Chris Doran proudly shows her Susanna Wesley Award to friends attending the Upper New York Annual Conference meeting in Syracuse.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Earlier this year, UM Men created the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence to honor women who have made significant contributions to their families, churches and communities.
In March, the National Association of Conference Presidents presented the first Susanna Wesley Award to Martha Davis, chief operating officer of the General Commission on UM Men.
"Martha’s skills include human resources, information technology, video editing, operations, systems organizer, meeting planner, hostess, chief financial officer, accounts manager supply coordinator, adviser, editor, registration guru, designer, data manager, musician, problem solver, mentor, artist and friend,” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the commission.
Since that time, UM Men organizations across the United States have presented the same award to 41 pastors, leaders of UM Women, local church leaders, and community servants.
Dr. Deborah B. Smith
A recent honoree is the Rev. Dr. Deborah B. Smith, pastor of Centenary UMC in Memphis.
Presenters said Smith “personifies all aspects of the award: nurturing motherhood, faith, perseverance, intelligence, compassion and devotion. Like Susanna Wesley, she is a mother of children who support the church with their gifts and service, she provides guidance to those entering ministry and she serves as a nurturing spirit to all members of the church. A survivor of one of the greatest disasters in our country’s history, Hurricane Katrina, she remained faithful and helped others to regain their trust in God.”
Under the direction of Smith, Centenary UMC provides neighbors with more than 300 bags of food each month along with clothes, health services and school supplies. Centenary also serves breakfast to the homeless, initiates youth development and senior citizen programs, participates in prison ministries and provides mentoring and tutoring for area school children.
Dr. Sarah Sloan Kreutziger
Men of Munholland UMC in Metairie, La., presented a Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence to Dr. Sarah Sloan Kreutziger, associate professor emeritus of the Tulane School of Social Work.
She has served the Munholland Church as lay leader, chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, president of the church council and has been a member of the Louisiana Annual Conference for 26 years. She was elected to attend the 2016 General Conference in Portland; this will be the fifth time she has been elected a lay delegate to the global gathering.
She served the Louisiana Conference as the lay leader and served on the extended cabinet, the Mission Cabinet, the Wesley Board, the Disaster Recovery Center and the Conference Ministry Team.
Dr. Kreutziger has served the general church as a member of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the General Board of Church and Society. She is a trustee of the Foundation for Evangelism and member of the Conference and Jurisdictional Committees on the Episcopacy. She has been elected president of six civic New Orleans organizations.
During the Upper New York Annual Conference session, Mark Jones, conference president of UM Men, presented a Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence to Chris Doran, executive assistant to the bishop.
Jones said, “Chris was our choice for the award because–– as one of her sisters in Christ said––“Her life is wrapped around her faith; it is deep and profound and drives almost everything she does.”
The $500 award provides funds for men’s ministries, the Upper Room Prayer Line, the Society of St. Andrew, and scouting ministries.
An application form is available under Susanna Wesley Award in the resource section of this website.