Leaders awarded grants for evangelism efforts

The Calling Disciples Resource Team (CDRT) was able to award grants of $2,000 to clergy or laity within the conference who had been innovative in their evangelism efforts for calender year 2009.

The following efforts were recognized by CDRT:

SE District:   Berry Long Memorial Pastor William Jolly and Clearview UMC, Pastor William Jolly

NE District:  First UMC: WindGap, Minister Deanie DiBenedetto and Grace St. Paul UMC, Pastor Mike Netznik

NW District:  First UMC, Pottsville, Pastor Storm Hutchinson

Central District:  St. Matthews, Reading(info pending) and Haws Avenue UMC/Open Arms Pastor Tracy Bass

Haws Avenue UMC, under Rev. Tracy Bass has opened up its doors to Open Doors UMC, which is under the pastorate of Rev. Robb Faller. Open Doors is mission- centric, and focused on under-served populations.  With the help of Haws, they have formed a united front to reach the unchurched in Norristown.

Both Berry Long and Clearview were recognized for being congregations that are growing rapidly.  They are both under served by Rev.Willaim Jolly, and each is hoping to become a full time  charge in this coming  year.   They have a new emphasis called  “Each one Reach One” and God is blessing those congregations to grow significantly and make a difference in the community.

First UMC in Pottsville, where Storm Hutchinson is pastor, was recognized for their effectiveness in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The are reaching out with the slogan WIN:

WITNESS thru Love and Service, INVITE others to a relationship with Jesus, NURTURE others to become Disciples of Jesus

First UMC at Wind Gap under the direction of Deanie DiBenedetto has done a tremendous job over the last 2 and ½ years of reaching out to the community.  It was a slowly shrinking congregation, but under Deanie’s direction the attendance had increased as well as the membership. There is tremendous energy in the church.  All this with Deanie serving as a CLM. The church held their first VBS in years last summer, has a confirmation class going for the first time.

Grace-St. Paul UMC at Jim Thorpe has been an extraordinary story of renewal.  The church was located in downtown Jim Thorpe, and decreasing year by year.  Pastor Mike Netznik brought new energy and excitement to ministry, and helped the congregation make the move to a new site outside of town on the mountain.  They have constructed a new church in three stages, dedicating the new sanctuary in November of 2009, with all debt paid off.  There has also been a broad expansion of lay led ministries.

St. Matthew’s (Rev. Quentin Wallace, pastor) was recognized for leading the charge of Evangelism by focusing on diversity and becoming more reflective of the community in which in which the church resides.  They have a successful after school program that is helping them to grow.