Hendrix Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History$15 million Windgate Foundation gift expands campaign to $150 million

Hendrix Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History
$15 million Windgate Foundation gift expands campaign to $150 million

Photo by Mike Kemp

CONWAY, Ark. (November 20, 2020) — Hendrix College has received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in Hendrix’s history.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III. “More than ever, it is critical that we continue moving forward, to meet today’s challenges and to continue to be a leader in higher education in the future.”

This year, the College surpassed its $110 million campaign goal a year ahead of schedule with $114 million in gifts and pledges. The campaign, which was scheduled to end in 2021, will be expanded to $150 million and will extend to 2023. The campaign now stands at $129 million.

“During this campaign, thanks to the support of alumni and friends of the College, we have strengthened the academic and student life experience with new programs and initiatives,” said Arnold. “We have added new facilities that celebrate the residential experience and support student recruitment, and we have continued to make Hendrix more affordable and accessible for students and families.”

This spring, as part of the campaign expansion, Hendrix will launch a multimillion-dollar Residence Hall Renewal Project, beginning with renovations of Veasey Hall. Fundraising efforts for the project will also support renovations of historic Martin Hall.

In addition, the expanded campaign will seek additional funds for the College’s endowment. $10 million of the Windgate gift will provide endowed scholarships for Hendrix students.

“These priorities – the Residence Hall Renewal Project and increasing the College’s endowment – will support student recruitment and retention,” said Arnold. “They will keep Hendrix accessible and affordable to students and families, and they will ensure that Hendrix remains one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, innovation, and value.”

The expanded Hendrix campaign will be called A Time to Lead: The Campaign for Today and Tomorrow.

“The time for Hendrix to lead is now. We know that many students and families are concerned by the cost of higher education today,” said Arnold. “That is why we recently announced a tuition reset and lowered our tuition by 32% for new students.”

“We also know that our current students’ residential experience at Hendrix was disrupted by COVID-19,” he said. “That is why – in addition to our tuition reset for new students – we developed a tuition-free fifth year program for current students to provide the opportunity to have a complete residential student experience at Hendrix.”

Arnold added that these recent offerings are just two examples of how Hendrix is leading today. “We must continue to lead in quality, innovation, and value,” he said. “The Residence Hall Renewal Project will reinforce the vital role of the residential campus experience at Hendrix and growing our endowment will strengthen the College’s financial position to support students today and tomorrow.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.

United Methodist Global AIDS Committee Plans World AIDS Day Service

United Methodist Global AIDS Committee Plans World AIDS Day Service

Nashville, Tennessee – The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee has announced plans for a special service to commemorate World AIDS Day on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM CT. The worship service – held virtually – will be free and available to all online at www.Facebook.com/UMCglobalaidsfund and https://www.umc.org/en/content/world-aids-day-2020-worship

The theme of the service will revolve around the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day – Global Solidarity,  Shared Responsibility – and will feature a message from Bishop Julius Trimble of the Indiana Episcopal  Area, chair of the Global AIDS Committee, music by Jorge Lockward of the United Methodist Church of the Village (New York, NY) and a testimony by William Brawner, founder/executive director of the Haven  Youth Center, who is living with HIV. 

The worship service was conceived and designed by the Rev. Dr. Youngsook Charlene Kang (Vice-Chair of the UMGAC) with video production by United Methodist Communications. 

World AIDS Day takes place on December 1 each year. The day serves as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS, to show support for people living with HIV or  AIDS, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988,  World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. 

Rev. Dr. Kang states: “We as the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee are very pleased to host a  World AIDS Day worship service for the United Methodist Church and ecumenical and interfaith communities. I think it is very significant that every year on World AIDS Day we come together to build and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and demonstrate global solidarity in response to the HIV and  AIDS pandemic. In accordance with the UNAIDS, the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day worship service is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility,” Indeed, we have the continued need for prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS as well as mitigation against any stigma and discrimination. I hope that  we will be inspired and encouraged by this worship service so that we continue to work together to engage local churches and communities in HIV and AIDS education, advocacy and compassionate  outreach.” 

World AIDS Day on December 1 brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about  HIV and AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world. In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused by the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth. With this in  mind, this year the theme of World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.” 

For more information on The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee, please visit https://umgaf2014.wordpress.com/ and www.Facebook.com/UMCglobalaidsfund.


About the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee 

The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee (UMGAC) provides resources and training to annual conferences and local churches, engaging them in HIV and AIDS education and advocacy. This work reduces stigma and provides greater opportunity for welcoming all people into the church. The committee,  chaired by Bishop Julius Trimble, is comprised of members from the Council of Bishops, Division on  Ministries with Young People, General Board of Church and Society, General Board of Global Ministries,  United Methodist Communications and United Methodist Women. 

Media contact:
Diane Degnan ddegnan@umcom.org

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines from Bishop Mueller

November 13, 2020

Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I am writing today with a heavy heart. This morning, Mary Hughes, wife of Berryville pastor Andy Hughes, died as a result of being infected with COVID-19. Her death makes very personal the reality we are facing: the pandemic is surging out of control. Governor Hutchinson just announced that there have been 2,312 new cases since yesterday and hospitalizations are now at a record high.

Sadly, though, things are not getting better. In fact, they are getting worse. Far worse. And they will continue to get worse for the foreseeable future – especially as we move into the holiday season. Governor Asa Hutchinson shared earlier this week that, “The numbers aren’t good. The trend is not good… and we are in for a very challenging time.”

In spite of this reality, there are still individual Christians and congregations focusing more on what they consider to be their religious rights than on the public health crisis. In fact, they refuse to wear masks and gather unsafely as forms of protest. I want to be abundantly clear. We are not in a battle to protect religious freedom. Rather, we find ourselves in a dangerous moment and, as people of faith, are called to demonstrate that we are more concerned than anything else with loving our neighbors like Jesus instructs us to do by acting in ways that keep people safe.

The updated guidelines for churches issued by Gov. Hutchinson earlier this week are virtually the same as the ARUMC Stage 2.5 guidelines that we have had in place for several months. Here are the key components of ARUMC Stage 2.5, along with recent updates to the guidelines.

  1. Masks must be worn for all indoor and outdoor church activities. 36 square foot bubbles for each family unit must be used for any indoor or outdoor in-person gathering. Plans must be in place for the safe entrance and exit of all activities. Hand sanitizers must be available and adequate sanitation utilized between events.
  2. The Board of Trustees of each congregation must approve all plans related to addressing COVID-19. Congregations must keep their District Superintendent apprised of their plans and of any instances of COVID-19.
  3. Lists of participants for each event must be kept so that contact tracing can be undertaken if needed.
  4. Churches should be aware that their local situations may include a higher positivity rate and develop closing policies based on:
    • the number of active cases and hospitalizations in their county
    • actions of their local school districts – if schools go virtual, worship should go virtual as well
    • probable exposure and contact tracing guidelines from the ADH and CDC
  5. Singing should only be done with masks in place. Choirs should not participate in worship for the foreseeable future. Special music should be offered by individuals.
  6. No candles should be blown out at any Christmas services, even if done outdoors. Battery operated candles are an acceptable alternative.
  7. In-person events (including nursery, children and youth) should last no more than 60 minutes if held outdoors and 45 minutes if held indoors.
  8. Overnight trips for youth, college students and young adults are not recommended through at least April 30, 2021.
  9. Arkansas Department of Health directives must continue to be followed for all weekday programs, nursery and childcare.
  10. Recently updated resources:
    A map indicating the number of active cases per 1,000 population for each county: https://public.tableau.com/profile/arkansascenterforhealthimprovement#!/vizhome/CityTable/Community
    ADH guidance:
    https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-guidance-for-faith-based-organizations https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/Holiday_GuidanceFINAL11.10.20.pdf
    CDC guidance:
    ARUMC guidance: https://arumc.org/covid19

I don’t have to tell you that your congregations need to continue to lead with consistency, compassion and strength for the foreseeable future – because you already know it. While it will be a challenge, I know that Arkansas United Methodist lay leaders and clergy can do it. In fact, I will be praying for you every day. More importantly, the Holy Spirit will help you do what you need to do, when you need to do it, in just the way you need to do it.

Finally, I want to make sure you understand that I know how hard these past eight months have been. Some of you have been ridiculed – even attacked – for your caution and leadership. No wonder you have a deep weariness, and are just ready for life to return to normal. I am grateful for all the ways the laity and clergy of the United Methodist Church in Arkansas have led the way in showing Jesus’ love by putting the safety and well-being of people first.

Grace and peace,

Gary E. Mueller

Ministry Partner “Vanco Faith” Offering One-on-One Help to Set Up Digital Giving

Ministry Partner “Vanco Faith” Offering One-on-One Help to Set Up Digital Giving

vanco logo

Nashville, TN – The GCFA Connectional/External Relations teams are announcing that Vanco has renewed its ministry partnership with GCFA. Vanco, through Vanco Faith, has built new services and enhanced existing tools to help churches, including a free smartphone app. By putting the time and investment in advanced eGiving options, Vanco can work with churches to find eGiving plans that fit the individual church’s needs. Vanco can offer churches giving tools that help track donations, keep members connected, and provide different giving platforms for ministry supporters.

GCFA has had a vetted relationship with Vanco for nearly 20 years. In this timespan, more than 3,000 United Methodist churches and ministries have used the giving platforms that have grown from “how to receive checks” to the latest electronic giving platforms. The Vanco giving platforms integrate with multiple church management software providers so churches are not required to change software. Vanco is committed to making sure each church that partners with Vanco is set up for success as they utilize online giving.

All UMC churches that sign up with Vanco by November 30 will receive personalized one-on-one onboarding with a Vanco eGiving specialist, an offer valued at $500. Click here to visit the site designed for United Methodist churches and learn more. The dedicated implementation specialist will assist the church through three one-to-one training sessions to personalize the church’s online giving page that will focus on highlighting church missions, create communication to share with members using customizable marketing materials, and more.

“Vanco is very excited again to partner with GCFA. We’ve enjoyed this partnership for many years as we achieve our aim of helping those who enrich their communities. UMC churches do amazing work during difficult periods, and they are continuing that work in new and innovative ways to support their community. Vanco is happy to introduce new tools, including our church community smartphone app, to United Methodist churches. Our online giving tools help UMC churches thrive financially and succeed in their ministries – whether congregations gather in person or virtually,” said Shawn Boom, CEO of Vanco.

For more information on the Ministry Partner program, contact Kellie Schmeal at connetionalrelations@gcfa.org, or 615-369-2408.

Statement on Voting from Bishop Gary Mueller

Statement on Voting from Bishop Gary Mueller

October 9, 2020

I turned 18 in November 1971 while living in Pittsburg, Kansas. I immediately did two things. I registered for the draft, which was mandatory. I also registered to vote, which was not. By the spring of 1972, I was voting for the first time and also serving as a poll worker for the primary election.

I share this to illustrate my deep level of commitment to our American democracy and the right and responsibility of all people to participate in the election of our leaders. But this wonderful gift can only work if it works for all of us, whether we are Republicans, Democrats, Independents or members of some other political party. 

First, it is the duty of our government to make it as easy as possible for every citizen – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or creed – to vote, and to ensure that no individual or representative of government attempts to deny anyone this right. I want to state in the strongest possible terms that this is especially important in light of the fact that too many times this fundamental American right has not been available to Black citizens.

Second, you should exercise your right to vote because it is a gift and a privilege. Study the issues, get to know the candidates and let your vote be an expression of your faith commitment. 

Paragraph 164 of The 2016 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church address both of these aspects of voting:  

¶164 A) Basic Freedoms and Human Rights – The form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens.  

¶164 B) Political Responsibility: The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens. The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust.

While I assume you have all the information you need to exercise your right to vote, I want to share with you basic election information for Arkansas. 

Polling places:

Arkansas voting rules:

Elections always seem to become highly charged, but this year’s threatens to become more so because our nation is so divided. This is why I think there is great wisdom in what John Wesley wrote in his journal on October 6, 1774 about his ‘rules’ for voting:

I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them,

  • To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worth.
  • To speak no evil of the person they voted against.
  • To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

Please join me in praying for our nation as we vote between now and November 3.  

Grace and peace,




Gary E. Mueller