2020 Man of the Year


Rayman Richardson is named 2020 ‘United Methodist Man of the Year’

Rayman P. Richardson has been named the 2020 “United Methodist Man of the Year” by the West Virginia United Methodist Men.

Richardson is a member of LIFE United Methodist Church, Fairmont. The Man of the Year Award is the highest honor bestowed by the West Virginia United Methodist Men.

To be considered for the honor, a United Methodist man must have a lifetime of continuous service to the United Methodist Church and the community through the United Methodist Men. Other criteria include a Christian character, leadership in the church and community, and the faithful fulfillment of church membership vows with prayers, gifts, service and witness.

Richardson was born in Piedmont, Missouri, in 1939. He was baptized and raised in the Piedmont Methodist Church. He earned the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and served in the Order of the Arrow. He taught Sunday School classes to youth and adults, sang in choirs, played in his church’s bell choir and played in a brass band.

He has an undergraduate degree from what is now known as Central Methodist University, a master’s from the University of Missouri and a doctorate from The Ohio State University.

Richardson helped re-organize his United Methodist Men’s group around 1990 and has continued to be an active member. He served two terms as the Mon Valley District United Methodist Men’s president, from 1990 to 1991 and from 2017 to 2019. 

Following Hurricane Katrina, Richardson led four mission trips. He also organized seven local ecumenical mission projects via the Faith in Action programs in the Fairmont area.

Other examples of Richardson’s service: He served as a Bible study group leader and Sunday School teacher for 20 years, he has been involved in a Bible Study Group that met every two weeks for 25 years, he has been a choir member for 30 years, he has driven cancer patients for their medical treatments to local hospitals for 35 years, and he has driven for Meals on Wheels for 17 years.

The West Virginia United Methodist Man of the Year Award was created in 1953. The 2020 honoree was named during the Methodist Men’s annual gathering, held Sept. 12 via Zoom.

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Gentlemen in Christ: A few years ago it was decided that we should follow the criteria for ‘Man of the Year’ as outlined below.

Nominations should be put in a letter that explains the activities of the nominee over the years at his local church, at his district, in the state conference level and, if applicable, at the national level. The letter should also cover the nominee’s community activities.  — Don Davis, June 20, 2018

‘Man of the Year’ criteria

     In 1954 the West Virginia United Methodist Men elected to honor an outstanding man by naming that person ‘Layman of the Year.’ There were some guidelines, but not one item was put in writing and  no addition was made to the by-laws to make it official.

For a short time the names that were submitted were presented to the members of the Annual Conference as a whole. The members of the conference then voted on the nominee to determine the person that would receive this honor.

     When the gathering was moved to Jackson’s Mill, the following changes were made: 1. The men attending the gathering would select the person to receive this honor and 2. The name was changed to United Methodist ‘Man of the Year.’

In keeping with some of the criteria from 1953 and other criteria mentioned in newspaper articles from 1961 and 1971, the following criteria were developed for evaluating and selecting the Man of the Year:

  1. An outstanding (United Methodist Man) in the church.
  2. Must have a lifetime (a minimum of 25 years) of continuous service to a United Methodist Church and the community through the United Methodist Men.
  3. The nominee be of a. Christian character b. have leadership in the local church, district and conference level. c. Have or shown a leadership role in community affairs and/ or service organizations. d. Faithfully fulfilled his church membership vows by prayers, present, gifts, service and witness.
  4. That any person serving as an Executive Officer in the Conference United Methodist Men is ineligible for nomination.
  5. That this honor or award can only be received once by an individual.

     In keeping with the spirit of the original plan, anyone can be nominated as an outstanding man using the following steps:

  1. Complete a letter of the nomination. There is no  special form to fill out, but the letter should include  the nominee’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, name of his church, church address, as well as  the name of the person submitting the nomination and all of that person’s contact information.
  2. The letter should be accompanied by a brief biography of the nominee explaining what makes him an outstanding man. Include a record of service through the United Methodist Men to God and neighbors, the length of service at the time of the nomination and the date of the nomination. Please include a detailed explanation of this service at the local, district, and conference levels along with any service organization’s he belongs to and his service in the community.
  3. Submit the letter to your church or to the West Virginia Conference President for United Methodist Men.

      A selection committee will be formed consisting of each district president or a person from that district to be determined by the president of the West Virginia United Methodist Men. In addition to the nine (9) district presidents, two (2) addition people will be appointed by the president of the United Methodist Men, one being a member of the clergy and the other being a lay person.

The selection committee will meet on Friday evening at the September United Methodist Men Gathering at Jackson Mill’s to review the nominees. The name of the nominee who is determined to be the ‘Man of the Year’ will be given only to the president of the West Virginia United Methodist Men, who will make the announcement at the Saturday evening business section.

The recipient of this honor  can have the award presented to him at any place or time of his choosing.