The following clergy and lay people were recognized on September 26, 2020, at annual conference for their outstanding work.
Francis Asbury Award
Rev. Audrey Rodgers
Rev. Audrey Rodgers is the Director for the Tuskegee Wesley Foundation, a campus ministry of the United Methodist Church at Tuskegee University. Audrey, an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E), relocated from Rock Sound, Eleuthera where she served as the South Eleuthera Ministerial Moderator for the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church. A Master of Divinity graduate of Emory University and an MBA graduate of Florida A&M University, Audrey takes serious the biblical mandate, “to study to show thy self-approved.” Prior to her time in the Bahamas, Audrey worked and interned for many organizations including NASA, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Inc. and Carter’s Retail, Inc. Though Rev. Rodgers has had many jobs, she is certain that her current position, serving God’s people, is by far the best.
Denman Evangelism Award
Clergy Recipient: Rev. Victoria Schofield
Less than two years ago, the Rev. Victoria Scofield was appointed to Cypress U.M.C.. The church was having discussions with their district superintendent about closing the doors of the church. After all, Cypress U.M.C. is in a small community without even one traffic light, but plagued with unemployment, poverty and drug addiction. Today, with Rev. Scofield’s leadership, attendance has increased from eight to about forty people in worship. Twelve people were received into the church in 2019 through professing their faith in Christ. Fourteen children and adults were baptized in Rev. Scofield’s first year of ministry!
Pastor Scofield has led Cypress U.M.C. to become a beacon of hope in their community through outreach ministries. They began a divorce recovery ministry, a Christmas program for community children, a clothing ministry, The Farm Share Food Ministry, Trunk or Treat and a community Thanksgiving meal. New classes for children have begun, as well as V.B.S. The church is committing a percentage of tithes and offerings to assist local people in need. During the Coronavirus pandemic, Pastor Scofield has offered digital worship on Zam Live Stream, reaching new people through technology. In short, Rev. Scofield has led Cypress U.M.C. to focus on missions, to look outward versus closing their doors.
Rev. Scofield has also emphasized teaching the Bible in her ministry, whether it is a traditional Bible study or a small discipleship group for new believers. Her district superintendent, Rev. Doug Pennington, described Rev. Scofield in this way, “She sees every relationship as an opportunity to impart the love of Jesus Christ.” Her witness extends beyond the church to her full-time employment in a dental office where she regularly inspires others through her faith. As Pastor Nathan Attwood states, “She is a true witness of authentic discipleship in every area of her life.”
Youth Recipient: Anna Claire Kinsey
Anna Claire Kinsey is sixteen years old and a member of Providence U.M.C. in Spanish Fort, Al. She was the very first person to be baptized in her home church. However, what sets her apart is her mature walk with the Lord at such a young age. Indeed, Anna Claire serves as an example to her entire church of what it means to follow Christ. As the Apostle Paul told his young protégé Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12)
Anna Clair affectively proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ in everyday life in several ways. At age 14, she began to write a blog as a means of sharing her faith. She arrives at school early to record a daily message on her Snapchat Story at 7 a.m., offering words of hope. This message is publically available to all. In each of these communications, Anna Claire invites all participants to join her in following Christ!
Perhaps two of the characteristics that distinguish Anna Claire’s approval to evangelism are listening and asking questions. She possesses the ability to genuinely listen to others from the heart. As her pastor, the Rev. Jack Allen says, “Perhaps the characteristic that is most unique to Anna Claire’s faith is her ability to earnestly ask questions with an open mind and open heart.”
Lay Recipient: Kimberley Rhames
Kimberley Rhames is a member of Mt. Zion U.M.C. in Smith’s Station, Al. The following are statements made about her by fellow church members:
When Mt. Zion’s youth group was down to one student, Kimberley volunteered to lead the ministry. Today, the group has grown to fifteen students, including thirteen who were previously unchurched. Kimberley emphasizes teaching the Bible to youth with a focus on following Christ in personal relationship. Several have received Christ as Savior including one student who was an atheist when he began participating in the youth ministry. Most of all, she loves them unconditionally.
Kimberley also shares Christ at Naomi’s Home, a residential Christ-centered discipleship ministry for women with life controlling issues. She regularly teaches a Bible study, counsels and is a loving mentor for the ladies in that ministry. She also serves in the Tres Dias ministry (much like A Walk to Emmaus) on weekends and encourages her youth to attend a Chrysalis retreat.
In the aftermath of the Lee County, Alabama tornadoes in March 2019, Kimberley worked tirelessly to ensure that people had food, water and clothing. She personally prayed with many residents who had lost loved ones or homes.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, she assisted with Drive-In Worship, sharing the Gospel through children’s messages and even the sermon when her pastor had a family emergency!
Local Church Heritage Award
Bagdad United Methodist Church was the recipient of the 2020 Local Church Heritage Award. They held a “Preservation Celebration” to celebrate the unveiling of the Florida Heritage Landmark marker and the National Register of Historic Places recognition awarded in 1987.
The day included an unveiling ceremony of the marker, tours of the church built in 1885, a video of the building of the church, an antique quilt display, a BBQ chicken dinner fundraiser, craft sales, bake sale, gift baskets and used holiday items sale. The children enjoyed the Bagdad Fire Department fire truck, games and Murbles. Together the community and the church members celebrated this historical event.
A beautiful book was created with pictures and comments about each of the activities. It also included pictures of early church records and of course the remarkable Florida Heritage Landmark marker. This book will be on display at our next Alabama-West Florida Conference.
One Matters Award
Center Ridge United Methodist Church in Coffee County, AL. Pastor: Rev. Tommy Cumbie