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Award celebrates the joy of giving

The Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award honors creative outreach by United Methodist congregations and the efforts of a man who taught about generous giving.


Michigan Conference Communications

Rev. Wayne Barrett
Rev. Wayne C. Barrett

Living out the phrase “paying it forward” provides a deep legacy of benefits for generations to come. Recipients of the Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award fully illustrate how to multiply finances for the benefit of many.

The United Methodist Foundation of Michigan (UMF) issues the annual award to recognize exemplary stewardship ministry and a culture of generosity. First given in 2016, it is named for the Rev. Wayne C. Barrett who provided UMF leadership for 35 years, assisting more than 1,000 congregations with planned giving, capital funding and stewardship development.

David Bell, UMF president and executive director, spoke about his mentor. “Our Board of Directors is excited to honor the nationally recognized stewardship ministry of Wayne Barrett. He served the Foundation with distinction for several decades. His church finance teaching and his generous lifestyle were formative in cultivating the vocational calling of a generation of United Methodist foundation executives, including my own!”

United Methodist congregations who received the $2,500 recognition in 2019 are: Grand Rapids: Aldersgate UMC, Coleman: Faith UMC, Kalamazoo: First UMC and Montague UMC.

One 2019 award will leverage other funds to provide a transitional house in Kalamazoo with a local agency. “One of the primary activities of the Kalamazoo Y is the operation of a domestic violence/abuse shelter for women and their children,” explained Mark Oudersluys, a facilitator of Kalamazoo: First UMC’s Dream Team, a group that seeks solutions to community needs. 

Valley Church in Allendale receives the Wayne C. Barrett Award
Ransom Leppink, Chair of the Board of the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan, presents the Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award at Valley Church (Allendale). Accepting the award are Nathan Harvey and Matt Bistayi, Lead Pastor. ~ photo courtesy United Methodist Foundation of Michigan

“One of the goals of the Y,” Oudersluys said, “is to provide stable housing for its clients after they leave the shelter and assist them in beginning a new life. This transitional house is the first project of the Dream Fund, a $1,000,000 capital campaign to address homelessness and affordable housing needs in Kalamazoo. (Our church) has a very long and rich history of community involvement in the areas of housing and hunger, and the Dream Fund is the church’s most recent effort in this area.  By partnering with local housing agencies and the city government, we hope that we can provide a more stable living environment for those in need in our city.”

Churches who receive the annual Wayne C. Barrett award must meet at least six requirements: invest funds in the UMF Collective Investment Funds of Michigan LLC, have contributed 100% of its previous year’s conference ministry shares and be current in the present year’s giving, demonstrate a collaborative relationship between the pastor and laity in providing leadership in financial stewardship, articulate a clearly defined mission and vision for the church, adhere to financial procedures and protocols in the Book of Discipline, and provide an advance indication of the intended use of the funds.

“Wayne truly has a passion for stewardship,” said Marian Coles, UMF’s senior director of operations. “The purpose of the award is really two-fold — to recognize and honor Wayne for his years of service and second to recognize those churches that are thinking outside the box and creating opportunities for the church with their “giving” practices and programs — just as Wayne did across the years in his career with the church.”

Pastor and Finance Chair Coleman Faith UMC accept Wayne Barrett Award for generous giving.
The Rev. Jeff Regan, Senior Director of Stewardship-UM Foundation of Michigan, presents the Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award to Coleman Faith United Methodist Church. L-r: Pastor Nathan Reed, Rev. Jeff Regan, Albert Selesky, Finance Chair. ~ photo courtesy United Methodist Foundation of Michigan

Another 2019 recipient, Coleman Faith, serves free meals in the church, provides meals to community shut-ins and has a clothing center. The award money will help purchase a generator to provide additional community services during emergencies.  

“They are demonstrating that the financial resources of the church belong to God and a greater community than just the membership,” Coles said. “They are finding abundance amidst limited resources. Those are the types of applications that our grant committee is looking to recognize and reward.”

Applications for the Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award are due in March with award notification in May. View the UMF website for more details.

Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The Michigan Conference