Planting the Seeds: An Ethnic Young Adult Alum Reflection
Former ARUMC Intern and ImpactOK2 Resident in the Oklahoma Annual Conference ViaFaith McCollough is Recognized by the General Board of Church & Society

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

-Matthew 13:31-32 (NLT)

The smallest seed can appear when you least expect it.

When I first applied for the Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) internship in the spring of 2020, I was a bright-eyed college junior, passionate about making a change in the world. I had just wrapped up a semester of rigorous political science courses that challenged my perception of the world and the foundational faith beliefs I had learned during childhood. I was searching for answers. My mind was overloaded with a series of questions: (1) why were people around the globe suffering under systems of oppression, (2) what role did the church play in working to combat these conditions, and (3) how was God calling me to respond? Little did I know that my questions would be addressed through the Ethnic Young Adult Internship.

In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus uses the parable of the mustard seed to illustrate the power of spreading the Gospel or “good news” or working for justice even when the work seems insignificant. The potential to impact lives is limitless. The Ethnic Young Adult program planted a seed within me that I pray continues to be fruitful. Through the program, I was able to advocate for the expansion of rights for marginalized communities, connect with a group of young adults committed to equity, and explore the calling God has placed on my life.

The smallest seed can blossom into a bountiful garden.

During the Internship, I worked with RESULTS, a nonprofit organization of everyday people committed to ending poverty. In my position, I helped create advocacy materials, make federal policy recommendations, and connect with other anti-poverty organizations. This invaluable experience opened my eyes to the diversity of ministry and deepened my faith. Before the internship, I always believed one had to do something monumental to make a change. I believed advocacy had to be “newspaper worthy.” I never accounted for the ways a data graphic, newsletter, or casual conversation could amplify the voices of those in need. In this way, I saw how a single idea could grow into a garden of solutions.

The smallest seed can offer a lifetime of fruitfulness.

As I reflect on my current position as an ImpactOK2 resident, I think about the ways the EYA internship helped prepare me for this moment. As an ImpactOK2 resident for the Oklahoma Annual Conference, I serve to bridge the gap between young adults and local United Methodist churches. I am forever grateful for the many lessons I learned through EYA, such as how to relate to young adults and ways to boldly live out my faith. I learned the importance of embracing my story, the power of prayer, a personal relationship with Christ, and the necessity of centering the voices of others. All of these lessons are small seedlings that I pray will continue to blossom into a fertile garden for ministry over time.

Hendrix College’s Candlelight Carol Services Dec. 1-4, 15-16; Tour Takes Choir to West Tennessee and Little Rock
Free reservations now open; Dec. 2 and 3 performances will be streamed live from Greene Chapel

CONWAY, Arkansas (November 21, 2022) – For nearly 60 years, the Hendrix College Choir’s Candlelight Carol Service has marked the start of the holiday season for many in Arkansas and the broader Hendrix community. The 2022 Candlelight Carol Services continue this beloved tradition while also introducing new music to those who attend. Services in Greene Chapel on the Hendrix College campus will take place Dec. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. While there is no admission charge, limited seating makes reservations required for the on-campus services; seats may be reserved online at www.hendrix.edu/candlelight.

This year, the choir will make tour stops Dec. 15 at Germantown United Methodist Church of Germantown, Tennessee; and Dec. 16 at Asbury United Methodist Church of Little Rock. Both tour services begin at 7:30 p.m. and do not require reservations.

In-person attendance is not the only option for those wishing to experience the Candlelight Carol Service. The service will be streamed live from Greene Chapel at www.hendrix.edu/candlelight on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3.

The Candlelight Carol Service at Hendrix shares many features with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols celebrated each Christmas Eve since 1918 at King’s College in Cambridge, England. The nine lessons, taken from Old and New Testaments, weave a narrative from Adam’s fall into sin, through the prophecies of Christ’s coming, and culminating in Christ’s birth. The carols performed between the lessons change yearly, and offer opportunities for reflection, exultation, and celebration. A vibrant tradition, the Candlelight Carol Service includes music that spans several centuries and also features many living composers. This year’s service features a world premiere piece by Jerry Hui: As I Sat on a Sunny Bank, a cheerful arrangement of a lesser-known British carol.

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.

Hendrix Reaches Historic Campaign Goal
College surpasses $150 million goal for A Time to Lead

CONWAY, Ark. (November 17, 2022) — Hendrix College has successfully reached its $150 million fundraising goal for A Time to Lead, the largest campaign in its 146-year history. With $150.46 million in gifts and pledges raised to date, the College has surpassed the campaign’s goal a year ahead of its December 2023 deadline.

“We are so grateful to Hendrix alumni, donors, and friends for their enthusiastic endorsement and generous support of the priorities of this campaign,” said Hendrix College President Ellis Arnold. “Our success is a direct reflection of their strong belief in the mission of Hendrix and their love for the character, spirit, and traditions of the College.”

Watch the video announcement.

The $150 million goal for A Time to Lead included $30 million for the Hendrix Annual Fund, $84 million for the Hendrix endowment, and $36 million for capital projects.

“Together, in less than 24 months, we have significantly increased the College’s endowment, the engine that will drive the future success of this institution,” Arnold said. “We have also completed renovations of two historic residence halls (Martin and Veasey Halls), which opened to students this fall, along with numerous campus improvements and new programs that will enhance the academic and campus life experience of future generations of Hendrix students for years to come.”

Today’s announcement comes just two years after Hendrix received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in the College’s history, and expanded its previous $110 million campaign goal to $150 million after surpassing the original goal a year ahead of schedule.

The success of A Time to Lead builds on a period of positive forward momentum for Hendrix, Arnold said.

This fall, Hendrix College saw an increase in both total and new student enrollment for the third consecutive year. After receiving a record 2,801 applications for fall 2022, Hendrix welcomed 375 new students to campus in August, a 13% increase compared to a year ago. This year’s new student enrollment is the highest in seven years at Hendrix, with students from 23 states and multiple foreign countries. After Census Day (Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the 10th day of fall semester classes), the College’s total enrollment increased by 2% to 1,144 students from the 2021-22 academic year.

Hendrix College was recognized nationally for innovation and undergraduate teaching in this year’s U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Colleges rankings. In addition to appearing on a list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, Hendrix is #23 in Most Innovative Schools (an increase of 13 places from last year) and #55 in the Best Undergraduate Teaching (an increase of nine places from last year). In addition to the U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Colleges rankings, Hendrix is featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2023The Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly’s 2022 College Guide. Niche.com cites Hendrix among the 2023 Best Colleges in America, and College Consensus cites Hendrix in numerous categories, including Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, Best Private Colleges, Best Small Colleges, and 50 Underrated Colleges Doing Great Things.

“Our campaign success, enrollment growth, and growing national recognition speaks not only to the overall quality and value of the academic program at Hendrix, but also to the distinctiveness of our approach to engaged learning and how well Hendrix prepares students for successful careers and lives after they graduate,” Arnold said. “Students are drawn to Hendrix for the opportunity to learn and grow in a community that is devoted to teaching and mentoring undergraduate students and will prepare them for success after graduation.

“In every sense, the progress of Hendrix over the past two and half years would not be possible without the commitment, dedication, and shared sense of purpose among our alumni, Board of Trustees, donors, faculty, and staff to provide the very best experience for our students,” he said.

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 Methodists to Meet in Charlotte for Worldwide Conference

Nashville, Tenn.: The Commission on the General Conference announced today that the 2024 United Methodist General Conference will be held April 23 – May 3, 2024, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“The Commission selected Charlotte as the site that best met our varied needs. We believe that delegates and attendees will be pleased with all the city has to offer,” said Kim Simpson, Chair of the Commission on the General Conference. “Charlotte is a part of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference – but due to the shorter timeframe for planning, both the Western North Carolina Conference and the North Carolina Annual Conference will co-host the event.”

In making the selection, Simpson said that the Commission looked at the suitability and capacity of meeting facilities, availability of adequate space, the proximity of hotel rooms, accessibility and convenience of travel and costs of meeting space, lodging, meals and airfare. Proposals from three cities were considered, but ultimately Charlotte was determined to be the best fit.

Charlotte, known as the Queen City, is the 16th most populous city in the U.S. and a major airline hub for American Airlines. The 600,000-square-foot convention center recently completed a $126.9 million expansion and is only 7 miles from the Charlotte International Airport and within walking distance of 200 restaurants.

“We are honored to host the 2024 General Conference of The United Methodist Church,” said Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. of the Western North Carolina Conference. “Our people are hospitable and welcoming, and we trust that the delegates who gather for what promises to be an historic gathering will be blessed by the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and its warmth and beauty.”

“We bathe this gathering in deep prayer while also praying for each delegate who will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we spend time in Holy Conferencing. It is my prayer that the same spirit will empower and encourage us to see the possibilities and live the promise,” said Bishop Leonard Fairley of the North Carolina Conference. “May you experience the beautiful natural setting of North Carolina, and the amazing hospitality of its people as you do the work of the Kingdom always remembering you are Beloved of God.”

The last General Conference was set to happen in Minneapolis, Minnesota, until the pandemic made it necessary to postpone the quadrennial legislative event until 2024. At the upcoming conference, the Commission will follow appropriate protocols related to COVID-19 to safeguard attendees’ health.

Delegates from Africa, Europe, Asia and the U.S. will attend the 11-day gathering, which is expected to attract about 5,500-7,500 people.

“It is such an honor to be able to host the 2024 General Conference of The United Methodist Church,” said Mike Butts, Executive Director of Visit Charlotte. “I’m excited that delegates and attendees will get to experience the region’s warm hospitality and enjoy all the offerings that make Charlotte such a dynamic city.”

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About General Conference

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years.

Media contact:
Diane Degnan presscenter@umcom.org
615.742.5406

South Central Jurisdiction Votes to Elect Three New Bishops and to Keep Arkansas Episcopacy Area Intact

Amy Ezell

Director, Center for Communication

November 2, 2022, Houston: First United Methodist Church – West Campus

The first official day of the South Central Jurisdiction Conference opened at First United Methodist Church – West campus in Houston, with a press conference for media by Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference. 

During the first voting session, the delegation approved the report from the SCJ Episcopacy Committee that allowed to elect three new Bishops (with a total of eight Bishops) and lets Arkansas keep its own Episcopal area intact with its own resident Bishop. 

In an unprecedented vote, the delegation elected three new Bishops in the very first vote. Rev. Dee Williamston of the Great Plains Conference received 141 votes. Rev. Laura Merrill of the Rio Texas Conference received 99 votes, and Rev. David Wilson of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference received 92 votes. In order to be elected, bishop-elects must receive 60% of the votes or 77 votes. 

It is speculated that this type of vote has not happened since the 1800s. 

With this historic vote also brings forth the first African American female (Rev. Dee Williamston) to be elected in the South Central Jurisdiction and the first Native American (Rev. Dr. David Wilson) in the history of the United Methodist Church.