2020 Alumni of the Year | Dennis and Caron Manion
From the moment a freshman steps on campus to the moment they cross the stage and become an alumnus, the mission of Maranatha to train servant leaders is firmly pressed upon their mind. While many alumni have continued to demonstrate the heartbeat of the mission statement post-graduation, Dennis and Caron Manion have done so exceptionally.
Dennis (’86, Bible, Pastoral Studies) and Caron (Gjefle, ’83, Bible, Elementary Education) Manion were married in 1985 and have lived in Watertown since graduation. Dennis worked electrical and miscellaneous construction jobs while Caron was an assistant Kindergarten teacher at Calvary Baptist Christian School (CBCS). During this time, Dennis served as a deacon and an usher at Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, WI. He was also involved in the jail and bus ministries and Caron taught in the 2-year-old Sunday School class.
As their family grew, Caron became a stay-at-home mom. She homeschooled their four children, Tim, Rebecca, Christina, and Joseph, until early 2000, when she and Dennis were employed at Maranatha. At that time, the children began attending CBCS. The Manion family continued to grow as their children got married. The Manions are proud grandparents of three boys and another grandchild due in December.
Today, Dennis and Caron continue working with the children’s ministry at Calvary. They teach primary Junior Church for 4 and 5-year-olds and are looking forward to the bus ministry starting again. Caron still teaches the 2-year-old Sunday School class.
Randy and Laurel Tanis attended Maranatha with the Manions and were able to serve with them at Calvary. Randy says, “Probably the greatest ministry the Manions had at Calvary over those years and beyond was in the bus ministry. They have such a passion for the children, visiting them weekly, mostly on Saturdays and then faithfully riding the bus each Sunday to pick up the kids and take them home. Their songs and stories on the bus rides were evidence that they wanted to share the Gospel with those precious souls. Only eternity will reveal the total impact they had on so many children and their parents who witnessed the Manion’s joy and experienced their friendship.”
Pastor Bob Loggans of Calvary Baptist concurs. “Their love for the Lord and their impact on families in the Watertown Community is outstanding. A couple of years ago, a man saw me at Watertown High School and asked if the Manions were still working on the buses. He said he rode the buses when he was a child and he wanted his children to ride the bus now.”
The humility, faithfulness, and genuine love demonstrated by the Manions does not go unnoticed. Pastor Dwayne Morris of Calvary Baptist recalls a comment that a pastoral intern at Calvary made many summers ago. “He turned to me at the end of [VBS] and said, ‘Pastor, they get it. They get what ministry is all about.’” Morris continues, “They have been branded by Christ as His special servants with a mark that says ‘love.’ We are forever grateful for them and are privileged to call them our co-laborers in the ministry.”
Thank you, Dennis and Caron, for your faithfulness to ministry, Christ-like love and compassion to others, and example of total surrender to Christ.