A Moment for Mission
“Generations to come will be told about my Lord. They will proclaim God’s righteousness to those not yet born, telling them what God has done.” — Psalm 22:30b-31, CEB
Growing up in Camden, Mississippi, Jessica Love was raised by a single, hardworking mother of four. She recalled how her mom’s “unwavering work ethic” inspired her to want more. “With limited opportunities and resources, I saw education as my only tool. Education became extremely important to me. I leaned into it,” said Love.
Because of her academic success, Love received scholarships from several colleges and universities. The Rev. Frenchye Magee, a former pastor of Love’s home church, Couparle United Methodist , encouraged her to consider Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
On the college tour, Love learned that the campus was once an auction site for enslaved Black people. “Rust College chose me long before I set foot on the campus, but in that moment, I chose Rust College because I never wanted to forget how standing there made me feel,” she said.
“Rust College is where I was affirmed as a Black woman. The experience shaped the woman I am today and fueled my life’s purpose. While I received a stellar education, my adoration for Rust College is personal because that community is where I learned to love myself. Rust College gave me the confidence and education needed to navigate colorless spaces,” explained Love.
Now pursuing her doctorate degree in communication, Love credits The United Methodist Church with serving as a gateway to professional and academic opportunities. “The Black College Fund, in particular, has served as a prime financial source throughout my educational journey,” she said.
Loving God, thank you for educational opportunities that open doors. We praise you! May we share the wonders of your grace with others. In your name, we pray. Amen.
Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday in Lent — God of all, you love us and have claimed us. As you blessed Sarah and Abraham, you have invited us into the blessing of connection within the family of humanity whom you continue to bless. We give our tithes and offerings in celebration of the depths of our blessing and pray that they will strengthen the church across the world to bless all your children. In the holy name of Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, we pray in gratitude. Amen. (Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16)
Majoring in mass communication at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Jessica Love had many opportunities to hone her craft. Today, she is a doctoral candidate and a marketing and communication specialist for the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry .
At Rust, Love realized “why it was important to take advantage of the educational opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where the rich legacy and stories of my people are safeguarded and live on.”
She was excited to become a Black College Fund ambassador. “I was able to expand my professional network and serve my community,” Love said.
She is especially grateful for United Methodist gifts to the Black College Fund .
“Bridging gaps in access to educational opportunities is one tangible way the church addresses systemic issues in higher education for Black congregants,” she said. “More important, supporting the Black College Fund means investing in waves of Black leaders, charged to make and be a difference in the church and their communities.”
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom