If you want to know just how strong support for Africa University is in the Western Jurisdiction, just ask Tupou Kelemeni and her colleagues within the Pacific Islander Caucus of The United Methodist Church.
"Africa University means the world to me," said Kelemeni. "I think back to 30 years ago when we were working in Pueblo, Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Conference. We always reminded each other to pray for and support AU…Now, to hear that there are almost 2,000 students, it really hits home to me. I thank God that with my prayers, and whatever little financial support I have been able to give over the years, I am a part of this great work."
Kelemeni's passion for Africa University is shared by others in the Pacific Islander Caucus and in churches of all sizes, stretching from Alaska to California and into the Pacific Rim. Kelemeni is president of the Tongan Caucus. She's currently a member of First United Methodist Church of Honolulu in the Hawaii District of the California-Pacific Conference, and her church invests in the Africa University Fund (AUF) apportionment at 100 percent. It is one of around 1,700 churches whose generosity and commitment to mission helped the Western Jurisdiction to achieve its first overall investment of 100 percent to the AUF in 2017.
"Whenever we learn about an area of vital ministry where we can be partners in God's transformative work, the West wants to step up; Africa University has touched the heart of our annual conferences in the West," said Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the resident bishop of the San Francisco Area.
The eight Annual Conferences that comprise the Western Jurisdiction were at 100 percent in 2017. In 2016, Yellowstone was the only Western Jurisdiction conference that wasn't able to pay 100%, but that changed in 2017.
"At a crucial time in the life of The United Methodist Church, the Yellowstone Conference worked hard to pay 100% of its General Church apportionment to affirm the power found in connectionalism," said Bishop Karen Oliveto, who leads the Mountain Sky Area.
"We rejoice that we participate with United Methodists around the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in transformative ways," Oliveto said. "We give thanks to God for Africa University, its faculty, staff, students and graduates who are making a difference in churches and communities in Africa and around the world."
As chair of the Finance Committee of the Africa University Board of Directors, Bishop Minerva Carcaño appealed to United Methodists in the United States and around the world to do more for AU.
"The more we know about Africa University, the more we love Africa University," Carcaño said. "We see it in people's hopes and visions and deep commitment…because of what Africa University stands for. It stands for the best of our connectional church, (and) for the future of the church."
Giving to the AUF apportionment increased in all five jurisdictions of The United Methodist Church in the United States.
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.