Alice Lee Award
Rev. June Jernigan
This nomination comes with heartwarming and career-changing love and appreciation from people who have worked for and with such a person. They have lasting and continuing appreciation for this person who coached staff to be compassionate and firm while remaining inquisitive and caring for people. The Conference staff deals with issues that reflect a person’s call and how the person lives within that call.
She has served AWF in the local church, district and conference level over the past 25 years. She has helped numerous young people embrace and discern their calls to ministry, probably anyone who was ordained in the last decade would count her as a part of his or her call and someone who helped them on their way.
One became aware of the inspired leadership she was providing to the Board of Ordained Ministry when he witnessed her going the extra mile for individuals. She is not afraid to step into the middle of conflict, broken people and evil systems. Her integrity is unmatched. She maintains information in confidentiality that is unmatched. She is a great encourager.
She is a courageous and accomplished colleague who sets a standard for all. It is not to be above anyone but to it is to measure one’s actions, motives and ideas for what better serves the Kingdom and the Church. She does read the Book of Discipline. If she doesn’t know the answer, she knows where to find it. Like Alice, she understands the importance of our great denomination.
She is a trailblazer. Much like Alice Lee, she went places few women, if any, had been before. Then she reached back and brought other women with her. She has fought for better salaries for clergywomen and laywomen. Serving in second chair leadership for much of her ministry, she has not received the accolades she deserves. She has been the catalyst, brains, and the glue for our conference staff in so many ways. We will all miss her in retirement and we want the whole conference to know what a pioneer and champion she has been for women and for all people during her ministry.
One Matters Award, given by the Town & Country Commission
The people called Satsuma United Methodist Church have met adversity with resolve and a focus on the spiritual welfare for their community. The sanctuary burned after a lightning strike and they worked well together to make an insurance claim, dream and work on a plan for a new sanctuary, and still be present as they worshiped in the much smaller fellowship hall. They welcomed all visitors and ensured members were included as plans were made to build. The church conference was held after considerable work was done, plans were drawn, costs were estimated, and a loan application was completed. Because of the integrity of the leadership team and their commitment to take care of God’s church, the motion to build was unanimously approved.
The members then began the work of fiscal responsibility and pledges were made to pay the loan. Additionally, 100% of apportionments were paid. At the dedication of the new sanctuary many were in attendance to celebrate. The energy level and level of commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world rose throughout the membership. Their enthusiasm to share the new space and also God’s love has permeated the local community and beyond. The result of their work together and the fruit of their willingness to share the gifts God has given them, individually and corporately, is evident in their numerical growth. More people are coming to know Jesus, have a relationship with each other, profess their faith, and be a part of a vital congregation focused on spiritual growth as well as mission and ministry.
We are grateful for the laity and the pastoral leadership at Satsuma United Methodist Church. The window at the back of the chancel area looks out into trees reminding us of God’s creation. The United Methodist Cross and Flame etched in the window reminds us of our great connection. May God be glorified in all that Satsuma United Methodist Church accomplishes.
Francis Asbury Award
Dr. Deloris Alexander
Dr. Deloris Alexander is a graduate of Alabama State University, Tuskegee University, and Meharry Medical College, a United Methodist Church (UMC) affiliated school founded in the basement of Clark Memorial UMC in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Alexander is a noted microbiologist, distinguished lecturer, prolific researcher, and a certified bioethicist. It is her work as a mentor that has endeared her to students, faculty, staff, and the Tuskegee Wesley Foundation. She is the director of the largest Ph. D program at Tuskegee. She is also the principal investigator of her own laboratory, a laboratory dedicated to understanding how natural products might prove beneficial in the fight against inflammatory diseases like colon cancer. Her lab’s recent research findings demonstrate a role for species-specific probiotics in reducing colon cancer morbidity and mortality. Dr. Alexander has received bi-partisan recognition for her commitment to service and mentoring, receiving commendations from the White House in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2020. Dr. Alexander’s diplomacy is second only to her love of God. In her lab Dr. Alexander mentors undergraduates across disciplines, modeling her commitment to scholarship, service and sharing the love of God.
Denman Evangelism Award
Clergy Recipient: Rev. Terry Tatum
Our clergy recipient this year is Reverend Terry Tatum, who serves as the Executive Pastor at Lynn Haven U.M.C. in Lynn Haven, FL. During Pastor Terry’s tenure, the church has received over 300 people by profession of faith! Lynn Haven U.M.C. has averaged 40 conversions to faith in Christ annually, including 33 the year after Hurricane Michael destroyed much of their campus! Pastor Terry met with almost all of these people personally and led many of them to Christ. He also disciples many people, both in groups and one-on-one.
Pastor Terry shares the Gospel with all ages and in many contexts. He shares each summer with elementary children at Vacation Bible School. He teaches how to follow Jesus with the youth in confirmation class. He has led people to Christ during the church’s food distribution ministry. Pastor Terry serves as Chaplain of the football team at the North Bay Haven Charter Academy. He has also shared the Gospel in the Slums of India!
John Wesley once said of the Methodist preachers, “You have one business on earth; to save souls”. Pastor Terry embodies this statement as well as our mission statement as United Methodists; “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. Congratulations Pastor Terry!
Lay Recipient: Ashley Whiting
Our recipient from the laity is Ashley Whiting, who is a member of The Way U.M.C. in Pace, FL. Ashley has been instrumental in establishing a soccer league for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Last Fall there were 125 children participating with about 800 people in attendance!
The soccer league is truly an outreach ministry. Each of the teams gather in the church sanctuary for prayer during a “Blessing of the Teams” service. Every game begins with prayer, a devotional is presented and Christian music is featured. Friendship, the love of Christ and prayer are offered to the families involved. The soccer season closes with a worship service and awards ceremony. Pastor Jennifer Guidoni said, ”The goal of this was to bring the church outside the walls of the church building”. This is a great way to introduce new ways of caring for our community. Indeed, God has used the soccer league to bring changes in the lives of these families who participate. Chad Maulden recommitted his life to Christ and he and his family joined the church, all as a result of the soccer league. Chad says, “I think the soccer outreach is a wonderful thing. I am an example of someone who would have never known about the church if my children hadn’t played soccer. It’s very important to us and the community”. Congratulations Ashley!
Jane Walker Scholarship
Rev. Kristen Curtis Wright and Jenn Knox
Rev. Kristen Curtis Wright will be working on her doctorate at Boston University, School of Theology. She is an elder in our conference who currently serves as associate at Ashland Place in Mobile.
Jennifer Hope Knox (Jenn), a certified candidate for ministry in our conference, is a student at Duke Divinity School. She currently serves as director of student ministry at St. Luke UMC in Enterprise.
Congratulations to these fine servants of Christ!