Award Winner Bios

Francis Asbury Award
Rev. Lisa Pierce

Lisa is originally from Daytona Beach, Florida. She attended Auburn University for college and graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science in 1995. She took a position with the University of West Alabama Wesley Foundation in 1996 and in 1998 started Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM). In 2001, she moved back to the Auburn/Opelika area to base ARM from Lee County. She has been in the Alabama National Guard for 28 years and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel serving as Future Operations planner in the 167th Theater Sustainment Command in Anniston, Alabama and now enrolled in the Army War College. She has a Masters in Counseling and Psychology and a Masters of Christian Leadership through Asbury Theological Seminary.  She is an Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church and a licensed home builder in Alabama. She has yet to be married and does not have any kids but there is still hope :))) She loves to read and be outdoors.

Crazy things she has done to help raise funds for Alabama Rural Ministry...walked from Tuskegee, Alabama to Livingston, Alabama (250 miles). She has been riding a bike across the state for the past 9 years.  Each year, she lives in a "shack" for 5-7 days each year as a fundraiser to replicate poverty housing.


Denman Evangelism Award
Merrily York , Layperson

Merrily York is our recipient for the 2018 Harry Denman award for excellence in evangelism.  She is a wife, mother of three children and a member of the staff at Gulf Breeze UMC.  Merrily is the type of person who makes you want more of what she has.  A friend said of her, “everywhere she goes she leaves Jesus’ fragrance and His love.”  Her attractive faith led her husband to faith in Christ and later to respond to God’s call to pastoral ministry.  As a member of River City Church, Merrily reached out with Christ’s love to the homeless.  One of those homeless persons came to faith in Christ, was baptized, and was empowered to sobriety!  Merrily also served in the ministry of an organization serving families of dying children.  During one of several trips to a hospital in Birmingham, she served as the hands of Jesus as she held an ill child with his mom until his final breath.  This family was led to the Lord and River City Church through the compassion and support Merrily provided.

Her next door neighbor says, “Merrily’s relationship with the Lord is evident in everything she does.  She not only lives a Christian life, but shows all of us around her what it means to believe in and love Jesus Christ with all your heart.”  Merrily is adept at inviting people she encounters into conversation about the Lord.  An example is the day she and her husband, Shawn, traveled several hours to buy a car.  While Shawn was negotiating the deal for the car, Merrily was inquiring about the car owner’s faith! While Shawn haggled over the price, she was haggling over the seller’s soul!  Her local church lay leader says, “Merrily practices Matthew 28:19-20 on a daily basis as a humble servant.  She is a passionate, tireless advocate for bringing the lost into a knowing relationship with Christ.”  Her senior pastor shared that “Merrily is a dynamic and winsome witness to the Lord Jesus Christ…through word, deed, and relationship, Merrily is a powerful witness to the saving love of Jesus Christ.”

Congratulations to Merrily York!


Dr. Matt Mobley, Clergy

The Rev. Dr. Matt Mobley is the 2018 recipient of the Harry Denman award for excellence In evangelism.  Dr. Mobley serves as pastor of the Mulder Memorial UMC near Wetumpka.  Over the past five years 69 people have made professions of faith through the ministry of Mulder Church and 49 people have been baptized.  Dr. Mobley leads by example in personal evangelism.  A former staff member stated, “He makes connecting with people outside the church a priority in his life and has personally mentored and led many people to place their faith in Jesus through building relationships with those in the community who do not attend Mulder Church. His commitment to reaching those who are far from God’s love is more than mere platitudes.”

Dr. Mobley had led Mulder Church to reach out to a mobile home park in their area.  There the church has established a Wednesday night worship ministry to children and students, a Monday night tutoring ministry and a Friday night worship service for the whole community in both English and Spanish.   As a result, both students and adults are deciding to follow Jesus through the “Autumnwood Village Church.”

The Mulder Memorial Church also hosts major community events throughout the year.  On the Fourth of July, 1,000 folks from the community participate in their “Redland, White and Blue” celebration.  Their Fall Festival draws 2,000 people to the Mulder campus for fun and Christian hospitality.  Mulder Church also serves as the largest election polling place in their area.  The church provides greeters to welcome voters, refreshments, golf carts to transport voters with limited mobility, and tour guides to familiarize them with the campus.

Dr. Mobley often emphasizes the importance of evangelism in sermons and in teaching opportunities.  He weaves Biblical truth with real life examples of what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus and how the body of Christ must be intentionally invested in reaching others with the Good News.  It is his mission to make Jesus known to those who do not know Him.

Under Dr. Mobley’s leadership, Mulder Church has adopted a mission of making disciples by “Connecting with God”, “Growing in Christ”, and “Serving Others”.  This has become the focus of the church as all initiatives are evaluated through the lens of this mission.  This is reflected in budget development, new staffing and all mission endeavors.

As south central Elmore County grows, it is Mulder’s goal to reach 20 -25% of new residents!  As a leader in the church states, “Mulder church is led by a man who desires to make and grow disciples for Christ, and he shares that passion for ministry with his congregation!”

Congratulations to Dr. Matt Mobley!


Alice Lee Award
Dr. Shirley Woodie

Shirley Woodie is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Ozark, Alabama.Her areas of leadership and influence is significant:

-Co-founder of Displaced Homemaker/Gender Equality programs, Enterprise State Community College

-Chairperson of Accreditation Committees for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools

-President, Alabama Aviation Technical College, 1988-1996

-Director, Troy University Leadership Institute, Troy Alabama, 1996-Present

As Secretary of AWF Annual Conference, she edited and published the Business of the AWF Annual Conference, AWF Annual Conference Journal, and the AWF Conference Minister Training Course:  Becoming a More Effective Leader (2012-2017).

She also served as chair of AWF Council of Finance & Administration, AWF Districting & District Superintendent’s Functions Committee, Academy of Congregational Excellence.

Shirley is an AWF Lay Speaker, Charter Member of Dothan District Committee on Superintendence, Past Chair, Administrative Board, Past Lay Leader, Past chair Stewardship Committee, SS Teacher, and other service capacities at Ozark FUMC.

She is currently Director of The Institute for Leadership Development, Troy University in Troy Alabama.  Her other academic positions have been:  President, Alabama Aviation & Technical College in Ozark, Dean of Development, Enterprise State Junior College, Administrative Assistant to the President, George C. Wallace Community College, Dothan.

Her professional associations and boards and committees speak to a host of responsibilities, camaraderie, deep respect given to a totally dedicated person.  She has honors and recognitions from so many colleges in Georgia and Alabama.  Commencement addresses and honors from the state of Alabama and even honors from the National Association of State Councils on Vocational Education round out her full range of recognitions.

She is responsible for several publications that address her main issues in education and raising the educational levels and raising standards for rural women.

Her religious and Civic activities rival her educational and professional interests.  She is active in so many areas of life that her excellent health and proud husband make her able to continue  to make a strong and  recognizable impact on everything she touches.

One support letter writer said that Alice would be thrilled to know that Shirley was the recipient of this award named for her.  Shirley is extremely active in her church, district & conference and she gives wise leadership to us all.


Scouting Cross & Flame Award
Mr. Roger Mixson

Roger has always had a love for scouts. In 1960 he entered scouting as a Cub Scout for one year; until his pack lost adult leadership and folded. But in 1963 he joined Troop 99 and wonderfully obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Unable to participate in scouting during college years, he returned to scouting in Enterprise as an adult leader after graduation. As the years went by; Roger moved to headland to work with Henry County School system.

In 1991, Troop 123 was chartered by Headland United Methodist and Roger register as an adult leader. He has served in that position as well as   other positions such as; Troop Committee Member, and Committee Chair. He is presently serving as Charter Organization Troop Representative. Roger does so much with and for our young men. We are so blessed to have him as a part of our Church and Troop. Roger has been an integral part as we have had 13 young men become Eagle scouts since our Charter in 1991.


Charles Phillips

In 1992 Charles became the Den Leader of Pack 124 with so that he could be a part with his son John Allen Phillips as cub scout. This troop was Chartered by Bethlehem Baptist Headland. Over these years Charles and his family moved to Headland United Methodist Church and Charles’ love and enthusiasm for Scouts had never waned. In 1996 he became the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 123 at Headland UMC. In 1998 he advanced to Scoutmaster for Troop 123. Then in 2014 he became the Assistant Scoutmaster / Advancement Chair for Troop 123.

If anyone wants to see how a leader works and serves; you just need to come visit Troop 123 and watch the excitement and love he has for this troop and these young men. They are becoming leaders and are serving God, our community and family through their commitment and service. We have seen 13 young men become Eagle Scout through his leadership.


Susanna Wesley Award
Dr. Shirley H. Woodie

Dr. Shirley Woodie is a member of the First United Methodist Church, Ozark Alabama. She has served as past chairperson of her church Administrative Board, Council of Ministries, and Staff Parish Relations Committee; a member of the Finance Committee, a Sunday School teacher and Lay Speaker.

Dr. Woodie has been a devoted member of the Alabama-West Florida Conference United Methodist Church.  She has served as Chairperson of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration (2002-2004), member of Conference Board of Episcopacy Committee, Conference Board of Evangelism, and Conference Secretary.  She is currently serving on the Conference Core Team, Conference Standing Rules Committee and is Secretary/Treasurer of Conference Academy for Congregational Excellence.

Dr. Woodie is the epitome of a spiritual woman who loves her God, her church, and serving Jesus Christ.  Dr. Woodie has been devoted to strengthening gender equity and inclusion of women in her profession and in the church.  She has devoted her life being an example to others, being a servant of the Lord, never seeking recognition for her works. 

An educator by profession, Dr. Woodie received her Doctor of Education from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama and was presented the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Educational Leadership.  She received her Master of Science from Auburn University and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Troy State University, Troy, Alabama.

Notable professional accomplishments include:

Director, Institute for Leadership Development, Troy University, Troy, AL

President, Alabama Aviation and Technical College, Ozark, AL, 1988-1996

President, Alabama College System Presidents Association, 1994-95

President, Alabama Association of College Administrators, 1991-92

President, Alabama Junior and Community College Association, 1979-80