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Africa University: A Model of Ministry

by Byrd Bonner

As I look back over the Foundation’s first five years of operation, I marvel at the number of lives that have participated in our growth and success. First and foremost are the donors, women and men who sit in United Methodism’s pews or stand in her pulpits. These individuals have caught a vision of ensuring ministry for the whole Church in new and powerful ways. They are an important part of an emerging culture of Christian stewardship throughout The United Methodist Church.

This stewardship culture does not emerge without nurture and cultivation. Just like the seeds sewn in the good soil, The UMC Foundation has been guided and challenged by gracious. Of course, the Foundation Board members along with members and staff of the General Council on Finance & Administration have given the Foundation life and do sustain its growth. Many groups involved in stewardship and planned giving within the UMC, such as the General Board of Discipleship, the National Association of UM Foundations and United Methodist Communications have guided and provided for us at every step. One outstanding ministry that leads us by example is the outstanding staff of the Development Office of Africa University, led by James H. Salley. Jim, with his ready smile and wise words, is the epitome of professionalism, collegiality and love of Christ and His great church. Jim is one of those rare leaders in fund development ministry who inspires hope and confidence in the road ahead. I salute Jim and his staff for their outstanding work for Africa University and, in many ways, for us all.

Speaking of the road ahead, the UMC Foundation welcomes you to be a part of this emerging culture with us. Our endowment efforts to ensure future ministries in areas such as Christian education, gender justice, racial justice and reconciliation and the unity of the Church are growing at an unprecedented rate. Twelve new ministry-based endowment funds have been established by agencies and/or donors to fund future ministry. This emerging culture is widening the angle of our collective lens beyond ourselves and our own congregations to a future of ministry throughout the world.

Together in ministry,
Byrd Bonner