Evangelism extends God’s love in a variety of contexts and settings; it impacts and engages all generations; and evangelism is built upon relationship – both with God and with those around us. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
Rev. David Meredith is the pastor of Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, as well as the Director of Urban Ministry for the Ohio River Valley District. Following his appointment at Clifton UMC in 2012, David began to grow the worship attendance, empowering each member to "do ministry" and instilling in the congregation the desire to bear witness to God's unconditional love. Today, the church has grown to two worship services on Sunday morning with many young families and a vital children's ministry is in place: Godly Play Sunday school, midweek choir practice, chime choir practice, and Vacation Bible School.
Since arriving at CUMC, Rev. Meredith has also instituted innovative new outreach ministries, including Church Beyond the Walls, one Sunday in the fall and one in the spring, in which the whole congregation participates in service projects in the neighborhood. He has strengthened the already passionate commitment to social justice shared among the CUMC congregation with his own commitment to stand up for others, such as helping the church become a Sanctuary Congregation and guiding the work needed to remodel part of the church to host refugees and other families in need.
“All of this, and more, has happened because of Pastor David's giftedness in establishing relationships as he practices what it means for the Christ in himself to acknowledge the Christ in the other,” says Linda Young, Lay Leader at Clifton UMC.
In his role with the Ohio River Valley District, Rev. Meredith has been instrumental in forming and nurturing the Eclipse Legal Clinic. Through this ministry, many who have not felt safe in the church due to their immigration status have been welcomed and supported as they receive valid counsel to know whether or or not they have a pathway to legal citizenship. When acts of violence due to religious, racial, or other differences have taken place around the globe or close to home, Rev. Meredith has helped to lead interfaith vigils that offer solidarity and support for those who have been harmed.
“David continually seeks to build relationships in our district between people, and between churches, and he does so across the theological spectrum,” remarks Rev. Suzanne Allen, Assistant to the District Superintendent (ORV). “There are many who might not agree with certain theological or social stances that he takes, yet they have a deep respect for his faith, for his passion for the marginalized, and for his willingness to be in relationship with them in spite of their criticism of him.”
Thank you, Rev. Meredith, for your exceptional leadership in helping to build God’s kingdom!