2021 Award Winner Bios

Local Church Heritage Award
Cain's Chapel UMC

An annual award, “The Local Church Heritage Award”, was established in 1988 to be given to the church most diligent in preserving its heritage during the year. The Commission on Archives and History would like to congratulate Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church, Deatsville, Alabama for being our 2020 Local Church Heritage Award winner. Cain’s Chapel UMC is in the Holtville/Slapout Community and is one of the oldest known continuous church congregations in the River Region. 

Cain’s Chapel UMC celebrated their bi-centennial (1820 – 2020). The theme for the year-long celebration was “Looking Back – Living Forward,” which reflected the church’s deep past as well as how the church can continue to flourish for years to come. The year-long celebration kicked off on January 12, 2020 with the dedication of the new stained-glass window in the sanctuary and the historical marker that the church received from The Alabama Historical Commission. Cain’s Chapel UMC and Cemetery are now listed in the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Guests were greeted by people in costumes of the 1820s and enjoyed a luncheon after the worship service.

The church continued to celebrate their bicentennial with special historic moments during worship services once a month as well as other special events throughout the year to commemorate this special milestone! The events held were from each twenty-year time-period of the two hundred years of Cain’s Chapel. Some of the events included an old-fashioned wedding with dinner and dancing, a brush arbor service at the Confederate Memorial Park which included a mystery guest speaker and music by the Mortar Creek Blue Grass Gospel Company. During the summer, the movie “The Story of Holtville” was shown and several cast members were there to talk about the movie. Several of the events included special guests such as local historian Annie Crenshaw and Dr. Susan Dubose who spoke on the famous Alabama Women from the last 200 years. The bicentennial homecoming was celebrated on November 8, 2020 with Bishop David W. Graves speaking.

This historic celebration took two years of planning. The planning committee created large book full of their preliminary plans as well as an extensive book of the 2020 events which included newspaper and magazine clippings and pictures of the events as well as descriptions of those events. They also included a DVD that chronicles 200 years of Cain’s Chapel UMC.

Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church will receive a stunning plaque from the AWFC Commission on Archives and History at a later date.

 

One Matters Award, given by the Town & Country Commission
Bayou la Batre UMC

The One Church Matters award is presented each year to a church in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference that has re-established momentum in fulfilling our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The church that is receiving the award in 2021 has suffered numerous setbacks in recent years due to natural disasters and the devastating loss of its community’s primary industry. As a result, the church declined in membership and weekly worship participation, reaching an average of 11 in 2019. There were no professions of faith for multiple years. After the exodus of this community’s citizens, the church has been left to serve a largely immigrant community. Our award recipient refused to give up and refocused its mission. Having started a preschool as a means of sustaining its finances and re-engaging its mission field, this church saw 13 professions of faith in 2020, more than its average worship attendance just one year before. It has also distributed food and medical services to community members during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the exceptional leadership of its pastor, Jane Mallet, this church proves every day in the life of its community that One Church Matters. Our award for 2021 is given to the Bayou la Batre United Methodist Church in the Mobile District.

 

Francis Asbury Award
Rev. David Goolsby

Rev. David Goolsby has served as the Campus Minister and Director of the Auburn Wesley Foundation at Auburn University since 1983.  With a Bachelors in Secondary Education from the University of Texas in 1978 and a Masters in Christian Education from Scarritt College in 1980, David and his wife, Sarah, came to Auburn as Co-Directors of Christian Education at Auburn United Methodist Church in 1980.  His primary areas of service were youth, missions and older adults. Sarah and David were both consecrated Diaconal Minister in 1982 and Ordained Deacon in 1997.  They have two children, Bryan (5/3/1988) (spouse Samantha/ grandchild Camden) and Benjamin (1/29/1992) (spouse Abby). David is retiring June 2021 after 38 years at the Auburn Wesley.

With David’s leadership a student driven model of campus ministry has developed around five primary areas. Those are outreach, worship, fellowship, discipleship and missions. A strong emphasis on leadership has given countless students opportunities to develop and lead in ministry. An additional emphasis has been students in mission and service. From 26 Summer Youth Caravan teams to 15 three week international mission trips; from 10 plus years of Children’s day camps to a Food pantry in its eighth year, service is at the heart of the ministry.

Additionally, a culture of the call is very strong at the Auburn Wesley. Seminaries attended by alumni include: Asbury, Candler, Duke Memphis, Perkins, Wesley, Garrett, Fuller, Claremont, Iliff, Palmer, Yale, Boston, Union, Beeson, Gordan Cronwell, Eden and Louisville.   Over 120 former students have gone on to full or part time ministry in the church or mission field.

David has also serve on various Boards including:  Chair of Campus Minister Association at Auburn (10 plus years and currently); member of the U.M. in Campus Ministry Design Team (4 years); Board of Directors of Servants in Faith and Technology (8-10 years); Chair and member of Alabama Rural Ministry ; Member of the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC, Member of the Division on Young People of the UMC; Chair of Order of Deacon (1999-2004 Alabama/West Florida); Board of Ordained Ministry (1999-2004); member CORE Team AWF; Member of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry; Director of the Auburn Wesley Cooperative Parish and Jurisdictional Delegate SEJ (2004,08,12)

 

Denman Evangelism Award
Clergy Recipient: Rev. Pam Barnhardt

Our clergy recipient is the Rev. Pam Barnhardt from Monroeville, Al. She has served as a Deacon at the First U.M.C. in Monroeville for 26 years. During this past year of Covid-19 lockdowns, Rev. Barnhardt has demonstrated great creativity, flexibility and “out of the box” thinking. She led a confirmation class by phone, Zoom and with the children in groups of two and then engaged the parents in leading them to a “saving experience” with our Lord Jesus Christ. She found a way to share the Word of God through a socially distanced, outdoor

Vacation Bible School. She taught a Bible study for women via Zoom during the pandemic, which led to adults joining the church, three by profession of faith. This was when the church was meeting for worship. Incredibly, the church saw a 10% growth during this time of crisis!

Rev. Barnhardt developed a plan to make sure as many people as possible felt connected to the church during the pandemic. Under her leadership, members delivered pizzas to the elderly and shut-ins. Women baked cookies, which were delivered along with handwritten notes from children to the men of the church. Children decorated flowerpots and delivered them with fresh flowers to the women of First Methodist. Upper Room devotionals were delivered and grocery items picked up for at-risk members. One church member stated, “The pandemic may have kept the doors closed for a short while, but Rev. Barnhardt showed us how to remain connected as the people of faith and the result is the church grew, new members joined and old members grew in their faith.”

There were also several outreach ministries led by Rev. Barnhardt. She converted the church van into an ice cream truck and gave away treats to children all over town. She led the Angel Tree program for Monroe County, training volunteers and enabled 180 children from economically deprived families to have Christmas gifts. She led a project of presenting notes of encouragement and treats to healthcare workers and teachers. Indeed, Rev. Barnhardt challenges her church to be a loving presence in the community, bearing witness to Christ’s love and calling all to Him!

For years, Rev. Barnhardt has been a leader in ministry to children and youth in our Conference. She has organized the Bishop’s Confirmation Retreat at Blue Lake. She helped create Mission Camp at Blue Lake to show teens how and why to put their faith into action.

Rev. Barnhardt’s ministry is an example of Christ’s love for the world and draws people into relationship with Jesus. Her love for Christ is contagious!

 

Lay Recipient: Jim Hammond

The layperson receiving the Denman Award this year is Jim Hammond from Pensacola, Fl. Jim is a member of the Bellview U.M.C. He serves as the “up-front guy” for their LGLO (Loving God and loving others) Children’s Ministry, which includes dinner and sharing about Jesus using crafts, games, music and Bible lessons. In order to draw children to Jesus, Jim has sang, danced, kissed a pig, been slimed, played games and played characters on stage from a pirate to King David! Jim knows how to make each child feel valued by God. Jim serves as Believer’s online greeter for their Facebook Live services and he is involved in church mission endeavors, such as Feeding the Gulf Coast.

Jim is the ministry leader for the Celebrate Recovery group at Bellview U.M.C. He is responsible for the ongoing organization and administration of this important front-line ministry. Phone calls at all hours from people in crisis is not unusual. As one member of Celebrate Recovery said of Jim, “He immediately set me up with transportation to the church and Celebrate Recovery…I have been sober six months, free of alcohol and Opioids…My faith and trust in Jesus is restored”. Jim is a frequent witness of the healing power of Jesus as part of “Broken Chains,” the evangelistic arm of Celebrate Recovery.

The Blue Lake Emmaus community is also an important part of Jim’s witness. He serves on the Board, has worked in over fifty Walks and sponsored many people to participate in a Walk. He has started numerous accountability groups for his goal “to grow men up in the church to make them active, on-fire disciples of Jesus.”

Jim serves as an advisor for the Wesley student fellowship ministry at the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College campuses. At U.W.F. he is known as a “go-to-guy” for anyone with a personal problem. He has prayed, counseled and dialogued with many people who come to him for assistance.

Jim has a heart for leading people to Christ and making disciples. The lay leader at Bellview U.M.C. says of Jim, “showing the love of Christ is his passion and he makes Disciples of Christ in the way he lives and loves.”

Congratulations to these fine servants of Christ!