NGU News

NGU Honors ‘Ministry of Life’ Service at Spring Commencement

Posted on: March 10, 2021
By LaVerne Howell,

Tigerville, SC (July 18, 2019) North Greenville University (NGU) honored two long-time pro-life advocates at spring commencement exercises on May 6, 2019. Carolina Pregnancy Center (CPC) Director Alexia Newman was presented an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and former CEO of Piedmont Women’s Center (PWC) Lenna Fox Smith was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.

“Today we want to recognize two women who have had shared influence in our region and across the nation in their advocacy work for the most fragile of our kind, unborn children,” said President  Fant at spring commencement.

Dr. Alexia Newman 

Newman joined the CPC as executive director in 1989. CPC is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing compassion, information, and support to anyone facing the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy.

“We offer all of our services free of charge and confidential,” says Newman. “Our focus is on the mother, not on making money.”

Newman says CPC offers free ultrasounds, a mentoring program for men and women, an intern program for high school sophomores through college students, and a closet for loaning clothes for moms and their children.

“You’ll find a caring staff and volunteer client advocates that are committed to providing women a safe, comfortable place to find the help they need; offer real-world guidance with genuine compassion,” she said.

Born in Spartanburg, Newman is a graduate of Dorman High School and attended USC-Upstate and Columbia International University.  She is grateful to have been raised in a strong Christian home, where priority was placed on the scriptures. 

Before becoming the executive director of CPC, Newman worked as the Director of Student and Family Ministries at Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Abbeville for five years. She also serves on the Executive Committee as an advisor for the SC Association for Crisis Pregnancy Centers and regularly speaks in churches, civic, clubs, and youth events.

In 1995 she was appointed by Governor David Beasley to the South Carolina Board of Juvenile Parole, served as first vice-chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, served as chairman of the Platform Committee and as a member of this committee in other years.  Presently, she is the Executive Committeeman for Spartanburg County and represents her county at the state level of the GOP.  She was appointed to the Resolutions Committee, the Platform Committee, and the Faith Engagement Committee.

Newman is a member of the Board of Hannah’s Hope Ministries, a ministry that seeks to minister to people in a life crisis, especially those diagnosed with cancer.   She also serves the boards for South Carolina Citizens for Life and Palmetto Conservative Alliance, and the Development Board for Reformed University Fellowship, specifically serving Wofford College.  Governor Nikki Haley appointed her to the State First Steps Board, which is tasked with school readiness for preschoolers, and equipping parents to help their children get ready for school and continues to serve, having been re-appointed by Speaker Lucas.

“Youth is the driving force in my life,” she says. 

She is a leader in the Youth Discipleship Program at her church, Mt. Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA), where she is active in the women’s ministry, the choir, and teaches a catechism class for fourth and fifth graders.

In May, Newman watched seven girls graduate from high school who had been in her discipleship program since the seventh grade.  She frequently speaks at FCA meetings in Spartanburg County and youth group functions.  She loves working with area youth pastors on events to build up and encourage teenagers.

Dr. Lenna Fox Smith 

Smith retired from PWC at the end of 2018 after serving the “ministry of life” for 26 years. PWC is a Christian pregnancy medical clinic serving the Upstate of SC. They offer free pregnancy testing, limited OB ultrasounds, abortion recovery assistance, confidential counseling, and referrals for resources in the community to help a mother and baby receive all the necessary medical and material services to choose life.

“Our first facility was located next door to one of the largest abortion clinics in SC. My faith walk increased tremendously in those 26 years as spiritual warfare was intense and very real,” said Smith.

Under her leadership, the Center increased from a ministry opened one day a week to opening several locations in the Upstate serving six days a week.

“Just recently we completed and opened a 1.5 million dollar facility across the street from the abortion clinic. God gave me the vision almost 20 years ago for this much larger facility so we could increase services,” she said. “I’m grateful for all the donors who gave their financial gifts, gifts of time, and resources so we could build this facility debt-free. I would say it is one of my greatest legacies.”

The support of the churches and local volunteers made it possible for the Center to serve over 3,000 clients a year. During Smith’s 26 years of service, she saw over 7,500  babies saved from abortion.

“I’m most grateful that we were unapologetically evangelistic and that the women who chose life also received the Good News of our Jesus. Yearly we saw hundreds of women and men surrender their hurts, their pain, and their past to Christ resulting in Salvation,” Smith said.

Smith received the Order of the Palmetto from SC Governor David Beasley in 1998 for her pro-life work in SC. The SC State Senate and House of Representatives have both awarded her commendations for her service. She was an authorized consultant for Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound Program and recently nominated and approved to become a member of the Board of Trustees for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

She, however, feels her greatest accomplishment as CEO of PWC was making sure that the staff and volunteers always shared Christ with the hurting women and their families who came through the door.

“The last person I shared The Hope of the World with at PWC surrendered his life to Christ,” Smith said.

She said as he sat in a waiting room, she sat down beside him and asked how he was doing. He said he hoped his girlfriend would not abort their baby. Smith simply asked had he thought about praying for God to protect his baby. He said all he knew about God was when his grandmother made him go to church on Christmas and Easter.

She then said, “did you know that Christmas and Easter are connected?”

He said he had no idea how it was possible. She then took him on one of the exciting conversations of her life and of his as “God the Father called him to salvation.” Greeting his girlfriend later, after she had received the free services PWC offered her, he wept as she told him she was not going to abort their baby.

“God will use all of us the same way if we will just trust God and walk where He leads,” she said.

Smith says she left the ministry of PWC to “put my boots back on the ground” and increase her ministry of evangelism. She now mentors girls in a local high school and church. She and her husband are small group leaders in the church plant they attend and their home is open for Bible studies and fellowships. She says she has spent many hours prayer walking community events and sharing Christ.

“When Dr. Fant told me I would be receiving an honorary Doctor of Divinity from NGU I was speechless. I live close to the school and I admire so many of the teachers and students,” she said. “I love to Livestream the chapel services and visit to hear speakers. The honor of this degree would make me part of the NGU family. It was one of my happiest moments.”

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