Congregational Awards for Excellence in Christian Education

Elinor Curry, champion of the poor and disenfranchised.

Elinor Curry, raised in Ginter Park Richmond, was a 1925 graduate of the Assembly's Training School.  She worked 20 years as the director of Christian education at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church (GPPC) frequently taking the church youth to volunteer at the 17th Street Mission, a place that offered a safe haven for the masses of poor African Americans who lived in an area called “Hell's Bottom” in Richmond Va.  Church leaders became increasingly concerned about the amount of time and energy that she was investing in 17 St. Mission and in 1945 she resigned her position at GPPC.  She spent a year working in a cafeteria that served African American nurses and then was hired to work full time for 17th Street Mission.

Curry joined nearby Eastminster Presbyterian Church, an African American Presbyterian  church (USA), and was elected one of the first women elders in the PC(US). 1n 1990, the Richmond area Presbyterians created four awards for excellence in Christian education and it was no wonder that one was the Elinor Curry Award for Outreach and Social Concern.

Since 1991, Union Presbyterian Seminary has awarded Congregational Leadership Awards for innovative ministry to 101 PC(USA) congregations in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Each of the eight awards carries a $1000 prize to support the congregation in its ministry. For more information and/or to apply for one of these awards, download the brochure and application form from our website— You may also request an electronic application from April Swofford at or 1-800-229-2990,  ext 231.  The deadline for the 2014 awards is February 15, 2014.