A Moment for Mission
"Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me." – Psalm 5:8, NRSV
Undeniably, racial tensions still exist in today's society. For many years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessors have worked to ease those tensions. This peacemaking continues to be necessary, as the gap between income and education in relation to race has widened. Access to resources and education has immediate consequences, paving the way for opportunity – or lack of opportunity – for generations to come.
Before the Civil War, higher education for African American students was virtually nonexistent. Most HBCUs – historically black colleges and universities – were founded at the end of the Civil War to educate freed slaves. Today, The United Methodist Church supports 11 HBCUs, more than any other religious denomination in the United States.
The 11 HBCUs offer a values-centered learning environment that encourages leadership development, self-esteem building and spiritual growth. Students receive guidance and training in low-student-to-faculty ratio classrooms that allow them to maximize their skills for citizenship and leadership. These schools are critical because faculties and staff can be role models for students who might otherwise fall through the cracks and miss out on a college education. For many who are the first in their family to go to college, these institutions are an important bridge to a wider, more culturally diverse society.
By continued faithfulness in paying our apportionments, we support this strong legacy of providing educational opportunities through the United Methodist Black College Fund.
God, as we journey together as the church, inspire us to seek justice for all you created in your image and make straight the path toward reconciliation. Grant us courage to be a part of creating a more peaceful world. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday After Pentecost - O Lord, our God, your steadfast love surrounds those who trust in you. We are grateful for your faithfulness, even when we struggle to commit ourselves and our loved ones to your care. In times of trouble, your Spirit lifts us and carries us through. We rejoice that you call us to be part of this congregation where your love in Christ is made manifest. We dedicate our gifts and offerings to bless our neighbors through the caring ministries of this church, in the name of our risen Savior. Amen. (Psalm 32)
Following the Civil War, the former Methodist Episcopal Church organized the Freedmen's Aid Society to help educate black people newly freed from slavery. Between 1866 and 1882, the society established more than 70 schools in the U.S. South and Southwest.
In 1972, The United Methodist Church established the Black College Fund to provide a constant, reliable way to support United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Today we support 11 HBCUs – more than any other religious denomination.
One of the HBCUs we support is Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Meharry trains students to work in medicine, dentistry and public health-related fields and provides low-cost dental and medical care to area residents, as well as outreach to the local community.
When we support the Black College Fund, we provide opportunities for students to have greater access to education. Many graduates become leaders in the communities where they live and work. Each of the 11 HBCUs that our Black College Fund supports has a strong commitment and legacy to develop leaders.