“John Wesley was a campus minister.”
That’s the slogan on the buttons they’re handing out tonight at a confab at General Conference in Tampa highlighting United Methodist-affiliated educational institutions, campus ministries, and related programs.
“The goal was the showcase the breadth and depth of the connection, and to have a fun and lighthearted experience,” said Melanie Overton, assistant general secretary for the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry’s Division of Higher Education. “We wanted to convey the significance of the work our educational connection does.”
Attendees were treated to a performance by the Wiley College Choir — Wiley is the historically-black United Methodist affiliated college in Marshall, Texas, that inspired the 2007 film, The Great Debaters. A mariachi band from the Lydia Patterson Institute, a UM-affiliated, predominantly Hispanic college preparatory school based in El Paso, Texas, provided another lively performance.
Posted around the reception were giant posters telling individual stories of students and others who have benefited from that connection, as well as tallies of the numbers of United Methodist domestic collegiate ministries (493); United Methodist affiliated schools, colleges and universities (119); theological education schools (61), and International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU) institutions (687). The idea was to give attendees “a sense of how lives are being shaped and how trajectories are being changed for people who are part of these institutions,” said Ms. Overton.