GBHEM Provides a Resource for College Campuses in Divided Times

Danecia Jones

Candle

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) created a new online resource for higher education administrators, chaplains and affiliated campus ministers to engage effectively with student efforts around serving as faithful public witnesses. In the current social and political climate, it is vital that campuses are prepared to handle issues that may arise as students become civically engaged.

“A Faithful Witness,” is a resource on GBHEM.org designed to help equip the leaders of college campuses with tools to avoid apathy and create spaces for open and healthy dialogue. The webpages feature videos with administrators and faculty from across the country, as well as books, movies and organizations that can provide resources for student movements. Organizations like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest and oldest interfaith peace organization in the U.S., and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation, provide effective examples and partners for civic and community engagement.

“In a season that is increasingly filled with uncertainty and complexity, it is refreshing to see GBHEM connecting the Church to the world through our faithful witness,” said Bishop Bill McAlilly. “These resources are timely, hopeful, and engaging.”

Online video presentations for “A Faithful Witness,” include topics ranging from handling campus protest that may emerge from the upcoming inauguration, to creating constructive responses and positive solutions to strategies for serving as a faithful witness. The speakers include:

  • Rev. Dr. Carolyn Davis, deputy director of the Center for Public Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel, Chaplain, Cornell College
  • Dr. Robin Starr Minthorn, assistant professor of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Lisa Allen-McLaurin, associate professor of Music and Worship, Interdenominational Theological Center
  • Bishop Will Willimon (retired), professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School

“We encourage the presidents of our institutions to take time to view these videos with their leadership teams. Review the recommendations and ideas that are presented, and then invite leaders of student groups to view it,” said Dr. John Wells, associate general secretary, Division of Higher Education at GBHEM. “When students come to regard their campuses as places of rich debate and possibility and when they come to regard the administration and faculty as partners in civic engagement, a robust and healthy conversation will take place.”

A study guide and action guide are in development. Visit A Faithful Witness on GBHEM.org often for new resources and tools.

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to lead and connect the educational and ministerial life of church. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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