Local churches continue to show their commitment to shared ministry and global connection in The United Methodist Church through intentional investment in the Africa University Fund (AUF) apportionment.
In 2018, 32 annual conferences invested 100 percent or more of their asking to the AUF. Their generosity resulted in overall support of 93 percent for the AUF—the highest percentage among the seven general church apportioned funds. Through the AUF, congregations help to sustain Africa University’s day-to-day operations by funding basic utilities, development activities, faculty salaries, and teaching and learning resources.
“I am excited and grateful to the church for its support,” said Bishop Julius C. Trimble, chair of the development committee of the AU Board of Directors. “Thank you to the local churches and annual conferences that support the AUF at 100 percent or higher and thank you to those that are striving to do so.”
As Africa University’s chief advancement officer, James Salley notes that the churches’ faithful investment remains vital considering the ongoing macro-economic challenges in the Zimbabwe operating environment. Zimbabwe is experiencing high unemployment, cash/foreign exchange shortages, a three-tier pricing system, and inadequacies in the energy and other infrastructure.
“We believe Africa University is a gift from God,” said Salley. “The Zimbabwe economy is one of the most depressed in the world but still we thrive. We are thankful for the investment made to our ministry that produces phenomenal returns. Africa University has been prudent, accountable and responsible to the church. God continues to do a new thing in blessing Africa University.”
Economic woes in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the African continent factor into student and staff recruitment and retention as well as the overall operating costs for Africa University. Nonetheless, Africa University is lauded for its consistently excellent service delivery, innovations and the relevance of its academic programs.
Zimbabwe’s situation is not all gloom and doom. The country’s protracted economic difficulties have not stifled growth, which at 3.5 percent in 2018, was better than expected. Zimbabwe also has one of the most youthful populations in the world, with young people ages 15-34 accounting for more than two-thirds of the total population. Despite the current challenges, Zimbabwe’s economy is forecast to grow by more than four percent this year.
“The changing of lives and preparation of leadership for the future in real time is what is happening at AU,” said Trimble. “Every dollar is well-spent. During this time of angst and concern for the future of The United Methodist Church, it is important to remain steadfast in supporting this disciple-making and transformative ministry.”
excerpt of a story by Andra M. Stevens, Director, Communications, Africa University Development Office
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.