Certification For Campus Ministry, AU Loan Approved
Educational standards for certifying campus ministers and a $250,000 loan to expand Africa University’s potato farm were approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s elected Board of Directors at their spring meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
Board members and staff also worshipped together and heard a panel discussion about various church restructuring proposals that will be considered by General Conference 2012.
The current state of The United Methodist Church was part of the sermon preached by the Rev. Kim Cape, GBHEM’s general secretary, during opening worship at the March 15-16 meeting.
“I think the first call the bishops should issue to The United Methodist Church in the U.S. is a call to lament, a call to confession, a call to address God, not the church. To say Jesus, we’re dying. We have lost our way; we are bruised, tired, and broken,” Cape said.
“We know that until our hearts burst for people of color, we will continue to die in the U.S. We know that unless we nurture our own children in faith, our own grandchildren, we live in tombs! We have not loved our neighbors; we have not heard the cry of the needy. Ninety percent of our youth in UMYF will not return to the church after they leave home. This hemorrhage is lament!” she said.
She said lament recognizes who has the power to heal and “positions us forward toward what is sensed, yet not heard.”
“Only after we have recognized that our need is spiritual, not organizational, will our actions be blessed. What we need is not a new organizational chart. What we need is a new Pentecost. What we need are hearts that burst for others to know that they too are loved, rescued, redeemed, and ransomed by the same Savior that freed us from the captivity of our self-centeredness,” Cape said.
The Board approved a course option for certifying those working in collegiate ministries.
The Rev. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, chair of GBHEM’s Division of Higher Education and dean of the Theological School of Drew University, said many clergy who end up in campus ministry have never had training or taken any classes about ministry with young adults.
“The certification process will prepare those who think they have an interest in college ministry to gain the skills they need to do it well,” Kuan said. He said the courses will also be helpful to other denominations.
Africa University celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, and the Board approved a $250,000 loan at 3 percent interest that would allow the university to expand a potato farm in order to provide revenue for the campus.
GBHEM directors who are completing their service as Board members had asked that money which would have been spent to give them a farewell gift be donated to Africa University. Bruce Blumer, one of the departing directors, presented a check for $3,000 to Jim Salley, associate vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement for Africa University.
Salley also introduced Angella Current-Felder, a GBHEM retiree and an AU Board member who has written a history of Africa University: The School of Dreams in the Valley of Hope. All proceeds benefit Africa University.
The directors tabled a legislative proposal creating a local elder in mission. The legislation has been submitted by the General Board of Global Ministries. GBGM said that it was needed to help in developing an identifiable United Methodist presence within new mission areas, such as Vietnam.
However, Board members expressed concern that the legislation should have gone through the Board’s legislative committee, and that it also seemed to contradict decisions made by the Study of Ministry Commission.
In other action, the Board:
- Approved the concept of a designated endowment for theological education in the Central Conferences.
- Approved two new regional Course of Study directors – the Rev. Jim Darby at Saint Paul School of Theology and the Rev. Nathan Kirkpatrick at Duke Divinity School.
- Elected three new trustees of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation – Lou C. Kerr, William N. Johnston, and Bill Vogel.
- Approved nominations to American University’s Board of Directors: Stephanie Bennett-Smith, Jack C. Cassell, David R. Drobis, Gisela B. Huberman, C. Nicholas Keating Jr., Margery Kraus, Arthur J. Rothkopf, Mark L. Schneider, and Jeffrey A. Sine. Barlow Burke, was approved as non-voting faculty trustee and Brett T. Atanasio as a non-voting student trustee.
- Approved nominations to the Board of Directors of Africa University – Amadu B. Ndoeka and Seni James Barka, West Africa Central Conference; Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa, Africa Central Conference; Bishop David Yemba, Congo Central Conference; Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Bishop James E. Dorff, James L. Waits, GBHEM; Bishop Marcus Matthews, interim chair of the Africa University Development Committee; Maggie Jackson and Caroline Njuki, GBGM; Johannes Schäfer and Jørgen Thaarup, European Central Conference.
- Approved five racial-ethnic in-service training grants totaling $50,000, pending answers to follow-up questions on some of the proposals. Organizations that received a $10,000 grant were: Christ Community Kids Club, Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference; Creating a Culture of Call, Rio Grande Conference; La Luz del Mundo After-School program, New Mexico Annual Conference; Re+New Korean UMC Leadership, California-Pacific Annual Conference; Summer Enrichment Program, North Texas Annual Conference.
*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.