By Jordan Beach
When District Superintendent Dr. Bernice Kirkland and Rev. Joyce Banks Gross notified Ariel Murphy that she won the Harry Denman Evangelism Award, she wasn’t familiar with the honor. Murphy is, however, familiar with the work that it takes to earn it.
At the 2019 North Georgia United Methodist Annual Conference, Murphy ‘20 received the Denman Award for Evangelism. The award is sponsored by the Foundation for Evangelism and honors members of the United Methodist Church at each Annual Conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism brings people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
“What an amazing recognition,” said Rev. Jamie Hudgins, Reinhardt’s campus pastor. “Seeing Reinhardt’s Ariel Murphy receive the prestigious Denman Award for Evangelism at the 2019 North Georgia Annual Conference was undoubtedly my favorite moment. And, I got to tell people sitting around me that I know her.”
The award honors United Methodists in each annual conference who not only bring people into a relationship with Christ but are committed to consistently introducing others to the good news in all ministry settings.
Murphy has a hand in many areas of the church, and at Reinhardt, she is known as a sports administration major with a concentration in general business, an Admissions Captain and a team member of Reinhardt’s Campus Ministries. With the United Methodist Church, she participates on almost every level of committee, including the National United Methodist Women’s Advisory Board, the Conference Board of United Methodist Women, the North Georgia Conference Young Adult Advisory Board, the Committee on Resolutions for North Georgia Annual Conference and the Atlanta Marietta District United Methodist Women. She also serves at Funshine Church with United Methodist Women and Vacation Bible School.
“I think it is important for young people to participate in the life of the church,” said Murphy. “I make every effort to share my involvement and invite others my age and older to become involved. I share that there is a place at the table for everyone. I don’t want to always be the youngest person at an event or even in my church, so I’ve made it my business to help bring people, especially younger people, in the church.”
Her mentality that everyone belongs will translate to her future of working in the field of athletics.
“Behind the scenes or on the playing field being cheered for, there is room for us all to be a part of a winning team,” said Murphy. “Christ’s invitation is available to us all and our role in spreading the good news is as unique as each of us are. We need only say we want to be a part of the mission and the door is open to us.”