Awards given for discipleship, evangelism, multiplication, healing a broken world

June 01, 2023
The One Matters Award is given to Rev. John Scheuer (right) of Hill City, Moose Lake, and Cromwell UMCs.

By: Karla Hovde

Seven individuals, three churches, and one organization were recognized for the ways they have made a difference in their communities and across Minnesota. Each one has taken tangible steps to fulfill our gospel imperatives of growing in love of God and neighbor, reaching new people, and healing a broken world. Here’s a look at each of the recipients and their contributions:

One Matters Award: Hill City, Cromwell, and Moose Lake UMCs 

The One Matters Award from agency Discipleship Ministries, which comes with a $1,000 gift, recognizes churches that are making new disciples of Jesus Christ. This award went to three churches led by Rev. John Scheuer: Hill City, Moose Lake, and Cromwell UMCs.

All three churches are developing new ways to connect to their communities. Steven, a high school student, is helping Hill City with its technology and social media presence. He also helps lead the church’s kids’ club. Members of Moose Lake are developing a community garden as a space for social action, prayer, and theological reflection. In Cromwell, eight couples are planning a huge summer community event with a meal and music.

Denman Evangelism Award

Southern Prairie District Superintendent, Rev. Fred Vanderwerf, presented two people with this award for reaching new people:

Rev. Fred Vanderwerf (center) presents the Denman Evangelism Award to Jose "Angel" Franco (right).
Clergy: Jose “Angel” Franco, pastor of Christo en tu Ayuda
Franco is pastor of Christo en tu Ayuda, a Hispanic church plant in Worthington. When First UMC in Worthington took a leap of faith and decided to support a new congregation to reach the growing Hispanic community in Worthington, Franco and his wife, Lourdes, came from Wisconsin ready to serve and engage people with the gospel. They volunteer at the schools, the food shelf, the clothing distribution center, and anywhere where organizations are offering tangible help to people. As relationships develop, they invite people into small groups or to Sunday worship. So far, they’ve established eight small groups, and although they haven’t yet officially launched worship, more than 30 individuals already gather weekly at the church.

“Angel and Lourdes are completely surrendered to the call of Christ on their lives,” said Vanderwerf. “They cling closely to the redeeming power of grace they themselves have experienced in their own lives and feel compelled to share it with others.”
Charlie Berg (right) receives the Denman Evangelism Award. 
Laity: Charlie Berg, Centenary UMC, Mankato
Charlie Berg has taken photographs of worship and events at Centenary UMC in Mankato every Sunday for about 16 years. Every week, he uploads the photos and a description to Facebook, and he is passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus through his photos both within and beyond the walls of the church.
“Charlie's weekly photos are inviting and they an easy and elegant way to show how good it can be when Jesus is part of your life through the goodness of church community,” said Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay, interim pastor at Centenary UMC.

Multiplication Matters Awards

Rev. Ben Ingebretson, area director of new church development, presented this award to two congregations that have grown their faith community:
Rev. Lee Miller (center) and Chris and Brittany Parker (right) of Hope Earth UMC received one of the Multiplication Matters Awards. 

Hope UMC in Blue Earth: Rev. Lee Miller and Chris and Brittany Parker
Chris and Brittany worked in the youth ministry of Hope UMC in Blue Earth when Rev. Lee Miller noticed their gifts and deep connection to their community. The church also recognized that its existing worship service was not reaching new people liked it had hoped. Miller had the wisdom to invite the Parkers to become assessed as church planters, who were then deployed to start a new service at Hope UMC.
“Seeing the potential in the Parkers and leveraging that to start a new place for new people—that, my friends, is multiplication thinking and multiplication action,” said Ingebretson.
Community UMC, Monticello: Rev. Ralph Holbrook and Celia Navas
Rev. Ralph Holbrook (right) and Celia Navas (center) received one of the Multiplication Matters Awards.

Navas has a deep commitment to bringing the good news everywhere she feels God call her. She began her ministry by preaching in the streets. Most recently, she has partnered with Community UMC in Monticello, led by Holbrook, to start campuses of a Hispanic ministry called Isaiah 61:1 in both Monticello and Park Rapids. Holbrook and Community UMC have opened their doors to support this new ministry. Watch a video to learn more about Navas’ amazing story and her thriving ministry.

Jeanne Audrey Powers Ecumenism Award for Healing a Broken World

Minnesota’s United Women in Faith (UWF, formerly United Methodist Women) received this year’s Jeanne Audrey Powers Award. Cindy Saufferer, president of Minnesota UWF, accepted the award.
Cindy Saufferer (right), president of Minnesota United Women in Faith, accepted the award Jeanne Audrey Powers Ecumenism Award for Healing a Broken World.

In the past year, UWF members in Minnesota have organized presentations on Native American ministry, participated in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women marches and Minnesota Healing Stories Sacred Sites Tours, and learned about migrant workers and racial reparations. UWF is a long-time partner of Emma Norton Services, which seeks to provide stable housing for women in transition. In the past year, UWF has also raised up deaconesses and home missioners who are putting love in action. In their steadfastness to their mission of healing a broken world and through their pivot to open membership to all women of faith, they embody the heart of this award.

Karla Hovde is the communications specialist for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058