WNC College Presidents Prominent at NASCUMC

 

NASCUMC explores Wesleyan identity, takes action for justice and dignity on campuses  By Bonnie Atwood 640_NASCUMC_Article_8_2015As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) is undertaking two ambitious projects. The 39 members attending the annual meeting July 26-29, 2015, in Williamsburg, Virginia, held a series of conversations that will culminate in a collection of essays on what it means to lead United Methodist-related educational institutions in 2015 and beyond. The second initiative, two years in the making, is the implementation of the organization’s Heralding Our Commitment to Justice and Dignity resolution, passed by NASCUMC in February. NASCUMC is supported by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). NASCUMC partnered with The Aspen Institute to create a four-day seminar specifically for leaders of United Methodist-related educational institutions. Attendees completed 20 readings in advance of the meeting, and these readings informed 15 hours of small group discussions on “Leadership, Values and the Future of United Methodist-related Education.” Dr. Lawrence D. Czarda, president of Greensboro College and chair of NASCUMC’s program planning committee, said, “We, as leaders of United Methodist-related educational institutions need to understand our Wesleyan heritage and how this heritage shapes the mission of each institution as well as each leader’s vision.” Seminar sessions covered questions and themes relating to the nature of United Methodist-related education, vocation and leadership. Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall, president of Bennett College, remarked, “I am grateful that this meeting gave us an opportunity to engage with our colleagues, to  think deeply, and to spend time reflecting on some of John Wesley’s sermons.” The Aspen Institute assigned one moderator to each of three small discussion groups, and NASCUMC assigned a member to convene each group. The Kingswood group was led by Dr. Todd Breyfogle, director of seminars for the Aspen Institute, and Dr. Robert Pearigen, president of Millsaps College. Stephen Holley, partner at Poss Architecture + Planning, and Fuse-Hall led the Aldersgate group. The Cokesbury group was led by Jay Marshall, managing director at AlixPartners, and Dr. Sandra S. Harper, president of McMurry University. A compilation of essays by NASCUMC members will be published following this meeting. The meeting also included an orientation to the Justice and Dignity initiative, which stemmed from the resolution passed at the organization’s February 2015 meeting. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, chair of NASCUMC’s mission committee and dean of Boston University School of Theology, and Dr. Melanie B. Overton of GBHEM reviewed the commitments contained in the resolution and oriented members to resources that will assist campuses in carrying out these commitments. An initiative of this scope has not been taken since the 1970s. These two commitments are to “have conversations about whatever issues are divisive in your context and to take an honest assessment of your campus’ policies, practices and culture,” Overton said. The topics that each campus community will discuss and the formats in which they will have these discussions will vary according to the needs of each campus community. “This has been a difficult year in the United States in regard to race,” Moore said, for example. “It is clear to me that race should be Boston University School of Theology’s primary conversation this year. There were deep, deep feelings as we ended this year. We have to have this conversation with a lot of honesty, respect and compassion.” Moore explained four steps in designing these conversations: selecting a topic, trying to hear as many voices as possible, conducting the conversations and respecting rules for the conversations. Moore led the group in some training in how to create “spaces where wise people can talk with one another.” Four volunteers formed a circle, sharing issues and experiences from their home campuses. The rules were clear, and included such things as: listening to even the “ugliest truths,” respecting the dignity of all—including those not present—and not making assumptions about the motivations of others. Overton led a portion of the training on a digital resource bank that will be critical as NASCUMC members return to their campuses. The website includes information on the background of the initiative, conversation guidelines and resources for shaping institutional policies, practices and culture. The initial database of resources is a rich collection of 75 documents from 12 campuses related to a variety of issues, ranging from gender and sexuality to race, poverty, class, violence and a myriad of other hot button issues. Users can download resources to see what their colleagues at other United Methodist-related institutions have designed at their campuses. This collection of materials makes for a “robust” set of resources that will grow as other campuses begin to submit, Overton said. In addition, NASCUMC’s membership committee, led by President Beth Dinndorf of Columbia College, welcomed eight new members with a 24-hour orientation program. At the conclusion of the meeting, outgoing president Dr. Haywood L. Strickland passed the organization’s gavel to Dr. David C. Joyce of Brevard College. Atwood is freelance writer in Richmond, Virginia.

Resources for Vital Congregations

 

CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources

eLEAD

Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians

DISCIPLE FORMATION:

Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations

WESLEYAN STUDIES:

Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology

REACHING PEOPLE:

Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging

RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:

Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children

GRANTS:

The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment

OTHER:

The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
 
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

 
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.
 

 

  • Resources
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