During worship on Sunday, March 13, United Methodist Women have the honor of presenting long-time Belmont members, Bill and Beverly Lovell, with the Special Missions Recognition Award, an award given annually to persons demonstrating extraordinary dedication to Christian mission and outreach. The Lovell’s have exemplified that dedication to Christian mission in their years of service, both here and abroad.

Bill is a retired UMC pastor who served churches in the Tennessee Conference. Raised by missionary parents in the Belgian Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo), Bill speaks the Otetela language fluently and has served as a translator and host on many occasions when visiting dignitaries from the DRC itinerated in the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences. Bill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory and Henry College (Emory, VA), and Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Duke University Divinity School, respectively.

Beverly was born and reared in Durham, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Duke University and holds graduate degrees in Social Work and Special Education from the University of North Carolina and Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to her retirement in 1998, Beverly was a social worker, and also taught in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Post retirement, the Lovells have continued their commitment to Christian mission in numerous ways, including their ongoing dedication to Africa University, scholarship (Bill had written two books, the Otetela Hymnal and the 100th Anniversary of The Methodist Church in Central Congo,1912-2013), and their deep commitment to Belmont’s Golden Triangle Fellowship. Since the inception of the GTF, the Lovells have spearheaded fundraising, tutoring, transportation, and other means of support for this community, raising awareness within the entire Belmont UMC community. We also cannot fail to mention Beverly’s magnificent dedication to children and youth Sunday School in our GTF community. Her contribution has been invaluable.

Please congratulate the Lovells on this well-deserved award. If you are unable to greet them this morning, notes of congratulations would be a special joy for them.