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Derek McAleer receives 2022 Denman Evangelism Award


The Rev. Dr. Derek McAleer has been awarded the United Methodist Church’s highest evangelism honor, the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. 

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award program honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism – expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how) – brings people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Each year Annual Conferences and the Foundation for Evangelism recognize persons in each conference. In South Georgia, nominations for this award are submitted to the Conference Witness Team, who then chooses a recipient for the award.

Evangelism happens in many contexts and many settings; impacts and engages all generations; and requires relationship among a variety of persons. What distinguishes a Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipient is the commitment to consistently introduce others to the Good News of Jesus Christ in all ministry settings. Their ministry is exceptional for the number of new Christ followers who credit encounters with this person as critical in helping to start or reignite their faith journey.

Dr. McAleer began his ministry in 1977 as the Director of Youth at Grace UMC in Savannah, his home church and the place where he received his call into ministry. Ordained as an elder in 1984, Dr. McAleer served the congregations of Davisboro, Dudley Charge (Allentown, Danville, Dudley, & Montrose), Ebenezer (Macon), Rincon, St. Marys, and Forest Hills (Macon) prior to becoming the Vice President for Church Relations at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth in Macon. Dr. McAleer served at The Methodist Home for 8 years before being appointed to the Director of Administrative Services and Treasurer for the South Georgia Conference in 2014. He will retire on Dec. 31, 2022

“Derek's ministry has always had an emphasis on fruitfulness,” said the Rev. Dr. Rick Lanford in the nomination. “It has driven the effective way he preaches, whether it's in the churches he has served, the churches he has preached in all over South Georgia, and in revivals and camp meetings.

“He is faithful to the Word, faithful to bring home the point in every sermon, and faithful to issue an invitation to discipleship. Derek's powerful administrative skills have also been focused on fruitful ministry and fruitful discipleship in multiple settings of influence,” said Lanford.

The award was presented to Dr. McAleer by Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, during a recent retirement celebration celebrating Dr. McAleer’s 42 years of ministry in South Georgia. 

“In all the churches you served, at the Children’s Home, and also in the role of treasurer and director of administrative services, it was all about sharing Christ and making disciples,” said Bishop Graves in his presentation. “On behalf of The United Methodist Church, the Foundation for Evangelism, and the South Georgia Conference it is my privilege to present to Derek the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. We give thanks for Derek’s leadership in making disciples.”

The Foundation of Evangelism promotes, encourages and provides resources to grow Wesleyan evangelism bringing all people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. To nominate clergy, laity or youth for the 2023 Harry Denman Evangelism award, contact Rev. Danita Knowles, chair of the conference Witness Team, at


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