WVUMC Celebrates Baptism, Evangelism, and Service

By John Langenstein

One Matters Award

Greenbrier Wesleyan District – Elizabeth Chapel

Elizabeth Chapel boasts an average attendance of between 45-50 people, 22 of those are under the age of 10! The congregation welcomed 10 new members by confession of faith. Their intergenerational ministries reach out into the community to serve their community and to build disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Little Kanawha District – Calvary United Methodist Church

Calvary United Methodist Church seeks to “create a community of authentic believers and to witness a town transformed by the life changing reality of the Gospel.” Working in the community, whether by office hours held in local coffee shops or regular dinners devoted to fellowship and care, the congregation saw 11 baptisms, 13 professions of faith, and four transferals of membership into the congregation.

MonValley District – Highlawns United Methodist Church

Highlawns, at the beginning of the pandemic, had nine people in attendance. Through community outreach, picnics, school partnerships, and an afterschool program, this has changed dramatically. Their Kids for Christ program was instrumental in bringing their attendance of nine people to 39. Eleven people were baptized into the church in the previous year. Four more baptizands are preparing to take their vows as well.

Nine Rivers District – Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church

Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church celebrated the baptism of a grandfather and grandson in this previous year. They are a multi-racial congregation that believes in outreach ministry, cooperation with community members and organizations, and prays without ceasing.

Northern District – Glendale United Methodist Church

Glendale United Methodist Church celebrated nine professions of faith this previous year through confirmation and through the ministries of the church. The church works closely with members of the community to reach the needs of their neighbors. Their school partnership has been a powerful connection that has united other churches and agencies in the area in a network of loving support.

Potomac Highlands United Methodist Church – First United Methodist Church (Parsons)

Thirteen people gather weekly for prayer and scripture study at First Church, Parsons. The church is working to expand this ministry into discipleship opportunities that will continue to grow the impact of the congregation and the spiritual lives of their community.

Southern District – Gap Mills United Methodist Church

Gap Mills celebrated five professions of faith this year. As they have developed their community outreach, they have built a community building which now serves as a vibrant hub for groups throughout their community. In addition to receiving the award for their district, they are the Conference winner for the One Matters Award.

Global Ministries Mission Award

District Superintendent Neil Leftwich received the Global Ministries Mission Award for his continued support for mission and ministry in the Northern District and across the conference.

Harry Denman Evangelism Award

Laity Category

Betty Rizer has worked for more than 70 years to educate the people of God and to equip them for the work of the Church. Her work has spanned the tenure and careers of bishops, ministers, and laity. By building up the Potomac Highland Lay Academy, Betty has made her commitment to evangelism clear again and again.

Centenarian Betty Rizer was presented with the Denman award for her work in the Potomac Highlands District.

Youth Category

Ava Snyder began a livestream ministry across the COVID-19 pandemic and continues this ministry today. She has also worked to create a youth ministry in her home church and worked in the district lay team. Her ministry is focused on bringing the message of the Gospel to those who have no church to call their home.

Clergy Category

Brandon Moll, pastor of the St. Lukes/Faith Shared Ministry, is committed to his community. Working alongside laity, Brandon has worked to reach his community. Through hosting a variety of community events, Brandon has led his four congregations in creating a ministry that has become a pillar of the Craigsville community.

Francis Asbury Award

Dick Boyer received the Francis Asbury Award for his commitment to social justice and young people through his tenure as campus minister at Fairmont State University from 1996-2005. Boyer was part of the founding of the Black Student Union, taught Sociology of Religion, and led trips to Northern Ireland. As a member of the board of the Wesley Foundation at Fairmont State, he has contributed to a vibrant ministry that partners with Life UMC to reach students in Fairmont and beyond.