Annual Conference awards 2023 outstanding clergy and laity

Above, Ward Smith, Michael C. Watson Volunteer in Mission Award, stands with his award, presented by Jennifer Parker at the UMVIM luncheon in June.

Every year, the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church presents awards for a number of honors: the Bishop’s Five Star Award, the Denman Evangelism Award, the Barbara Boultinghouse Bridge Builder award, the Michael C. Watson Volunteer in Mission Award and the Joseph Benjamin Bethea Distinguished Service Award.

This year, the Rev. Millie Nelson Smith announced the names of the award recipients at Annual Conference.

Awardees are as follows:

Bishop’s Five-Star Award, which is presented to churches that embrace new ministries geared toward growth and outreach.

The 2023 recipients are Belin Memorial UMC in Murrells Inlet (Rev. Will Malambri, pastor); Bethlehem-St. James UMC in Johns Island (Rev. Pattie Gordon, pastor); Centenary UMC in Moncks Corner (Rev. Darlene Moore Richardson, pastor); Grace UMC in Columbia (Rev. Rett Haselden, pastor); Herbert Memorial UMC in Georgetown (Rev. Charles Wilbanks, pastor); Kellybell UMC in Hartsville (Rev. Mary Burnell, pastor); New Life UMC in Walterboro (Rev. Angela Ford Nelson, pastor); New Webster UMC in Wadmalaw Island (Rev. Pattie Gordon, pastor); O’Neal Street UMC in Newberry (Rev. Darlene Kelley, pastor); St. James UMC in Spartanburg (Rev. Andrew Wolfe, pastor); and the Trinity-Harris Charge in Greenwood (Rev. Thessa Smith, pastor).

Joseph Benjamin Bethea Distinguished Service Award is presented to persons (clergy, laity, youth) who have performed outstanding service in working for racial justice.

The 2023 recipient is Shelby Henderson, a member of New Harmony UMC in Seneca.

Michael C. Watson Volunteer in Mission Award is presented to persons (clergy, laity) who exemplify extraordinary volunteer service beyond the local church.

The 2023 recipient is Ward Smith, a member of Mount Hebron UMC in West Columbia.

Barbara Boultinghouse Bridge Builder Award is presented to person or organization for promoting equity and inclusiveness without regard to race, gender, age, handicap or economic condition.

The 2023 recipient is the Rev. Elizabeth Murray, associate pastor for youth and young adults at American Church in Paris.

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors pastors and laypersons for responsible evangelism in the local church.

The 2023 recipients are the Rev. Corinthia Mack (clergy), pastor of New Market UMC in Hartsville, and Judi Landin (laity), a member of Bluffton UMC, Bluffton.

Information about nominations for next year’s awards, including forms, can be downloaded at

Get Periodic Updates from the Advocate We never sell or share your information. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.