Two church leaders receive GNJ Denman, Davisson awards

May 14, 2024 |

The 2024 Greater New Jersey Annual Conference honors two lay members who are providing a lifetime of leadership to their local churches and beyond.

Harry Denman Evangelism Award

Jack Scharf, a Certified Lay Minister and Lay Member to Annual Conference, has served alongside seven pastors as a member of Morristown United Methodist church for 45 years. A member of the GNJ Council on Finance and Administration, he is also president of the Centenary Fund and Preachers’ Aid Society.

Scharf is a faculty member of both the Lay Leadership Academy and the Lay Servant Certification Program. He is Lay Leader of the Skylands District serves on its Committee on Ministry and has served as a conference coach for about 20 churches, while performing annual financial audits for 10 churches. He has a Masters in Theological Studies (MTS) degree from Drew Theological School and has served as vice president of its alumni association.

But the Denman Award recognizes the dedication of evangelists, and that also describes Jack Scharf. “He freely shares his faith journey with his local church, his community, his denomination and even the world,” reads his award nomination. “In sharing his own story of how Jesus transformed his life, he brings others to know and claim that story for themselves.

“It is his kindness and caring heart that are his strongest evangelism tool. Through those qualities he builds relationships where people want to know more about his faith and how he has overcome so many challenges and is able to be the person he is today. God uses Jack Scharf to share the radical message of Jesus Christ that people matter.”

Helenor Alter Davisson Award

Mary Bland, a Certified Lay Servant and Lay Member to Annual Conference at Christ Church United Methodist in Paterson, has served and helped lead numerous church committees and ministries. A communion steward and worship leader, she is also the president of Christ Church’s United Women in Faith and a member of the Board of Trustees, choir, scholarship committee and GriefShare ministry.

In addition, Bland serves beyond her local church on the GNJ Committee on the Status & Role of Women (COSROW) and the Skylands District Superintendency Committee.

Moreover, Bland joyfully serves the community through her church’s affiliated New Direction CDC (Community Development Corporation), the Paterson Alliance, Public School #13, Servant’s Heart and Star of Hope Ministries. She also helps distribute fresh produce to residents and participates in church and citywide prayer groups.