District laity recognized with awards
By Lindsay Peyton
The East District is recognizing two outstanding lay leaders for their central role in ministry, with the Silver and Gold Award. The honor was created this year by Superintendent Rev. Dr. Richard P. White, along with the District Leadership Team. One male and one female laity member will be recognized annually in the future.
Virginia Henderson Winston and Wayne Haglund are the first recipients of the Silver and Gold Award. Both are from Lufkin and well known in their communities.
Rev. White explained that Winston and Haglund are fixtures in the United Methodist Church and each has worked on local, district and conference levels in the TAC.
“The amount of their own time and resources they have spent, and continue to spend, to support and strengthen every level and phase of the United Methodist Church and its connectional system is immeasurable,” he said.
White describes Virginia Henderson Winston, a lifelong Methodist, as a living example of grace. She loyally attends her local congregation, Keltys UMC in Lufkin, where she often serves as a volunteer. She is supportive to her church and pastor.
Winston also volunteers at the district office and has been a rock for district superintendents, serving whenever needed.
“Virginia is known throughout the conference, because of her countless efforts to support not only the local church but also strengthen the connection from there to the conference,” White said.
In response to being thanked for all her hard work she replied, “I loved every minute of it.”
Receiving the Silver and Gold Award also brought her joy. “I was just terribly flattered, especially to be the first one to receive it,” she said.
Like Winston, Wayne Haglund is well-known in Lufkin and throughout the East District and TAC. He serves in various capacities at his church, FUMC Lufkin, as well as on committees at the district and Conference level.
“Mr. Haglund does not stop there,” White said. “He takes the teachings of his church into the community and gives back in countless ways. Few are aware of all that this man does, out of the kindness of his heart and fulfilling his desire as a true Christian to help others.”
He was surprised and humbled to be recognized.
“My initial reaction was I don’t believe I deserve this recognition. I love the United Methodist Church and I am honored to serve the church in any way I can,” Haglund said. “Through my involvement in the Annual Conference, I have made many dear friends both across the Conference and across the connection.”
Humility is just one of the many Christ-like qualities Haglund possesses, White said.
“He is a well-respected leader, and the United Methodist Church feels most fortunate to have such faithfulness, devotion, and loyalty in its midst,” White continued. “Wayne Haglund gives and expects nothing in return.”
For this initial round of awards, Haglund and Winston were selected by the District Office. In the future, the District Leadership Team will choose recipients based on nominations submitted by their pastors.
“The name ‘Silver and Gold’ indicates the lasting and precious value of the laity in our congregations,” White said. “The East District is proud to recognize these two individuals of our community as two loyal and faithful people who truly go above and beyond in all that they do.”