Duke Chapel Announces Humanitarian Service Award Recipients

Oct. 4 ceremony will honor Patricia James of Durham Triple Play Long Ball Program and Marcia Owen of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham

Patricia James (left) founder of Durham Triple Play Long Ball Program and Marcia Owen (right) director of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham
Patricia James (left) founder of Durham Triple Play Long Ball Program and Marcia Owen (right) director of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham

Duke University Chapel will present its 2015 Humanitarian Service Award to two Durham community members during a reception Sunday, Oct. 4. The recipients are Patricia James, founder of Durham Triple Play Long Ball Program, a nonprofit youth baseball program, and Marcia Owen, director of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, which seeks to prevent and rectify the injustices of violence in Durham.Owen and James will be honored during a program at 4 p.m. Sunday in Duke Divinity School’s Alumni Memorial Commons Room. The event is free and open to the public.Each will receive a grant of $1,500 to further humanitarian efforts. James, an employee of the Duke Community Service Center, founded the Durham Triple Play Long Ball Program in 2010. She created the league as part of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities initiative with a mission of social, physical and educational development through playing baseball. Since its inception, Durham Long Ball has received national recognition and has helped develop numerous young men in the “triple play” of academics, baseball and community. One supporter of James’ nomination wrote, “Patricia believes that the only way to truly win is by working together for the betterment of all communities.” In 1992, Owen and some pastors and leaders from the Durham community decided to respond to the violence they witnessed in the city by hosting prayer vigils at the sites of murders. The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham has grown out of this vigil ministry. In addition to vigils, the coalition now hosts monthly community luncheon roundtable meetings, weekly food delivery to families of homicide victims and volunteer teams that support men and women in transitioning out of prison. Owen, a Duke alumnae, is also a coauthor of the book, “Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence.”A letter in support of Owen said, “She has an ever-giving heart and boundless stamina for this difficult and challenging work. … She is our ‘Mother Teresa’ in Durham.”The chapel’s Humanitarian Service Award aims to recognize individuals with a commitment to service and simplicity and is inspired by the lives of two Duke professors: Dr. George R. Parkerson Jr. and the late Professor C. Eric Lincoln.