Harry Denman

Harry Denman

Harry Denman was a noted Methodism lay leader and evangelist within the United Methodist Church who emphasized the life taught by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. Denman strongly challenged modern materialism and prejudice, by exemplifying and teaching a simple life, and by personally relating to all people, regardless of race, gender, or economic means. His personal property was very limited; for example he usually had only one pair of shoes to his name. Articles that were given to him were generally given away to the needy. He was a close friend of another well-known evangelist, Billy Graham who called Denman "one of the great mentors for evangelism." ["Prophetic Evangelist : The living legacy of Harry Denman" foreword by Billy Graham]

He was born September 26, 1893 in Birmingham, Alabama of Hattie Leonard and William Harry Denman, who immigrated from Gloucestershire, England. He earned a bachelors degree from Birmingham-Southern College in 1921, and a masters degree in social work in 1930. In 1936 he received an honorary doctorate from Athens State University in Alabama. In 1915, Denman became secretary of the Birmingham Sunday School Association, a post which he held until 1919, when he became church manager of the First Methodist Church in Birmingham.

In 1939 he was elected General Secretary of the Commission on Evangelism, later known as the Board of Evangelism, of the newly formed The Methodist Church [(The two General Conferences, Methodist Episcopal Church (or northern section) and Methodist Episcopal Church, South remained separate until the 1939 merger of these two denominations plus a third, the Methodist Protestant Church, the resulting church being known as The Methodist Church)] which had united three branches of Methodism. As the general secretary, he also had responsibility for the publication of "The Upper Room", a devotional publication. He was also a member of the Jurisdictional Conferences in 1940, 1944, 1948, and 1952.

On January 31, 1949 Denman incorporated The Foundation for Evangelism. The founders included Denman, the General Secretary of The General Board of Evangelism and a dedicated group of elected members of the General Board who wanted to directly support evangelism ministries within the Methodist denomination. Created as a non-profit entity, the Foundation for Evangelism is most notable as the home to the Harry Denman Evangelism Awards given to those clergy and lay persons for outstanding service in evangelism. It is also home to the E. Stanley Jones Professors of Evangelism which supports 15 professorships at various colleges and seminaries around the world, funded by the "Christian Art" initiative. The Foundation sponsors various groups and organizations like youth ministries and established the "Web Empowered Church" website which offers open-source software created specifically for local churches, free of charge.

In 1965, Denman retired from the Foundation and with his final salary turned around and donated it back to the organization. He then traveled extensively in the United States and throughout the world to preach and conduct evangelistic meetings. He died November 8, 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama at the age of 83.


* "Love Abounds: A Profile of Harry Denman, A Modern Disciple" by Asbury Smith and J. Manning Potts ISBN B000H9KB44
* "Harry Denman : A Biography" by Harold Rogers ISBN 0-369-51177-8
* "Prophetic Evangelist : The living legacy of Harry Denman, with foreword by Billy Graham" writings compiled by Bishop Earl G. Hunt and Dr. Ezra Jones ISBN 0-8358-0686-3
* "The Promise and the Power (Harry Denman lectures)" by Alan Walker ISBN 0-7624-1682-3
* Denman's personal papers are archived at the Pitts Theology Library, Emory University

External links

* [http://www.foundationforevangelism.org The Foundation for Evangelism]

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