The National Campus Ministry Association recognized Duke University’s United Methodist chaplain and the Duke Wesley Fellowship, United Methodist Campus Ministry, with the organization’s top two awards during the association’s 2011 annual conference at the University of California Berkeley.
The Rev. Dr. Jennifer E. Copeland, United Methodist chaplain for Duke University and executive director of the Duke Wesley Fellowship, was recognized for Outstanding Ministry in Education. The Duke Wesley Fellowship received the award for 2010 Campus Ministry of the Year.
It’s fairly rare for both awards to go to the same location and not only did Duke receive these awards, but Copeland was noted as the committee’s “unanimous” selection.
Copeland, a three time graduate of Duke University, has worked as Duke’s United Methodist chaplain since 1999. Before returning to Duke, Copeland served as a pastor in South Carolina and as the United Methodist chaplain for Furman University and Converse College.
The Duke Wesley Fellowship is a campus unit of the United Methodist Church. Students meet regularly during the week for worship, service, and fellowship. Their primary worship gatherings are Wesley Worship each Sunday evening and Weekly Eucharist each Wednesday afternoon.
In her nomination letter for Copeland, the Rev. Nancy Ferree-Clark, formerly the associate dean of Duke Chapel, senior pastor of the Congregation at Duke Chapel, and currently senior pastor of Federal Way UMC near Tacoma, WA, wrote of the wealth of opportunities the Duke Wesley Fellowship offers for community building, faith development, and mission outreach.
“I [have seen] many talented, highly committed campus ministers come and go. I cannot think of any others who could match the standards set by Jennifer Copeland in her ministry with the Wesley Fellowship at Duke University,” she said.
Speaking about the award received by the Wesley Fellowship, Copeland said Copeland said of “This award is especially significant for college students who receive so many competing narratives about what is important during this time in their lives. Students of the Duke Wesley Fellowship have gone forthrightly about the work of responding to God’s grace for almost 30 years on the Duke campus, in the surrounding community, and across the world, usually with little fanfare.”
The National Campus Ministry Association is a professional organization educating, encouraging, and equipping those engaged in the practice of ministry in higher education. Organized almost 50 years ago, membership is open to anyone engaged in ministry on a college campus, full or part-time, clergy or laity.
Core values of the association include promoting integrity, ethics, and accountability, supporting communities defined by ecumenism, professional and spiritual growth, and honoring the intellectual enterprise.
Opportunities to learn more about the Duke Wesley Fellowship can be accessed at: sites.duke.edu/wesley.