Scott Morgan was father to three WCCS alumni. For many years, he was a loyal supporter of WCCS, having served as a member of the Board, a proud cheerleading dad, and even a substitute teacher. Read here about his family’s “journey of faith” during his battle with cancer through the words of his wife, Ann Morgan.
The week of April 7, 2014 began as most other weeks with the exception that Scott, my husband, was beginning his second round of antibiotics and steroids for his “allergies” (or so we thought). Scott went to work Monday morning, but as the morning wore on, he went to his parents’ home just blocks from his office to rest. Scott’s brother, Dr. Todd Morgan, saw Scott late in the afternoon, ran some blood work, and immediately had Scott admitted to the hospital due to his blood counts. After 3 units of blood and 1 of platelets and an overnight stay, Scott was transferred to Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. After multiple tests, the doctors diagnosed Scott with Burkitt Lymphoma Leukemia.
As a family, we developed a plan of action and worked the plan! Scott began his first chemotherapy treatment on April 11, thus beginning our “journey of faith.” Sometimes, the plan we develop does not go the way we expect, but God goes before us, walks beside us, and hems us in with his love and care. After seven months of chemotherapy, hospitalizations, spinal taps, two brain surgeries, bone marrow tests, and several trips to the emergency room, Scott was healed…not the way we expected but rather with a new, eternal body free of pain or hurt. On October 25, 2014, we celebrated Scott’s “homecoming.”
"Sometimes, the plan we develop does not go the way we expect, but God goes before us..."
Through this journey, we learned as a family that the Lord is faithful no matter our circumstances. We held on to the phrase “Eternal Glory > Cancer.” As Believers, we are promised a future glory of which Paul writes in Romans 8. And as weak and fallible jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7-17), we hold the true and powerful message of Salvation inside of us. And although we are faced with great suffering, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about the power of what we hold inside of us in the face of persecution, sickness, etc. God’s gracious promise of eternal glory outweighs all the troubles of this world and “causes thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
"The Lord is faithful, no matter our circumstances."
Scott’s greatest passion was living out his faith as a family man totally dedicated to his wife, three children, parents, and extended family. He thrived on helping others – sometimes with a kind word of correction or instruction, guidance on a career, and even advice on dating and selecting your future spouse. Scott had a heart for young people in pursuit of their calling in life. It was not unusual for him to email one of the children’s friends advising them on the upcoming semester’s course load – encouraging them to take the harder path that would in the long-run better prepare them for their goals.
In honor of Scott’s memory, our family has decided to preserve his legacy of loving others and helping them discover God’s calling on their life through the J. Scott Morgan Scholarship Fund at WCCS. Our prayer is to see WCCS graduates prayerfully discerning the Lord’s call of how to serve others after they leave WCCS.
The Morgan Family and WCCS are excited to share that the first scholarship will be awarded in January 2018. The J. Scott Morgan Scholarship will be awarded annually to one WCCS alumnus/a enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a collegiate institution.
We caught up with alumna, Elise Denney, ’13, recently and asked her to share with us some thoughts about “life after WCCS” and how she continues to grow in her relationship with Christ and her desire to bless the world around her for His Kingdom’s sake! She had some wise words to share with our current WCCS students about truly seeking after the Lord and being a part of His Church!
If you had told “high school Elise” that she would be spending her summer working for the student ministry of a local church, she probably would not have believed you. Don’t get me wrong, I knew church was important, but I thought it could be substituted for other things…chapel, small group, retreats, youth group, maybe even bible class....anything to get me out of waking up early on Sunday mornings. Often times as a student at WCCS, opportunities to encounter Christ are conveniently woven into our daily school schedule. Without a doubt, this is an incredible blessing, but we have to be careful that it does not become a normalcy or an excuse to not seek the Lord on our own.
"Often times as a student at WCCS, opportunities to encounter Christ are conveniently woven into our daily school schedule."
Fast forward to college and now I can see how the Lord was pursuing me in ways that puts my half-hearted pursuit of Him to shame. When choosing a college, strong Christian community was not among the top of my priority list. In fact, I’m sorry to say that it was not really something I considered even a little bit. Fortunately, the Lord is endlessly faithful and knows what we need before we even know how to ask for it. At Clemson, I found friends that truly reflected Christ in the incredible way that they loved others. These same friends invited me to attend Grace Church and I became a member after about a year of attending regularly.
Grace Church has a summer internship program called Kairos that I was blessed to be a part of this past summer. Kairos is a 10 week internship where you work in a particular ministry area (I worked in student ministry) while also taking discipleship courses. You live with a host family that attends the church while interning. Some of my service jobs included planning events and mission trips for their youth group and building relationships with the middle and high schoolers that attended.
As I reflect on the summer I spent with Grace Church, I am filled with gratitude and wonder. Kairos is a unique experience that gives you a rare, close-up look to how Christ passionately pursues the Church as His bride again and again. Kairos has filled me with new life and urgency for personally loving and serving the church. This was something I thought I understood before, but now I have been humbled enough to see how I approached the church solely as a consumer. The question in my mind has changed from “What can the church do for me?” to “What can I do for the church?”. I now understand more deeply how thankfully and reverently we should approach an institution that God has promised to sustain forever. It’s amazing that He allows us be a part of that even in our brokenness—a brokenness He chooses again and again to use for His ultimate glory. It is this beautiful mindset of redemption that fills the halls of Grace Church and captivated me all summer long.
"The question in my mind has changed from 'What can the church do for me?' to 'What can I do for the church?'"
Wherever you may be today in your walk with Christ, I would encourage you to not overlook the holy and eternal institution we call “Church.” It is to our immense spiritual benefit that we seek opportunities to be involved with a local church. Here are some ways that Church was designed by the Lord to bless us:
- Community: The Church is a collection of disconnected individuals brought together into a new people and into a new family. You are always invited in. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” We are literally called to come together and seek ways to glorify Him as a unit. When you choose to not commit to a church, you squander the chance to use your spiritual gifts and be a part of the Lord’s work, which has impact on both heaven and earth far beyond our understanding.
- Authority: I hear ya, the rebel child in me shudders as well. In our culture, we are taught that coming under authority is not fun, but hang with me. Coming under authority in the local church is actually a protective blessing. Receiving spiritual authority keeps us from becoming self-centered and critical. It humbles us and helps us extract insidious sin buried deep in our lives. Ephesians 4:20-24 says, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We need to attend church regularly in order to spur each other on spiritually toward this goal and encounter those that know how to be encouraging and disruptive with grace.
- Spiritual Growth: Your identity in Christ makes you who you are, but your growth in Christ is contingent on being engaged with the Church and being obedient in how the Scripture tells us to treat our church family. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Being transformed into the image of Christ is a lifelong process. We can’t be flighty consumers of the Church and expect to reap the benefits of this transformation. We have to be whole-hearted investors and look for ways for the Church to seep into every area of our lives, not just what we have to give on Sunday mornings.
If you get nothing else from reading this, please let it be this: Church demonstrates the intangible presence of Jesus. Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to experience that by being noncommittal with the Church. It is what you were created for and your soul longs for it!