Fifteen local congregations in the Baltimore-Washington Conference opened their pulpits and Sunday school classes in March to learn more about and celebrate Africa University's ministry. The presenters, members of the Africa University Advisory Development Committee, (ADC), found a warm welcome, many threads of connection, and an abiding interest in the university's impact, among the congregants.
At Bel Air UMC, Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey preached at three worship services and described many wonderful, post-worship conversations with members that attest to the congregation's passion for global mission.
Similarly, at Annandale UMC, Bishop Ernest Lyght experienced genuine hospitality and found that the pastor, Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown and members of the congregation are drawn to the task of providing scholarships for students and want to explore the possibility of a 2017 mission trip to the main campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
"The ground is fertile in this mission-minded congregation," said Bishop Lyght.
|Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown with Bishop Ernest Lyght, shows off his Chiremba pin, given in recognition of contributions by major donors.
It was an emotional and heartwarming moment for ADC member, Ms. Brenda Chadwick, to speak to the congregation at Epworth Chapel UMC about Africa University. Chadwick lives in North Carolina. Just ten months ago, Epworth Chapel UMC was a source of care and encouragement as its pastor, Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, visited her during a period of treatment for a brain tumor and aneurism at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
"I did not know Dr. Hunt before he came to pray with and for me in the hospital but his ministry of presence encouraged me," Chadwick said. "My heart is full of joy and I am thankful to still be here—standing, walking and talking—and able to share my love for Africa University."
Using John1:16 as the foundation for her remarks, Chadwick spoke to the congregation about connection and the "fullness of God's grace" as a wellspring of hope and a source of both personal healing—as in the case of her recovery from illness—and the continental transformation and healing that they are a part of through Africa University.
Andra M. Stevens, Director, Communications, Africa University Development Office
A World Service Special Gift is a designated financial contribution made by an individual, local church, organization, district or annual conference to a project authorized as such by the Connectional Table. Current World Service Special Gifts projects include the Africa University Endowment Fund, the Leonard Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students, the Methodist Global Education Fund, the National Anti-Gambling Project and the Lay Missionary Planting Network.