Fired with Enthusiasm for Africa University

Cheryl LaTanya Walker is in her eleventh year of service as the Director of Black Congregational Ministries for Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship). Her large portfolio includes leadership formation and resource development.  One of the film projects produced under her leadership, Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Scared Music, won the Midsouth Regional Emmy for best documentary.  Cheryl has become a sought-after speaker, work-shop presenter, and consultant on matters pertaining to congregational vitality and re-vitalization.

Cheryl was born and reared in Chicago, IL.  She is the second born of four children.  She is a third generation United Methodist and has always been an active participant in the two congregations where she has held membership:  Fernwood UMC in Chicago and Ben Hill UMC in Atlanta (GA), where she is a current member.

Cheryl earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and her Master of Science degree in Counseling from Chicago State University (IL). Because of her life-long activism within the denomination, Cheryl was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Gammon Theological Seminary/Interdenominational Center (Atlanta, GA) in May 2014.

Cheryl's involvement with Africa University began in summer of 1991 when she chaired the missions work area at Ben Hill.  She   led a 16-member Volunteer in Mission team to Kenya and Zimbabwe in October of 1992. Upon her return from this life-changing trip, she became an outspoken and effective advocate for Africa University.  Partly in response to her advocacy, Ben Hill built a dormitory on the campus in 2002 that now houses female students.

Cheryl has been a member of the AU Advisory Development Committee since 1998, cultivating friends and raising funds for the institution.  In 2002, she was one of the first to make a planned gift to the university, designating AU the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.  "This gift was a no-brainer for me," Dr. Walker said when asked why did she include the university in her estate plans.  She continued, "Africa University is a place where dreams and hopes are being realized every day, not only for Africa but also for the world.  I am proud to be a part of this transforming institution." 

Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, 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.