EPA honors churches, leaders for the fruit they bear

What a wonderful celebration of exceptional evangelism ministry in the Eastern PA Conference of the United Methodist Church! Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Jeffery A. Weber (clergy), Rosalind McKelvey (laity), and Lydia Ermer (youth), the 2022 Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipients.

Story originally posted at https://www.epaumc.org.

Youth Denman Award: Lydia Ermer, a faithful youth member of Levittown: Emilie UMC, is demure but deeply caring and passionate about serving and sharing Christ, especially in cooperative ministry as an active leader in the EPA Conference Council on Youth Ministry. 

Lydia Ermer (left) receives the Youth Denman Award from Suzette James

“It is her sense of justice, fairness, treating others kindly and her love for Christ that makes Lydia standout among peers,” writes Associate Conference Youth Ministries Coordinator Jezerel Gutierrez, in nominating Lydia. “She is always willing to talk about her love for Jesus and her desire that others also experience the same love. 

“I watched her as she made a point to introduce herself and make sure new youth felt part of the group,” Gutierrez continues. “During meetings she listens very intently and loves to bring creative ideas to projects, rallies and events.  She is always willing to help in any capacity to make sure the events are successful and enjoyed by other youth.  While she may not always feel equipped to pray for others or lead activities, she is always willing to volunteer and try. 

“Her courage to try new things often inspires those around her to follow suit. As part of CCYM, she has packed food for the needy, planned youth rallies, participated in diversity retreats, and helped in Annual Conference.”  Gutierrez expresses confidence that Lydia “will be one of our future ministers, for she already is one.” 

Laity Denman Award: Rosalind McKelvey, a Christ Servant Minister, is a longtime servant, advocate, interpreter, leader and caregiver for Deaf persons. Known throughout the Eastern PA Conference and beyond, she attends to the physical, emotional, spiritual and communication needs of Deaf persons in many places with ardent compassion and grace.

Rosalind McKelvey (left) and the Rev. Jeffrey Weber (right), both Denman Awardees, flank Deb Knerr, who interpreted the ceremony in sign.

From volunteering at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to organizing the Germantown Deaf Ministries Fellowship, Inc. in Philadelphia to advocating before church and public policy leaders, she offers creative, sensitive, outspoken wisdom about the needs and concerns of the Deaf community. She also teaches American Sign Language to Deaf and hearing persons.

Roz has directed Deaf choirs and interpreted worship at Philadelphia: Grace UMC and other churches and events, offering many Deaf members a place to belong and to contribute their gifts.

Clergy Denman Award: The Rev. Jeffrey A. Weber, since being appointed to Reeders UMC in 2020, has welcomed 16 new members into the congregation, including a dozen this year. A lifelong member at Stroudsburg UMC, he served in the U.S. military and in state government, followed by a career in higher education at East Stroudsburg University. Upon retiring, he answered the call to ministry, becoming a Licensed Local Pastor in 2020.

Dr. Weber is known to be passionate, relational and effective in evangelism, and he is active beyond the local church, demonstrating a true servant’s heart. He brings his rich, diverse background into ministry among all ages, both young and old. He has adapted to a profound hearing impairment suffered during his military service, combining use of sign language with lipreading and new technology.

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