With Katherine Rutherman
This story first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Kentucky Wesleyan Magazine.
To view the full magazine, click here.
A generous gift to Kentucky Wesleyan College from Rev. Dr. Glenn ’53 and Charlotte ’56 Morrow Sowards will provide a new campus ministries office behind the chapel. The John Mark Sowards Office of Campus Ministries will be named in memory of their grandson, who passed away at birth on Nov. 5, 2003, and will be dedicated this fall. Their two children, Wesley Glenn Sowards and Julie Ann Sowards Allen, are both Wesleyan graduates. They have four other grandchildren. The Sowards live in Hopkinsville, Ky.
Kentucky Wesleyan honored Glenn with an honorary doctorate of divinity in 1975, the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2006 and election to the board of trustees as an emeritus trustee in 2006.
How did you meet?
“Glenn attended Wesleyan, and he came to a square dance at Owensboro Senior High School, where I was a student. Neither of us remembers what we did on our first date, but we probably saw a movie and then went to Gabe’s for pie and Cokes, because that it was we usually did. We were married in 1954.”
Tell us about your memories of Wesleyan.
“I was called to the ministry in high school. My pastor encouraged me to attend a Methodist college, so I enrolled at Kentucky Wesleyan in Winchester. The College moved to Owensboro after my sophomore year. There was tremendous excitement in Owensboro about the new College, which was located in various buildings downtown. The present campus was a cornfield south of town. I remember the thrill of helping break ground for the new student center as president of the Student Government Association.”
“I think of the strong foundations and the friendships of a lifetime formed here. We just had lunch with a group of friends from those years. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Tell us about your careers.
“I earned my master’s degree in divinity from Vanderbilt University and served a number of Methodist congregations. I was also district superintendent of the Hopkinsville District and the Owensboro District and was interim district superintendent of the Madisonville District for one year. I retired as minister of visitation at Settle Memorial in Owensboro after 12 years.”
“I earned an M.S. in library science and taught and was a school librarian in several cities.”
Tell us about your lives in the ministry:
“We made a commitment together to ministry very early in our marriage. My role model was the wife of my childhood pastor. She loved people and reached out to people. It was my goal to do the same thing. I concentrated on education in the local church, teaching children and leading women’s Bible studies. I was also very involved in United Methodist Women in the Kentucky Conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction and served as conference president four years. I was a lay delegate to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church twice.”
“I always felt called to ministry in the local church, and I never had second thoughts about that calling. I loved visiting members of the congregation and loved to preach. I never forgot the people after we moved. They were very dear to me. I have to add that Charlotte has been a great partner in ministry, and the church members always loved her. Every time we left a church, the people said, ‘We are sorry you’re leaving, but is there any way Charlotte can stay?’”
What are your interests and leisure activities?
“I collect antique John Deere tractors which I occasionally exhibit. I have a fountain pen collection and enjoy photography and gardening.”
“Books and book fairs. I collect first editions of Kentucky authors, including Jesse Stuart and Janice Holt Giles. I enjoy the antique tractors, too! We also enjoy traveling and have visited a number of countries and U. S. national parks.”
What is the secret of your long-time happy marriage?
“Mutual interests and commitment to ministry.”
After all these years, what does Wesleyan mean to you?
“I am grateful for Wesleyan’s strong influence on my ministry, particularly of Dr. Ed Beavin, who taught Old Testament. When I was pursuing my master’s degree at Vanderbilt, I learned he was well-respected there. He was a giant of Wesleyan history. And I think of where Wesleyan is today. We are encouraged and feel the College’s best days are ahead. President Darrell is dedicated to The Wesleyan Way; he is a doer and those wheels are always turning. You can almost hear them when you talk to him. The College is moving ahead.”
Why do you give to your alma mater?
“We made giving to the College a priority early in our marriage. We are called to give back because the College gave to us immeasurably. We have always felt we could never truly pay for our College educations, because our Wesleyan training and formation has served us throughout our lives.”
“We believe in Christian higher education. Our best avenue of support is Kentucky Wesleyan because we received something very special here. The influence of Christian ministries is vital to the future of Wesleyan, and we are honored to give.”