A promise to match donations moves the Conference closer to its Dec. 31 goal to endow a scholarship, in honor of Bishop Robert Hayes and Mrs. Dee Hayes, for Africa University (AU).
The Woodworth Trust has offered to match additional gifts, up to the amount needed, to complete the endowment for AU, which is the first fully accredited United Methodist-related university on the African continent.
At Oklahoma’s 2016 Annual Conference, one way we celebrated the 12 remarkable years of service by our retiring bishop and his wife was by designating the offering for a missional cause dear to them — that is AU.
The offering was $61,000. To establish the endowment, $69,000 more is needed — for a total of $130,000.
New Bishop Jimmy Nunn knows the positive ways this school of higher education has affected people.
"I have met several leaders who were educated at Africa University in my travels throughout the connection and in Africa," he said. "I have been impressed with the spiritual depth, humility, and level of expertise each graduate has demonstrated.
"An endowed chair will make a difference in thousands of lives for decades to come. Your expression of gratitude for the ministry of Bishop Hayes will make a huge impact on this ministry."
One of the AU graduates who ministers right here in Oklahoma is Pastor Gerard Nsabimana of Stroud UMC. He earned a bachelor’s degree at AU in 2002, a master’s at Oklahoma State University in 2005, and graduated in 2011 from Duke Divinity School. He was ordained as an elder in 2014.
Before his appointment to Stroud, he directed the Wesley Foundation at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
The 1988 General Conference of The United Methodist Church unanimously approved the founding of AU on land donated by The UMC in Zimbabwe. The Africa University Fund is one of seven apportioned funds of the Church.
The school chartered in 1992.
Today its students come from 26 nations. Its graduates number more than 7,000, of which 54 percent are women. Many are engaged in vigorous efforts to improve public health, food security, peace, stability, and the enjoyment of economic prosperity on the African continent.
Your special money gifts are sought specifically for the Hayes scholarship endowment.
With the generous offer of matching funds, the yearend goal is in sight, Conference leaders agreed.
"We are asking you to prayerfully consider helping us complete this by Dec. 31," said Joseph Harris, Communications Ministry director and assistant to the bishop.
You can mail your check to the Conference Treasurer. Write in the memo line of the check: "AU - Hayes Scholarship Fund." Send to 1501 NW 24th St., Oklahoma City OK 73106.
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