One Matters: Building Bridges for Christ

By Pam Braden

The Congregational Vitality Team met by Zoom to announce the nominees and winner for the 2021 ONE Matters award.  The Award winner was shared during the opening worship service of the 2021 Annual Conference.

Rev. Cindy Boggs, Chair of the Congregational Vitality Team, opened the 2021 ONE Matters Award celebration by focusing on how God continues to move us to reach new people even through a global pandemic.  

Ken Willard, Director of Congregational Ministries, explained that every year Discipleship Ministries partners with Annual Conference and the One Matters board to recognize one congregation that increases professions of faith and baptisms by at least one through a renewed focus on discipleship. 

The One Matters award consists of a commemorative plaque and a check for $1,000 to be delivered to the selected congregation. 

Willard indicated that the Conference focused a less on the statistics and more on stories told by the District Superintendents, who nominated one congregation they felt exemplified the spirit of the ONE Matters award.

Each of our nominees demonstrated creativity and imagination in discipleship in reaching new people for Christ. 

The 2021 District Nominees are:

District                            Church/Charge                      Pastor
Greenbrier                       St. Luke’s (Craigsville)             Brandon Moll
Little Kanawha                 Louisa Chapel                         Shelley Mace
Midland South                  Glasgow                                  Chris Hudnall
MonValley                        Corley                                      Jonathan Fox
Northern                           Weirton Charge                       Carol McKay
Potomac Highlands         St. Paul’s (Oakland)                 Matthew Paugh
Southern                          Fayetteville                              Rick Crawford
Wesleyan                         Phillips Chapel                        Julie Davis
Western                            Wayne                                    Todd Hurley

Job Webb, Director of Generative Ministries, announced the winner of the 2021 ONE Matters award for the West Virginia conference is the congregation of Corley UMC in Belington. Following the death of their pastor in the summer of 2019, assigned pastor Jonathan Fox began serving at Corley.  

After just a few short months and the arrival of the pandemic, Corley shifted to online worship and used a pavilion where families came to worship with soccer chairs and picnic blankets. From this move, they received three new members by profession of faith. 

Their worship attendance grew from an average of 19 people in 2019 to 33 in 2020 with an additional 15 worshipping online. They now average 36 people weekly and will return to the outdoor pavilion this summer. 

We recognize the congregation of Corley UMC for their flexibility, resilience, and dedication to “reaching ONE more for Jesus!”

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball shared her thanks for each of the nominated churches. Each has done a phenomenal job of being creative and reaching out to new people in new ways and pulling people together for Christ. “Thank you for continuing to build bridges and make connections and to build partnerships for Christ. Every single one does matter. Thank you for going the extra mile to reach one and then one more after that.  It’s all about multiplying the love and life of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Steiner Ball closed the session in prayer, giving thanks for our congregations and specifically for these churches, both their clergy and lay leadership.  

“We pray that in this post-pandemic time congregations will build new partnerships, new connections, and new bridges that reach one after another after another so that we might come back here next year and have so many nominations we just celebrate, stand, and dance with joy for the people who were reached for Christ.”