1999 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Harden, Hall, Horhn
Senate Resolution 33
(As Adopted by Senate)
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE REVEREND KEITH TONKEL OF WELLS MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, UPON HIS RECEIPT OF THE FRIENDSHIP AWARD PRESENTED BY JACKSON 2000 AT THE ANNUAL FRIENDSHIP BALL.
WHEREAS, the Reverend Keith Tonkel came to Jackson 30 years ago to pastor a church whose future appeared as bleak as its surroundings; and
WHEREAS, once vibrant Wells Memorial United Methodist Church was down to a few dozen members, and was falling victim to changing demographics that led other churches to follow white migration out of central Jackson, but today through the leadership of Rev. Tonkel, this church boasts at least 550 members and represents a ministry and presence in this neighborhood; and
WHEREAS, Tonkel will be one of two recipients of the Friendship Award presented by Jackson 2000 at the annual Friendship Ball; and
WHEREAS, the award honors people who bring the community together, and with a congregation best described as eclectic, Rev. Tonkel fits the criteria quite well; and
WHEREAS, Keith graduated from Millsaps in 1962 and graduated from Emory University School of Theology in Atlanta, is Sunday school and ministerial director of "The United Methodist Hour," which airs throughout the Southeast, and his awards include: Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society, Pi Kappa Delta National Speech and Oratory Society; Alpha Psi Omega National Dramatics and Theatrical Arts Society; and Outstanding Young Man from Gulfport Jaycees, Sertoma Service to Mankind Award; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Tonkel's strong leadership in everyday community outreach in which his church has been involved includes the following: Operation Shoestring, which serves underprivileged members of the community, a neighborhood health clinic, Habitat for Humanity, establishment of the Jackson Medical Mall that rejuvenated the deteriorating Jackson Mall, sponsors the annual Wellsfest public celebration, runs Wells House for the aged, offers programs for nearby Galloway Elementary, and perhaps most importantly, listens to the voices of the neighborhood; and
WHEREAS, Keith was married in 1968 to the former Patsy Myrick, and the couple have three children and several foster children, and it is with great pride that we recognize this individual for his dedication to his church and community:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend Reverend Keith Tonkel, Pastor of Wells Memorial United Methodist Church for his receipt of the Friendship Award presented by Jackson 2000 at the February 27, 1999, Friendship Ball.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Rev. Tonkel and his family and be made available to members of the Capitol Press Corps.