Twenty-seven annual conferences paid 100 percent of their 2012 asking for Africa University; four of them exceeded their goal. Your support of The Africa University Fund helps defray the overhead costs at Africa University.
Wisconsin Conference paid a whopping 169.31 percent and Greater New Jersey Conference paid 104.69 percent. Iowa Conference paid 100.57 percent and Louisiana Conference paid 100.03 percent.
Other conferences paying 100 percent to Africa University are East Ohio, Illinois Great Rivers, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, West Michigan, West Ohio, Baltimore-Washington, New England, New York, Peninsula-Delaware, Upper New York, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Kansas West, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Southwest Texas, Florida, Holston, North Carolina, Red Bird Missionary, Tennessee, Alaska Missionary and Desert Southwest.
Wisconsin bishop Hee-Soo Jung says his conference has maintained a longtime relationship with Africa University and “our churches celebrate the level of higher education advancement that Africa University has accomplished.” In addition, the bishop says he has mentored a few students from the Zimbabwe school and some conference leaders have been to Old Mutare to visit the school. He is also planning a visit in the near future. Bishop Jung adds that Wisconsinite Paul Webster, an agricultural missionary in Zambia, promotes giving to Africa University.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
According to Lisa King, Wisconsin Conference treasurer, five local churches and an individual couple donated funds above the 2012 apportioned amounts to Africa University. She says the largest donations came from Bethany UMC in Madison, Wis., First UMC in Whitewater, Wis., and Community UMC in Elm Grove, Wis.
“Africa University is a wonderful example of what the UMC can do together connectionally,” says King. “The entire denomination has established a university that provides critical education for Africans who will then go back to their various nations across Africa and provide leadership through the church and continent. [The school] has amazingly continued in this mission throughout the devastating and crippling economic circumstances in Zimbabwe over the past decade and now appears to be stronger than ever.”
Greater New Jersey bishop John Schol says, “We want to be supportive of all our denominational initiatives, particularly Africa University. The development of leadership to serve within Africa is a priority for us as we seek to be faithful in our mission as a global partner.”
Bishop John Schol
The bishop has made seven trips to Africa University. “I have seen and experienced firsthand how the school is making a difference in the lives of students, the church and the region where it’s located,” he says. “Graduates are making a difference in the development of Southern Africa. They are leaders in business, the church, agriculture, education and economic development and an example of what United Methodists can do when we work and give generously together.”
The Rev. Robert Costello, superintendent of Gateway South District, says Africa University has been the “favorite” missionary project of the Greater New Jersey Conference since the school opened.
In March 2012, the Rev. Dr. Beauty R. Maenzanise, dean of the Theology Faculty at Africa University, served as the keynote speaker at a “Day of Learning,” for leaders of 55 Greater New Jersey churches. She also led two workshops at the all-day event. The next day, Dean Maenzanise spoke at Clonmell UMC in Gibbstown, N.J. “Beauty generated great enthusiasm for Africa University and helped inspire generous offerings to the school,” says Costello.
“Africa University is an example of how the connectional system can make a difference in the world,” says John Cardillo, treasurer and director of administrative services of the Greater New Jersey Conference. “By supporting the university, we are enabling the growth of well-educated leaders and helping to provide the tools for a better socioeconomic future for communities in Africa.”
The General Council on Finance and Administration reports 20 annual conferences paid 100 percent of their general church apportionments in 2012 and overall apportionment payouts reached 90 percent, the highest payout level the general church has reached since 2001. Africa University is one of those apportionments.
— story by Heather Peck Stahl is a freelance journalist living in Nashville, Tenn.
Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100%. Thank you for your support.