdoor ministry facilities.
During the past year, Catawba worked closely with the Southern Conference to craft a situation that is seen as a 'win-win' for both institutions as the college assumed management of one of the Conference's outdoor ministry sites, the Black Lake Retreat and Conference Center in Asheboro. This partnership will make it possible for members of the Southern Conference churches to continue to have benefit of the retreat center while at the same time Catawba students benefit from having a laboratory at their disposal for hands-on, experiential learning.
Clergy of the Year Award for the Western Association
The Southern Conference recognized one clergy person from each of its three geographical regions with the "Clergy of the Year Award." The Rev. Dr. Clapp was the Western Association recipient. He was the major architect of the lease arrangement that Catawba made with the Southern Conference for the Black Lake Center. Additionally, he has been available to preach and help with programs at congregations of the Association and works closely with various areas of the life of the congregations.
The Rev. Dr. Clapp has been active in encouraging youth to enter the Christian ministry, has supervised interns serving local churches, and is often sought as a counselor by other clergy.
A native of Whitsett, N.C., the Rev. Dr. Clapp is the son of the late J. Ernest and Lillian Hutchens Clapp. He is a 1970 alumnus of Catawba College where he served as student body president. He earned his master's degree from Yale University Divinity School and his doctorate of divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary.
He has served as pastor of Emanuel United Church of Christ in Lincolnton and as minister of education at North Haven Congregational United Church of Christ in North Haven, Conn. He was the executive director of Blowing Rock Assembly Grounds, a 300-bed conference and retreat center before joining Catawba College in 1989. He was installed as the college's chaplain in February of 1990 and has served in that role and other capacities during his tenure. In addition to his current roles as chaplain and senior vice president at Catawba, the Rev. Dr. Clapp serves as director of Catawba's Lilly Center for Vocation and Values.