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Board welcomes new members

March 26th, 2021

Ad Building with Threshing stone

When the Bethel Board of Directors convenes its spring meetings in early April, two new members will be joining for the first time.

Cynthia (Alexander) Doyle Perkins, Indianapolis, and Rev. Faith Allen, Kansas City, Mo., both board appointments, began their terms on Jan. 1.       

Both are Bethel graduates in education (Doyle Perkins in what was then called Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and Allen in English) whose vocations have since taken them in different directions.

Doyle Perkins is a native of Newton and a graduate of Newton High School. She graduated from Bethel in 1977, and later earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

After teaching and coaching in Texas for several years, Doyle Perkins took a position with the University Interscholastic League, which oversees a variety of championship competitions in the state of Texas, the first Black woman in that job.

She subsequently became an assistant director at the National Federation of High School Sports in Indianapolis, again as the first Black woman at that high level.

While at NFHSS, Doyle Perkins assisted high schools across the country handle everything from Title IX enforcement to transgender athletes to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. She edited multiple sport rule books, and was responsible for advances that increased safety measures in a variety of high school sports, including diving and pole vaulting.

In 2005, she moved back into the public schools, in Indianapolis. She is in her eighth year at Lincoln Middle School, where she is vice principal.

As a Bethel student, Doyle Perkins was a member of four championship volleyball teams, including the 1976 team that went 26-0.

She completed her senior year holding part or all of 13 women’s track and field records, some of which still stand. She was inducted into the Bethel Athletic Boosters Hall of Fame in 2004.

Doyle Perkins was married to the late Jerome Doyle, a 1976 Bethel graduate, and they had two children, Kendra Doyle and Kaitlin Doyle. Kendra graduated from Bethel in 2003 and was a championship track and field athlete in her own right, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. Doyle Perkins is married to James Perkins Jr. and has three stepchildren and several grandchildren.

“I am excited to serve on the Bethel College Board of Directors,” she said. “We are navigating unchartered water in a race to survive. There is no place I’d rather navigate than with BC alumni and supporters.”

Rev. Faith Allen graduated from Bethel in 1978. She was born in Little Rock, Ark., and lived in Wrightsville, Ark., until she was a young teenager, when her family relocated to the metro Kansas City area.

Although she planned to teach after graduating, it wasn’t easy to get a job in a metropolitan school in those days, so she went to work in the library at the Kansas City Star, where she stayed for more than two decades.

In 1990, Allen heard “the call to preach” at her home congregation, Jamison Memorial Temple CME (Christian Methodist Episcopal) Church in Kansas City, Mo.

She was an associate pastor at Jamison Memorial until 1995, when she was appointed to her first lead position, at St. John CME Church in Richmond, Mo. (still in the Kansas City metro area). She served while continuing to work at the Star and completing her master of divinity degree at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City.

She later earned a Doctor of Ministry degree at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

In July 2004, Allen was appointed the 20th pastor of the Carter Metropolitan CME Church in Detroit, where she made history as the first woman in the role. While there, she also served as president of the Detroit CME Ministerial Alliance and director of Christian education for the Michigan-Indiana Region.

She made denominational history again in 2014 when, at the CME’s 38th General Conference, she was elected General Secretary of Evangelism and Missions, the first woman to be a departmental secretary.

That year, she also returned to Jamison Memorial as pastor, where she continues to serve.

She is a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

“I was amazed and excited to learn some of the things taking place at Bethel, parallel to what’s taking place in churches and denominations,” Allen said. “I want to be a part of Bethel moving forward.

“I’m excited … to be a part of bringing [Bethel] out to more visibility. [Being on the board] a great opportunity to see how we’re shaping minds and sending them out into the world.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by lendEDU.com as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by lendEDU.com for 2020-21. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.