North Carolina Conference of the UMC Honors Denman Award Winners

Evangelism is happening in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church…

This year’s Harry Denman Evangelism Award winners are proving that evangelism is a word and practice being reclaimed and lived out in our churches. Each year, the North Carolina Conference and conferences around the world award a pastor, layperson, and youth for outstanding leadership in evangelism. In 2023, the Evangelism and Discipleship Committee in the North Carolina Conference received and reviewed almost thirty applications for these categories. 

Three winners were recognized during their church services on August 27. Our outstanding 2023 evangelists are Ms. Gabriela (Gabi) Loazia Muñoz (youth), Mr. Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang (laity), and Rev. Wesley Neal (pastor).

Ms. Gabriela (Gabi) Loazia Muñoz

Our 2023 youth winner is a Murfreesboro UMC teen who understands the value of hospitality. Gabi invites at least one school friend to every conference event. As her nominator wrote, Gabi is reaching out to her Spanish-speaking friends to let them know they can find a church home in Murfreesboro and meet other UM youth in spaces like Pilgrimage. Gabi encourages others to reconnect with God in new ways by sharing her faith and developing friendships.

Mr. Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang

Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang has expanded St. James UMC’s outreach to neighboring East Carolina University (ECU) students, creating a welcoming space for them to gather. Knowing that college students love free meals, he initiated a “Free Food Monday” so they could meet regularly. The church’s efforts reached ECU’s international students, which has resulted in rich community gatherings, people sharing food from their countries, and new attendees at their Sunday worship services.

Rev. Wesley Neal

Wes Neal, the pastor at Asbury UMC, is part of the Central Durham Mission Cooperative, three congregations in ministry together who worship with one another quarterly. In recent years, Wes has increased Asbury’s community presence by connecting with neighbors. He plans contemplative prayer services open to the community, regular food distributions, and events that introduce neighbors to Asbury, such as a Children’s Day festival. Wes has also connected with nearby Duke University and the NC School of Science and Mathematics students. This year, Wes and Asbury welcomed an NCSSM student into their church family. After attending Asbury for two years, he chose to be baptized and was celebrated with a luncheon, surrounded by his new church family.

The NC Conference continues to show the light and life of Jesus in eastern North Carolina communities. We are grateful for our award winners and the way they continue to live into this vision. Be on the lookout for true evangelists in your church and nominate them in early 2024.

Video of the Denman Award Winners

–Evangelism and Discipleship Committee, North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church

This story was originally published at It has bee re-posted with permission.

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