Bishop Hope Morgan Ward calls to mind the clustering activities surrounding higher education and young people in the North Carolina Conference.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. In this season, in the midst of fall, we have a clustering of wonderful celebrations and opportunities. On Friday, we inaugurated Dewey Clark as the new president of North Carolina Wesleyan College. We give thanks for his leadership as he joins Dr. Ben Hancock at Methodist University in Fayetteville, and Dr. Mark LaBranche at Louisburg College in Louisburg. Together, these three leaders are surrounded by our prayers as they lead us in Higher Education.
We give thanks also for campus ministers, and for those who are extending their ministries onto campuses across our annual conference. The latest emergent campus ministry is at the University of North Carolina in Pembroke. There, students are gathering, the ministry is growing. They’ve named their ministry Swift – Students Walking in Faith Together. Through these ministries of Higher Education, we are continuing to raise up leaders for our church.
Yesterday, it was my great joy to spend the day with young clergy. As we gathered for worship and conversation, and growing colleague-ship, we experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Soon, thousands of young people will gather in Fayetteville for Pilgrimage, the annual celebration of youth ministry. A time to renew our sense of being connected with all United Methodist people in mission in the world.
John Wesley and his brother, Charles, were students at Oxford when the Methodist movement was given birth. We give thanks and often say John Wesley was a campus minister. We are engaged among the young. This is our heritage. This is our calling, and this is our great joy. Thank you for all that you are doing as you engage ministry in your community. I give thanks for you, for you are God’s saints, faithfully giving witness in the world.