Barbara Prescott

Post written by Maxie Dunnam

The WORD is often more powerfully spoken on the street, in the banquet hall or over coffee than in the pulpit. It happened for me last night. The Women’s Foundation of Memphis honored six women with the 2013 Legends Award. These women were thrilling and challenging witnesses to commitment and accomplishment. They deserved recognition and affirmation.

In this secular and social setting, the Word was spoken in many ways, but it was powerfully spoken by Barbara Prescott, one of the “Legends” and a member of our Christ Church in Memphis.

Barbara has been one of my heroes during the past couple of years. I believe public education is the civil rights issue of the 21st Century, and we are in a monumental struggle with that issue in our city. One of the primary reasons Barbara was honored is that she is a “tireless advocate for world-class public education.” She has been in the thick of our Memphis education struggle and has been a powerful witness and advocate for quality education for all children. She has served as chair of the Transition Planning Commission, guiding the merger of the Memphis City and Shelby County School Districts, which is one of the most monumental enterprises in public education in the nation.

Each honoree was given five minutes to respond to having been selected as a “Legend.” What a rich experience…hearing these witnesses! The Word was spoken by a number of them, but spoken with clarity and power by Barbara. She did her “always gracious thing,” expressing gratitude and appreciation then she sought to give a reason for her life and life-style. In less than three minutes (preachers, take note), she shared her favorite parable, “the parable of the talents,” reminding us that everyone has some talent or talents. The talent has been given us by God, so it is ours to be responsible for. Talents are given by God not for our own self-enhancement, but for the common good. If we would pool our talent for the common good, Memphis would be a city God would be pleased with.

Amen, Barbara, and congratulations on this great and deserved honor.


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