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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Biking and walking for AU Endowed Scholarship Fund

    April 29, 2015 / By The Rev. Jeff Childs / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Last year, as part of the fundraising and awareness-raising efforts for the Africa University Scholarship Endowment Fund, a half dozen people rode their bikes or hiked their way to Annual Conference session. I was blessed to ride a bike to that session with current Finger Lakes District Superintendent the Rev. Jeff McDowell. Two years ago I tried walking the 72 miles from the Penn Yan United Methodist Church to Syracuse, only to have my feet and legs give out six miles short in Camillus. “The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak!” This year, as he has for the last 22 years, the Rev. Bob Long, retired, will ride his bike to the session from the Albany area.

    This year I am asking for your help. Rather than pounding the pavement four days before the AC session and walking along busy highways and road construction sites, I am taking some time each day to walk (or run) three to five miles, with the hope of walking 150 miles by the time the session meets at the end of May. That is the equivalent distance of walking from the Penn Yan UMC to the session and back again, including that six-mile stretch I had missed from Camillus to the OnCenter two years ago. Those who would like to support my foot-pounding fundraising efforts are invited to contact me (revchilds@hotmail.com) with their pledge of support. Or better yet, walk along with me, wherever you are.

    When I discovered that it is 8,050 miles as the “Dove” flies from Syracuse to Africa University in Zimbabwe, I decided to appeal to all Conference and local church members to join me in walking, biking, or running a mile or two over the days leading up to AC session. It would take me a lifetime to walk that many miles. But together, step by step, mile by mile, we could make it together. Would you walk (or ride your bike or your wheelchair) a mile or two or more this month? As we get to the Annual Conference session, let me know the miles you have covered and where. Collect donations and sponsorships for either the Africa University Scholarship Endowment Fund alone or the Africa 360 campaign, which will be split evenly between the Africa University Scholarship Endowment Fund and Imagine No Malaria.

    I want to thank you and your congregations for your financial support of the walkers and riders and for your support of the students who are able to attend Africa University because of these scholarships. I believe, dollar by dollar, offering by offering, gift by gift we will fully fund our goal of permanently endowing eight scholarships to Africa University one step at a time.

    The Rev. Jeff Childs is pastor at the Penn Yan UMC.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."