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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Face-to-face conversation: Another way people are learning about AU

    September 23, 2015 / By Shirley Drake Byers

    Are you the “U” in Africa University?

    The Albany and Adirondack districts invite congregations from across the Upper New York Conference to its Africa University event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Latham.

    The event is a day for United Methodists to get together with something great to celebrate: the United Methodist relationship with Africa University (AU), and AU living out its goal to “Transform Africa.”

    In a true “God moment,” I got the chance to meet an early graduate of AU, Artemus Gaye, after a recent AU Advisory Development Committee meeting. After a brief conversation, he has agreed to be a part of the October 10 event, giving people a chance to meet and talk with an AU graduate.

    The program includes Gaye, the keynote speaker, along with storytelling, music, dances and songs, drummers, some African food, a pictorial “visit” to the campus, and another “visit” from “Tinashe” the lion – who came to the Conference a couple of years ago, to introduce the Upper New York-designed Vacation Bible School resource Under the Acacia Tree. As word of the Oct. 10 event spreads, each day seems to bring new ideas of ways to celebrate AU. Whether it is African hand-crafted Acacia trees or the SERRV African arts and crafts – the Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation (SERRV) was one of the first fair trade initiatives worldwide - there will be many creative things to experience and bring to your home congregation.

    Everyone is invited! Come help celebrate! You, too, may have something to share. Hopefully you will be inspired to be the Africa University “U” in your small group, your church, or your district.

    Child care and lunch – not all will be African foods – will be provided by the organizers of the day. Please contact Shirley Drake Byers at and let her know how many are coming from your group and any dietary restrictions.

    Because we are celebrating AU, there will be an opportunity to share in Upper New York’s Africa University Endowed Scholarship campaign, one half of the Africa 360 initiative.

    For those in the Albany and Adirondack districts, more details will follow on Facebook and in the Albany and Adirondack district newsletters. For those outside of the Albany and Adirondack Districts, email Byers.

    Shirley Drake Byers has been involved with Africa University since 1988, when she was a delegate to the General Conference that gave birth to the university, and served as chair of Upper New York’s Endowed Scholarship Task Force.

    TAGGED / Connectional Ministries

    With more than 144,000 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."