The growth of the United Methodist Church, which in 2003 touted a membership of more than 10 million, can be attributed, in part, to evangelism efforts in Africa, southeast Asia and Europe.
On May 6, General Conference delegates voted to provide schools in those regions and around the world with more resources to educate people doing the work of the church.
The delegates approved a $4 million Global Education Fund to assist the 748 Methodist schools, colleges, universities and seminaries in 69 nations.
The new fund will be part of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s technical assistance program, which works to train “a new generation of clergy and lay leaders who will commit boldly to Jesus Christ and be characterized by intellectual excellence, moral and spiritual courage, and holiness of heart and life.”
Plans for the fund are based on the knowledge and experience gained by denominational leaders from Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Africa University — a United Methodist-related school that Habitat for Humanity International founder Milton Fuller called “one of the great success stories of Christian mission stories in the world today” — received the funding it requested from the denomination.
Delegates voted to provide Africa University with $10 million in apportioned funds and an additional $10 million to be raised through World Service Special Gifts over the next four years. The apportioned figure is the same as that approved by the 2000 General Conference. The school serves 1,123 students from 22 African nations.
*Lauber is associate editor of the UMConnection, the newspaper of the United Methodist Church's Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
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