Celebrating 2023 Denman Evangelism Award Winners


Each year our Annual Conference has the honor of selecting three individuals to receive the Denman Evangelism Award.  The award honors a United Methodist clergy, lay person, and youth in every annual conference who consistently introduces others to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The award is named for the late Harry Denman, a lay person whose passion was helping others to know Jesus.
This year, the following disciple-makers in the North Georgia Conference received the award:

2023 Denman Award Youth Recipient

Elijah John is a member of Red Oak UMC in Stockbridge. A photographer, he uses his camera as a gateway to tell the stories of people and show how Christ is working in their lives.

"Elijah John’s camera is his evangelistic tool that draws people into relationships with others and with Christ. He has life in his lens," said his pastor Rev. Dr. LK Pendelton,

Elijah John serves in various leadership capacities, including serving as Vice-President of the Red Oak United Methodist Men, participating in UMYF, and is the youth representative on the Church Council. He is a youth usher and sings on the male chorus and participates in the church’s theatrical productions. He makes financial contributions and stocks the 24-hour food pantry monthly. He is a lay member-at-large for the Central South District to Annual Conference. In the Fall of 2023, he will attend Kennesaw State University where he will begin as a sophomore.
2023 Denman Award Lay Recipient

Nancy Yates is a long-time member of Aldersgate UMC in Augusta. She sees the world as her parish and models her belief that there is no place that is not appropriate to share the love of God by word or deed.

She has given her entire life to pouring the mercy and grace of God into people of all ages and stages of life, particularly youth and children, who she has taught and counseled for 50 years, reaching generations of students for Christ. Most recently, when her church discerned a call to reach children and families in new and intergenerational ways, she took the lead in helping launch "Messy Church," a Fresh Expression of ministry specifically for intergenerational disciple-making.

"In my mind, Nancy is the example of an evangelistic heart," said her pastor, Rev. Brett DeHart. "She truly wants everyone to know the love of Jesus that she has experienced."
2023 Denman Award Clergy Nominees
Rev. Brett DeHart, Rev. Randy Kanipe, Rev. Belinda McCastle, Rev. Steve Wood

This year, four outstanding clergy were nominated for consideration for the Denman Award and the Connectional Ministries team was compelled to recognize them. Each of these clergy loves Christ and seeks to serve Christ daily in the world. Between them, they represent dozens of congregations served, and thousands of people invited into deeper relationships with Jesus.

The ministry of these servant leaders includes connecting conflict resolution in Northern Ireland to discipleship in Georgia,  launching ministry for young adults with special needs, creating spaces for kids to encounter Christ through karate, helping adults to receive better access to mental health care, and helping the recovery community experience beloved community.

While only one official recipient could be selected, the Annual Conference celebrated the ministry of each of these nominees.

2023 Denman Award Clergy Recipient

​Currently serving as pastor of Aldersgate UMC in Augusta, Brett has been serving faithfully in The United Methodist Church for 19 years. In every congregation, he further cultivated the congregation’s passion for and engagement with its community through missional outreach and creative expressions of church. Under his leadership, churches have launched expressions of Recovery Church, Dinner Church, Messy Church, Disaster Response, and Disaster Recovery. Further, in each ministry setting, he has inspired and launched lay and clergy leaders serving alongside him to do the same.

"Brett helps people see how Jesus speaks to their questions, doubts, and needs," said ​Rev. Dr. Richard Hunter "He openly shares his walk with Christ and lives a Christ-like example of acceptance, love, and compassion."

Congratulations to the 2023 Recipients of the Denman Evangelism Award, Rev. Brett DeHart, Nancy Yeates, and Elija John Washington!
Next Year's Denman Awards
If you would like to nominate a young person, a lay person, or a clergy person for consideration in 2024, please visit https://foundationforevangelism.org/harry-denman-evangelism-award/, download the application, and submit the application to Rev. Blair Boyd Zant in the Conference Office. The deadline for nominations will be April 14, 2024.