The Africa University U.S. Touring Choir was featured during the Friday evening session, which punctuated the beginning of an Indiana Conference campaign to raise funds for the sustainability of this United Methodist-related university located in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Bishop Mike Coyner introduced Associate Vice Chancellor of Advancement Dr. James Salley, who used Romans 12:9-16 as his Scripture for his remarks on the theme “Let love be genuine…” He said, as Christians we give ourselves to Christ and help those in need. “This is a blueprint of living our daily faith… These verses (in Romans) are instructions on being ‘world changers.’” Be happy in your hope reads the Scripture. “You have all the reason in the world to being hope (the anticipation of a favorable outcome of God’s guidance),” he said. “The hope of the past becomes the hope of the future.”

He reminded the conference that in 1997-1998 the two former Indiana Conferences launched a campaign to build two dormitories at Africa University which house 300 students. Enough funds were received to build four dormitories. “You named one of those residence halls after James Henry Salley. My family is ever grateful.”

Salley thanked the Indiana Conference for now launching a three-year campaign to raise $1.6 million. One million will go to an endowed Chair of Agriculture and Natural Resources at AU. The remainder of the money will go to endow up to four student scholarships to be awarded annually by AU.

Salley told stories of many AU students who were helped by Hoosier United Methodists giving AU funds for student scholarships. He called these students “world changers.” He said, “We thank you for your work in the world.”

AU is called, “the school of dreams in the valley of hope.” In the numbers, AU is 20 years old and has 1,368 students on campus with six faculties (schools), students from 27 countries and a faculty from eight countries. AU has graduated more than 4,700 students who now work across the continent of Africa.

“There is hope in the ministry and the work you do,” he said in closing. “Thank you for continuing your work with Africa University.”

Following Salley’s presentation, the choir offered a concert of songs from their native Africa.

The Indiana Annual Conference Session approved June 6 an Africa University finance campaign to endow a Chair of Agriculture and at least four annual student scholarships by raising $1.6 million in the next three years across the Indiana Conference. The Rev. Bill Keith is chair of the campaign.

The Indiana Friends of Africa University has given $100,000 to the campaign. Maple Grove UMC of South Bend (40 average attendance) gave $1,000 June 7 and will pledge to give $6,000 during the campaign.

Photo by Enid Gangler

The 15-member Africa University USA Touring Choir added much enthusiasm to the Annual Conference Session, especially during their Friday evening concert.