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Annual Conferences Exceed Expectations with 25th Anniversary Gifts



to complete construction of a sanctuary for a local church near Africa University. In the Louisiana Conference, two hurricanes, a flood, and an oil spill did not stop United Methodists from fulfilling a pledge of $1 million to Africa University. It took more than 11 years, but Louisiana United Methodists surpassed their goal by more than $97,000. “While this completes our commitment of 2005,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, “it in no way completes our ongoing commitment to this amazing institution that continues to change the lives of so many across Africa and the world.” Louisiana’s 2005 pledge was made under the leadership of Bishop Bill Hutchinson, who spoke of the conference’s passion for disciple-making, mission, and the leadership of the late Nancy Carruth as the inspiration for the effort. Within months, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had devastated the area. Recovery and reconstruction rose to the top of the priority list. Determined to keep its promise despite subsequent

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and other conference leaders were joined by Bishop Bill Hutchinson, William and Joan Tebow, the son and daughter-in-law of the late Nancy Carruth, and James H. Salley for the June 9th announcement at the Annual Conference.

disasters, the Louisiana Conference began making instalments on the pledge in 2014, with a goal of completing it in 2018. At their spring meeting, conference leaders took a bold step and committed to fulfilling the $1 million pledge a year ahead of schedule to coincide with Africa University’s 25th anniversary.

Thank you for investing at 100 percent in the Africa University Fund in 2016. The Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church with a 100 percent or more remittance to the AUF apportionment over the past two years are: North Central Jurisdiction Dakotas East Ohio Illinois Great Rivers Indiana Iowa Minnesota West Michigan West Ohio Jurisdiction Total Support

2016 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 104.21% 100% 96.52%

2015 100.03% 100% 100% 116.54% 100% 100% 100% 96.27%

Northeastern Jurisdiction



Baltimore-Washington Eastern Pennsylvania

100% 108.16%

100.01% 110.65%

Greater New Jersey New England New York Peninsula-Delaware Susquehanna Upper New York West Virginia Western Pennsylvania Jurisdiction Total Support

100% 100% 100.96% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100.93%

100% 100% 100% 100.43% 100% 100% 100.02% 100.01% 101.11%

South Central Jurisdiction



Central Texas Oklahoma Indian Missionary Texas Jurisdiction Total Support

100% 100.01% 100% 91.65%

100% 100% 100% 89.54%

Southeastern Jurisdiction






Holston Kentucky North Alabama North Carolina Red Bird Missionary South Carolina Tennessee Jurisdiction Total Support

100% 113.80% 100% 100% 100% 100% 92.49%

100% 100% 100% 100% 101.41% 100% 91.73%

Western Jurisdiction



Alaska United Methodist California Nevada California Pacific Desert Southwest Oregon Idaho Pacific Northwest Rocky Mountain Jurisdiction Total Support

100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99.70%

100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 92.77%

Summer 2017

n June, two Annual Conferences of e United Methodist Church (UMC) celebrated the growth and impact of Africa University with special gifts. Congregations in the California-Nevada Conference responded generously to an invitation from Bishop Minerva Carcaño to help Africa University expand its impact. e conference’s special offering in honor of the university’s 25th anniversary totaled more than $132,300 and included a major gift from Watsonville First United Methodist Church. “e saints that have gone before us worked in the church, and this is an opportunity for us to give back … We are hoping to support the future through this gift,” said Rev. Robin MatthewsJohnson, pastor of Watsonville First UMC. e congregation is investing $100,000 (from an overall gift of $200,000 to the conference) to help increase scholarships, strengthen academic programs, and build new dormitories at Africa University. A portion of the gift will also be used

Africa University Today — Summer 2017

Africa Invests in AU


ifts from African donors in honor of Africa University’s 25th anniversary have surpassed $125,000 to date. e upsurge in philanthropic support is being viewed as an indicator of the institution’s impact and growing reputation. Tinoziva Bere, a Zimbabwean lawyer and university legal counsel, is one of Africa University’s most consistent individual donors. In March, he pledged $25,000 for the construction of staff housing. is is his largest gift so far. “I believe in Africa University, and I think that it is a place to invest if you care about the future of the young people,” said Bere. Growing up in a family of eight children, with parents who struggled to make ends meet,

Tinoziva Bere with JohnKurewa

Bere says that he had “no chance” except for that afforded by education. Within two months of graduating from law school, Bere landed a job with the late Knox Munjoma, the first Zimbabwean to serve as legal counsel to Africa University. In 1992, as the university prepared to open, Munjoma died. e role of legal counsel passed to Bere. “In many ways (AU) taught me everything

that I know about corporate law and governance,” Bere said. “It taught me to learn quickly, and it has shaped the kind of lawyer that I am today.” Bere’s previous contributions have supported student scholarships and recognized academic excellence. is time, he’s investing in infrastructure. “e unrecognized engine room that has kept the university going are the hundreds of junior staff,” said Bere. “Good, simple family units on campus would build the university community.” Zimbabwean brick makers, Willdale Bricks, are also contributing to junior staff housing construction. e company’s anniversary gift to Africa University was 10,000 bricks. African donors provided more than $500,000 in gifts over a three-year period (2012-2015) under the ELMA Foundation challenge grant.

Chaya Project Tackles Hunger, Climate Change


argaret Tagwira feels the heavy burden African women bear for the survival of their families. Tagwira—an Africa University-based researcher, alumna, and pioneer staff member— is spearheading the adoption of chaya, a nutritious and drought-resistant shrub from South America. She calls chaya, which is also known as tree spinach, a “woman’s plant.” “Chaya contains twice the protein, iron, and calcium of spinach and six times more vitamin A. Its leaves are available for 10 months of the year. It can thrive in drought-prone areas because it needs little water,” Tagwira said.

Mrs. Margaret Tagwira (left) reached out to women farmers to grow and promote the chaya plant.

With large, maple-like leaves, chaya is a pretty plant with a compact growth pattern that makes it attractive as a hedge. It will grow to a height of 6 feet, and up to 50 percent of its leaves can be harvested without affecting its growth. It is easy to grow from cuttings; just take a “stick” and plant it in the ground. It does need good watering the first few weeks but is droughtresistant after it is established. All these characteristics make chaya an ideal vehicle for addressing hunger, malnutrition, and the negative impact of climate change. Tagwira has been strategic in introducing the plant, taking it to mission hospitals, orphanages, and schools in parts of the country hit hardest by drought. She brought 100 cuttings to her home village of Chivi in May 2016. By February 2017, the farmers had thriving, green chaya plants next to wilting and brown maize and grass. Women farmers like Sarudzai Mkachana, a widow with three children, teamed up with other widows to grow and promote the plant. Mkachana emphasizes, “As a Christian, I was proud to do this for Africa University, which is a Christian university.” At Morgenstser Mission Hospital, about 38 miles from Chivi, the administrator and staff are

all chaya converts. e hospital averages 70 to 80 births a month, and chaya is prominent in Morgenstser’s gardens. Each newborn goes home with a cutting from the shrub. Adapted from an article by Kathy Gilbert, a multimedia reporter for United Methodist News Service (UMNS). Photos by Mike Dubose of UMNS.

How You Can Help ocated at Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, Africa University is an accredited United Methodist-related educational institution in Africa, established by the action of the General Conference. The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in six faculties of learning: agriculture and natural resources, education, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, management and administration, and theology. The Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance offers post-graduate diplomas and master’s programs.


Africa University continues to be the evidence of faith, hope and belief in the visions of dreamers. We are counting on you! Encourage your church to set a 100 percent apportionment remittance goal. Sending a portion of your goal each month makes it easier to reach full remittance by year’s end. Your church’s 100 percent apportionment remittance means 100 percent Continued next page.

How you can help... continued. support of Africa University’s operational budget, for costs such as utilities, equipment and faculty salaries.

Bishop Mande Muyombo’s Vision for North Katanga Conference and AU

Planned Gifts are the foundation for the long-term survival of Africa University. As you make your estate plans, consider leaving a gift or bequest to Africa University in your will. If you have already included the university in your estate plans, please let us know so we may welcome you to the Richard E. “Dick” Reeves Legacy Society.


ande Muyombo is the first graduate of Africa University to be elected bishop. Assigned to the North Katanga Conference, he is the youngest Episcopal leader in the Congo Central Conference. He was the first AU graduate to be named president of a university. Now, he’s the first alumnus to serve as vice chair of AU’s Board of Directors. In a recent interview, Bishop Muyombo shared his vision, priorities, and hopes. Q: Is there a role that AU can play in helping you to address the strategic priorities of the North Katanga Conference? Bishop Muyombo: As a product of AU, I see the university building up leadership and the human resources needed to boost and sustain the initiatives of the denomination in my conference and across Africa. AU will continue to provide leaders, pastors, and laypersons for critical areas of work. Q: What positive changes do you want to see in the lives of your members over the next 5 years? Bishop Muyombo: I want to see an improvement in the well-being of pastors. Pastors need compensation that will sustain them and their families, including a pension and health insurance. is also applies to lay persons working in the church.

We need AU graduates to strengthen our administrative functions and improve accountability. We want to explore how AU can continue to nurture our local universities and seminaries by providing high-quality academic and administrative staff. Q: How do you hope to contribute as vice chair of the Africa University (Zimbabwe) Board of Directors? Bishop Muyombo: I see the need for a clear plan of strengthening AU’s programs and governance for sustainability. AU must grow in the number and diversity of students. It is critical that the African Central Conferences own this school, contribute to its growth, and claim it as our school that we cherish with a sense of deep responsibility.

Loose Change Offering Generates $500


t is not customary to think about loose change as lifechanging, but it can be. Gathered together, coins can make quite the difference, as the members of Sandpoint Community United Methodist Church (UMC) have found. e Seattle-based church made a gift of $500 to Africa University in honor of its 25th anniversary. e gift, which represents one month’s change collection, is enough to provide health insurance for two students for a year or on-campus housing for one student for a semester. “I think that the congregation and others need to know about the challenges Africa has, and the fact that Africa University is providing an excellent opportunity for its graduates to meet those challenges,” said Mrs. Phyllis Ferguson, a longstanding member of the Missions Team at Sandpoint.

Consider these additional ways of helping the university educate new leaders for the nations of Africa:

Mrs. Ferguson nominated the university for additional support through a weekly program called “Melodies of Compassion.” Members of the congregation put their loose change into offering plates each Sunday to benefit ministries and organizations that are chosen by the Missions Team. As Jane Stevens, the Missions Team leader, puts it, “e noise the coins make as they are dropped into the plates is the ‘melody’ we are making!” Mrs. Ferguson has worshipped at Sandpoint Community UMC since 1968. She and her husband, Dr. Richard Ferguson, support Africa University with annual gifts. ey have visited the campus and are committed to keeping the Sandpoint Community UMC congregation up to date on Africa University’s progress, needs, and impact.

Usahwira—This word in the Shona language means “a beautiful friendship.” Encourage your local church to become a partner with Africa University by supporting one student at the university for four years. The annual cost of supporting one undergraduate student is just under $6,000. Local churches may provide full or partial scholarships. Endowment Fund—Give to the Africa University Endowment Fund (World Service Special Gift #03-0188). The interest income from the endowment provides scholarships for our students. For more information about giving opportunities or to make a gift, visit us at To learn about Africa University and its impact, visit Let’s work together to continue the transformation of lives and of Africa. To order resources to help tell the story of the Africa University Fund apportionment, visit or Or, call United Methodist Communications, toll-free, (888) 346-3862, during normal business hours. Available resources include: • Africa University: A Place of Peace, Learning and Hope DVD (600115) • Africa University Fund: Pieces of the Dream DVD (600512) • We are Africa University (600611) Africa University Development Office P.O. Box 340007 Nashville, TN 37203-0007 (615) 340-7438

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Africa University Development Office e United Methodist Church P.O. Box 340007 Nashville, TN 37203-0007

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Nashville, Tenn. Permit No. 11

it y s r e v ni ... U a c i Afr st News Late

Africa University Today — Summer 2017

Betsy Lyon Hendrix: Educating the Nations of Africa


etsy Lyon Hendrix was Ft. Myer, VA. e chapel is born and reared in adjacent to Arlington National Durham, NC. She earned her Cemetery, the burial site for Bachelor of Arts degree in many who have served in the English Education from the U.S. Armed Forces. University of North Carolina at Betsy is a firm believer in Chapel Hill, and her Master of the education of women and Arts in Religious Studies from agrees wholeheartedly with the Yale Divinity School. Although statement of the renowned she grew up in the Southern educator, Dr. Johnnetta B. Baptist Church, she is now Cole, that when you educate a a member of Lewinsville woman, you educate a nation. Presbyterian Church, Africa University was brought Betsy Lyon Hendrix McLean, VA. within her philanthropic gaze Betsy was married to Cliff Hendrix, who by her long-time, close friends Jim and Fentress Boone Waits, for whom she has great died during their marriage in 1992. ree wonderful boys were born of their union. For admiration and whose judgment she highly values. After hearing the Waitses speak so many years, Betsy was a stay-at-home mom, glowingly of Africa University and how it is in busy rearing three rambunctious boys and the forefront of educating women on the participating in the usual church, community, continent of Africa, Betsy was happy to join and civic activities. Following Cliff’s death, the Waitses and countless others in supporting Betsy returned to the workforce and secured employment at the Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel, the institution.

Betsy hopes that her support of Africa University through her support of the Fentress Boone Waits Endowed Scholarship Fund for African Women will transform the lives of these young women, their families, their communities, and their nations. Elaine Jenkins Director of Planned Giving

The AU Today is published by the Africa University Development Office, in partnership with the Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). For more information, contact the: Africa University Development Office P.O. Box 340007 Nashville, TN 37203-0007 Tel: Fax: Email:

(615) 340-7438 (615) 340-7290

AU Today - Summer 2017  

News and developments at United Methodist-related Africa University. This issue features stories on agricultural research, annual conference...

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