The Eastern PA Conference’s generous apportioned giving in 2015 is celebrated in two recent newsletters published by the Africa University Development Office at the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Articles in The Acacia (Jan.-Feb. issue) and Africa University Today (Winter 2016 issue) both cite our conference’s “success in paying the Africa University Fund’s apportionment 100 percent.”
In fact, Eastern PA’s giving reportedly jumped from 96 percent in 2014 to 110.65 percent last year, making it one of 32 conferences paying at least 100 percent and one of only eight conferences that paid more. Total denominational giving to the fund was nearly $2.2 million.
Located at Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, Africa University is the first fully accredited UM-related educational institution in Africa. The AU Fund was established by General Conference in 1988 to provide annual UMC funding for the education and preparation of diverse students from across the continent to become future leaders of their various churches and societies.
“The Northeastern Jurisdiction’s strong showing for the AUF was helped by a return to the 100 percent giving level by Eastern Pennsylvania,” reported The Acacia, “which closed a four-year gap in giving…”
“It is because we paid all of our apportionments in full (last) year and we can celebrate that Africa University was a part of it,” said Bishop Peggy Johnson, when asked to explain the increase by Barbara Dunlap-Berg of UM Communications, who wrote the article. “However, we do have a partnership with the Central Congo Conference and have keen interest in the Congolese students who are attending Africa University. We are cheering them on as they speak French but go to an English-speaking university. They make the extra effort to get their degree.”
Bishop Johnson expressed hope for continued conference support for Africa University. “I just hope we can keep it up!”
The Africa University Today newsletter also reports that Eastern PA is joining the Peninsula-Delaware and Baltimore-Washington conferences in supporting a special love offering in honor of Bishop Marcus Matthews to erect a much-needed sports and recreation complex at the university. Bishop Matthews, who leads the Washington Episcopal Area and formerly led the Philadelphia Episcopal Area, will retire this year after more than three decades in ministry. A longtime supporter of Africa University, and a physical fitness enthusiast, he serves as vice-chairman of the university’s Board of Directors.
Contributions to the love offering may be sent to the Baltimore-Washington Conference Treasurer at 11711 E. Market Place, Fulton, MD 20759. To give online visit bwcumc.org, or send a $10 gift by texting “BishopAU” to 410-220-2402. Eastern PA Conference members should indicate their conference membership.
By John W. Coleman
Eastern PA Conference Communications Director