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'Twick' Morrison, racial justice advocate, dies

A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*

Feb. 8, 2008

Martha Cooper
"Twick" Morrison

Martha Cooper "Twick" Morrison, 76, a champion of racial justice and reconciliation in Mississippi and across The United Methodist Church, died Feb. 7 at home in Vicksburg with her family, following a 20-month battle with lung cancer.

"My wife was a remarkable woman who was loved dearly by her family," said Robert Morrison, husband of 55 years.

She was born in Turner's Station, Ky., and graduated from Blue Mountain College with a bachelor of arts degree. She later was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree. She also received a master of arts degree in English from the University of Mississippi.

Morrison was president of the Foundation for United Methodist Communications from 2004 to 2006, and served on its board of directors for 10 years. The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, described Morrison as a "tireless advocate for justice and a determined voice for ending poverty."

As the president of Foundation for United Methodist Communications, Morrison brought "enthusiasm and generosity" to the foundation’s work, Hollon said. She "energized others and inspired us all to work harder for our mission to communicate effectively about poverty and to provide the means for those without voice to have the tools, training and capacity to tell their own stories," he said. Under her leadership, the foundation more than doubled its charitable income.

"She will be greatly missed, but her commitment to doing the right thing for all people will live on through her hundreds of friends," Hollon said. "Standing for justice, embracing all and living out compassion is her legacy."

‘Sent for a purpose’

Morrison served in numerous leadership and teaching capacities on local, regional and national levels for more than 50 years across the denomination, including as vice president of the Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. She taught in the Schools of Christian Mission, an annual education program from the Women's Division, and was a leader of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference, coordinating the work of the laity across the state.

"She was a very special person who touched a lot of lives."– Jackie Pennington

She was one of five United Methodist lay representatives in the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and participated in mission trips in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central America, South America and the Caribbean Basin. She was also founding member of the Good Shepherd Community Center in Vicksburg, Miss. and was recently named a recipient of the Livesay Service Award by United Methodist-related Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. She was a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church in Vicksburg.

"It is hard to sum up Twick in a few words," said Jackie Pennington, a friend and president of the Mississippi Conference of United Methodist Women. "She was a very special person who touched a lot of lives."

Mississippi Bishop Hope Morgan Ward agreed. "The arms of Twick's faith were always up and out. You saw God in her, with her, through her and around her. She was sent among us for a purpose."

‘A powerful presence’

According to Lois Dauway, an executive with the Women's Division, Morrison "was small in height, but had a powerful presence in very profound ways."

Dauway noted Morrison’s passion for racial justice. "I found it inspiring to meet a woman with such passion from Mississippi. She was a very savvy person who understood and loved the church enough to challenge its structure and policies."

Before her death, Morrison designed her "celebration of life service," including the prayers, liturgy, hymns, said Ward, adding that Morrison wanted the Lord's Prayer recited at her funeral. She placed an emphasis on "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven."

In addition to her husband, survivors include two sons and their wives, Paul Cooper and Frances Rone Morrison of Jackson, Miss., and Robert R. III and Corin Coleman Morrison of Vicksburg, as well as seven grandchildren.

The funeral service was scheduled for Feb. 9 at Crawford Street United Methodist Church. Burial was to follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Crawford Street United Methodist Church, 1408 Cherry St., Vicksburg, MS 39180, or Good Shepherd Community Center, 629 Cherry St., Vicksburg, MS 39180.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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