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.

Obituary – Rev. Mary Arlene Pickett

Rev. Mary Arlene Pickett

Rev. Mary Arlene Pickett, 90 of Booneville, passed away November 12, 2020 in Booneville.  She was born April 28, 1930 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Ralph and Martha Smith.

Rev. Mary Pickett was a retired United Methodist Local Pastor and a bible teacher.  Some of her last appointments were:  New Bethel, Branch, and Coles Chapel.  

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Richard A. Pickett; one stepson, Richard A. Pickett Jr.

Graveside Services were held Monday, November 16, 2020 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Booneville. 

Rev. Pickett is survived by her daughter, Rebecca Maxwell of Booneville; one grandson, Mark Maxwell and wife Aleshia of Booneville; two great-grandsons, Owen and Lane Maxwell of Booneville; two step great-grandsons, Kacy and Eyn Frederick Magazine.

The Church Has Left the BuildingEngland First UMC Serves Its Community With Heart, Dedication

The Church Has Left the Building
England First UMC Serves Its Community With Heart, Dedication

England FUMC

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

For many small towns, the church is the centerpiece of a thriving and connected community. That’s especially true for the small farming community of England, Arkansas.

England, population approximately 2,750, is located about 30 miles southeast of Little Rock. It’s a town with a healthy variety of churches, and according to the Rev. Diane Hughes, pastor of England First UMC since 2018, “it’s a very Christian community that loves the Lord.”

“The people are very friendly and, for the most part, are very compassionate and dedicated to their town. The town stands behind the people who live here and is very supportive of those in need,” Hughes said.

The community also struggles with poverty and food insecurity, according to Hughes. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, many families were struggling to make ends meet and provide a decent living for their household.

But that’s where the strong Christian community of England has stepped up to help, said Hughes.

One of the ways that England FUMC has helped provide meals for families is through the Christ Corner food pantry. Although the food pantry is an ecumenical effort — many area churches maintain the pantry — it was started by England FUMC.

“They serve more than 200 families a month and for many, this is the only food they have access to,” Hughes said.

One of the newest ways the church is serving the England community is through an idea that popped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hughes said whenever the pandemic arrived in Arkansas, many local businesses were forced to shut down, and many people lost the only income for their families.

So the church sprung into action and opened up their very own drive-thru market, called the Haywood St. Market. The market provides baked goods, casseroles, fresh produce, flowers, masks, and other items to the public, and is open every Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The drive-thru nature of the market ensures that the community is provided for, while still practicing safe distancing practices to keep everyone healthy.

“The community has rallied around the businesses and we have assisted in keeping them afloat. It has also brought people closer together because we have all shared the pain and helped each other to survive,” Hughes said. “The market has continued even after the businesses were able to re-open and it has been a true blessing.”

Thrift Store

England First UMC’s thrift store, 2nd Time Around. The church continues to operate the store during the pandemic to help out the community. Items can be purchased for a flat price of $1, no matter the original cost of the item.

Hughes said they have also continued to operate their store, 2nd Time Around, during the pandemic. The store sells donated, used clothing and household items to the public. All of the items sold in the store are sold for $1 per item, no matter the original price of the item.

They also have occasional specials where customers are encouraged to fill a grocery sack with as many items as they can stuff in it for only $3. All of the money made in the store is donated back to the community, Hughes said, making it a truly cyclical community business.

The Rev. Blake Bradford, District Superintendent of the Central District, said that he is consistently inspired by the work that England FUMC and Rev. Hughes have been able to do in their small town.

“I rejoice in how England UMC is reaching new people for Christ, encouraging community connections, and supporting those in need. Churches of any size can be fruitful, missional, and energized,” Bradford said. “The entire congregation is working together to support the mission.”

As far as the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ, England has been successful in that mission field as well, gaining about eight to 10 new regular attendees since the doors of the church reopened to in-person worship.

They have also performed two baptisms and a wedding recently. Hughes said they even have new people coming to the church who are interested in becoming members.

“They have stated that this is the first church that they have attended where they feel welcome and a part of a family,” Hughes said.

“I am incredibly grateful for the tireless labor of Rev Diane Hughes and the dedicated lay leadership of England UMC for discerning a vision and then saying, ‘God’s got this — let’s follow Him!’ Their fruit from these efforts has been baptisms, nurturing of new disciples of Jesus, caring for people in need, and a stronger England,” Bradford added.

For Rev. Hughes, this is all part of the work of serving the community where you live, and making the church a part of the everyday lives of the people living in that community.

“I love this church and the people in it and those in the community. The support to me has been overwhelming and I continue to be blessed on a daily basis. Our church believes in the power of prayer and many miracles have occurred through that prayer. 

“We are growing and I think that having the excitement and folks participating in the many things that go on continues to show the community that we are real, and that we truly care for all of those we come in contact with,” Hughes said.

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

Beyond 2021 Moves OnlineConference Will Focus on Dismantling Racism

Beyond 2021 Moves Online
Conference Will Focus on Dismantling Racism

By Melinda Shunk

Children's Ministry Coordinator

Next year’s Beyond Conference will take place entirely online, Jan. 22 – 23, 2021. The two-day event will focus on the Arkansas Conference’s mission of dismantling racism in our church and society, with the Bible verse Micah 6:8 as the main biblical focus.

The Beyond Conference is unique to the Arkansas Children’s Ministry. Very few UMC conferences offer professional development for faith formation staff and volunteers. Even fewer have a conference coordinator dedicated only to the ministry to children and their families. ARUMC has a history of investing in early faith formation.

More than eight years ago, a group of children’s ministers wanted to combine the two-state locations with limited training and pool their resources. They wanted to bring everyone together and share ideas and learn new tools for ministering to children and their families. I was not living in this state eight years ago, so I had to go back to one of the original planning team members, Karen Swales. 

Karen currently sits on our Conference Children’s Ministry team. She shared with me that they did a lot of research and found that there were few to no workshops for Children’s Ministers at the end of January, so they quickly chose what has become the traditional date. It also worked out to be a slower time for people to step away from church work for two days since it was after Christmas and before Lent.

The first four Beyond conferences were alternately held retreat-style at Tanako and Mt. Sequoyah, but in 2018 it was brought to Philander Smith College in Little Rock. Bringing Beyond into Little Rock allowed for it to become more of a professional training rather than a getaway.  Bringing children’s ministers to the Conference office connected them with ARUMC staff as well letting them see what the city had to offer in entertainment during their stay. No matter the location of the Beyond Conference the planning team has always looked for keynote speakers that shed new light on how we can best minister to children. Faith formation training is the continual focus at every Beyond training.

Beyond 2021 is no different, except of course the location has changed once again. Planning quality keynote speakers for Beyond usually takes six months to a year to book. In June of 2020, the CCM planning team had to decide if we would be able to plan for an in-person conference. We looked at the Bishop’s Task Force guidelines and thought about how we could hold in-person within the safety guidelines.

We have 10 members of our team plus special speakers, so under the guidelines for in-person, we would be able to have less than 35 attendees. In January of 2020, we had 90 attendees with five different states represented. We couldn’t plan a conference that would leave out half of our attendees in 2021!

I had Zoom conferences with our chosen keynote speakers to ask if they felt comfortable adapting their presentations to a webinar/Zoom format. They overwhelmingly agreed to the new format. I put in a webinar request with our award-winning ARUMC Communications director to see if Director Amy Ezell could supply the technical support we would need to go to an all-virtual format. Director Amy Ezell was in full agreement that Beyond 2021 could be offered in a virtual format with her team’s expertise in bringing it together.

If you have been to Beyond in the past you will note that the format has changed to two half-days of learning. In our research, we have found that all-day webinars/Zooms do not allow for the best learning. However, our theme for this year follows the Bishop’s proclamation that this would be a year of study and reflection for Dismantling Racism across our Arkansas UMC Conference. 

The CCM team chose our focus verse to be Micah 6:8 with a focus on Justice, Mercy and Humility. Our keynote speaker is the Rev. Dr. Y. Joy Harris from New York who just co-authored the book the ABC’s of Diversity. Click here to take a closer look at the speaker and break-out sessions. The virtual option allowed for more authors in our break-out sessions. 

Join us on both days or just one. Beyond 2021 is an affordable training for all in the comfort of your own home. Arkansas Conference attendees will also receive books and materials in the mail the last week of January, so please register before the deadlines. We hope to see you and your pastor on January 22-23, 2021!