TOP - Rev. Robert Sparkman presents Judy Berry the Lay Denman Award as Rev. Matt Jones looks on. Bottom - Rev. Albert Smith, pastor of Huguley UMC in the Southeast District, is the 2012 Clergy Denman Award Recipient.
During the 2012 North Alabama Annual Conference, the Conference Evangelism Team recognized the Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipients. The 2012 Lay Recipient is Judy Berry, a member of Monte Sano UMC in the Northeast District. The 2012 Clergy Recipient is Rev. Albert Smith, pastor of Huguley UMC in the Southeast District.
Judy Berry has been an active member of Monte Sano UMC for more than 30 years. For the last 8 years she has been active with the church’s Evangelism Team’s bread ministry.
Each week, she delivers fresh loaves of bread to church visitors. Monte Sano pastor Rev. Dale Clem estimates she has delivered more than 1000 loaves of bread.
Berry says, “This is a job I really enjoy. I have tried to greet those who visit both before and after I take the bread. I try to treat visitors as I was treated when I first attend that church. “
She explains, “When I remarried and moved to Monte Sano Mountain, I began to attend Monte Sano UMC because everyone I met who went there invited me to church. They received me with open arms and I soon joined and begin taking an active part as missions chairman, Sunday School teacher, choir member, and Vacation Bible worker.”
Berry is also active in United Methodist Women and has served as chair of the Worship Committee.
She adds, “I was completely floored and flattered when I received a call telling me that I had been chosen the recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for the conference. God has so richly blessed me through the people at Monte Sano.”
Rev. Albert Smith, pastor of Huguley UMC in the Southeast District, explains, “After twenty years of being self-employed, I began driving a transfer truck across the USA. My wife and I were blessed to see a large portion of our country in this way. While in West Virginia driving in 2007, the Lord called me into the ministry one evening as I traveled on my way to Pennsylvania. I became Lay Leader for Lafayette 1st UMC under the direction of Rev. Dee Dowdy and began certification. Two years later, the District Superintendent asked me to become a supply pastor to Cool Springs UMC. While there, I attended Licensing School, and after one year appointed, was asked to become a part-time Local Pastor at Huguley UMC. I accepted and the whirlwind began.”
During his time at Huguley UMC, the congregation has seen growth in membership and doubled its average worship attendance. They have also seen a large growth in the number of children and youth who are a part of the congregation. Just a few years ago there were only three youth in the church. Recently, they had 14 youth go through confirmation to become members of the church.
Smith explains that the Huguley congregation is “a loving, caring congregation who are very open to change, and who are willing to accept the leadership and suggestions of their pastor, which thereby has made the growing of His Kingdom a joy.”
He adds, “The mentorship and help of my circuit pastor’s as well as the willingness of the people of our church to be on fire for Christ, has made me being the spark which the Holy Spirit has chosen light such a fire a blessing.”
The Denman Evangelism awards are named after the late Dr. Harry Denman, a layperson from Birmingham whom Dr. Billy Graham called "my mentor in evangelism." Dr. Denman was tireless in his work of evangelism and never missed an opportunity to share the gospel story with others.
The Foundation for Evangelism, which was founded by Dr. Denman in 1949, is an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship and sponsors the Denman Evangelism Awards as one of thirteen programs in evangelism.
Those eligible for these prestigious awards are persons who are effective in developing true disciples of Jesus Christ. Neither the size of the local church, the age or gender of the nominee, nor the length of their service will limit eligibility.
In North Alabama, each year nominations are taken first few months of the year and a Denman Award Committee considers each person's story and recommendations from those who work with the nominee to choose the Conference winners. If you know a United Methodist in North Alabama doing an outstanding job of reaching others in the name of Christ, go to http://www.northalabamaumc.org/denman for more information.