In Brief — Sept. 22, 2004 {0169}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — Sept. 22, 2004

Sept. 22, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0169}

An e-Review News Item
By J.A. Buchholz**

Florida Southern College makes list of 'America's Best Colleges'

LAKELAND—Florida Southern College here is one of nearly 30 United Methodist-related schools listed among America's top institutions in the 2005 edition of U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges."

Three United Methodist-related undergraduate schools located in the southern part of the United States were in the top 10: LaGrange College in Georgia at seventh place and both Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., and Florida Southern College in a three-way tie for ninth place. There were 324 schools ranked within four regions.

Duke University in Durham, N.C., tied for fifth place with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, behind Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The report compared 248 national universities.

Emory University in Atlanta is ranked 20th.

"Each time the U.S. News and World Report is published, I look eagerly to see where the United Methodist-related colleges and universities are listed, and I am proud when I see rankings that indicate the quality of our educational institutions has improved or been maintained," said Wanda Bigham, staff executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, in an Aug. 31 press release.

The establishment of schools has been part of the Methodist tradition since the earliest days of the movement. Today, there are 123 United Methodist-related schools.

Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., is the highest-ranked United Methodist-related school among the 217 U.S. liberal arts institutions. It is tied at 40th. United Methodist-related DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind., is 43rd. Other denomination-related institutions among the top liberal arts schools are Drew University, Madison, N.J.; Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Ala.; Hendrix College, Conway, Ark.; Albion (Mich.) College; Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, Va.; Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.; Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; and Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Va.

Duke and Emory Universities, at 8th and 27th place, respectively, were also listed as best values among national universities.

For more information on United Methodist-related schools contact the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 615-340-7048, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203 or

Quipungo elected for life in Central Conference

Bishop José Quipungo, who presides over the Eastern Angola Annual Conference, has been elected for life by the 2004 Central Africa Conference.

United Methodist bishops outside the United States are elected for terms, unless specifically selected for life tenure. Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos of West Angola was also elected for life.

The Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the Conference Equipping Network's Missions Ministry, said some members of the Florida Conference had expressed concern about the possibility of Quipungo not being re-elected and what that would mean to the conference's partnership with the Eastern Angola Conference. He said the relationship already established between the two conferences will be able to flourish and grow now that Quipungo has been elected for life.

"Our prayers are answered, and it confirms and cements further the Florida Conference's relationship with the Eastern Angola Conference," Rankin said. "It also means the people of Eastern Angola believe they have quality leadership in Bishop Quipungo and that he is worthy of the office of bishop."

ANGOLA, Africa — Melba Whitaker, left, and Eastern Angola Conference Bishop José Quipungo rest during one of many visits to ministries and communities in Quipungo's conference. Whitaker was part of a three-preson team that visited the conference last January on a fact-finding and relationship-building visit sponsored by the Florida Conference's task force on the Council of Bishop's Initiative on Children and Poverty (BICAP) and Hope for the Children of Africa. Photo by Michael Wacht, Photo #04-0095.

A partnership with the Eastern Angola Conference began after a three-person team from the Florida Conference traveled to East Angola last January on a fact-finding and relationship-building visit sponsored by the Florida Conference's task force on the Council of Bishop's Initiative on Children and Poverty (BICAP) and Hope for the Children of Africa.

The team visited churches, schools, hospitals and villages in the Malange District and spent time talking with Quipungo and Eastern Angola's district superintendents and conference staff to begin building relationships with the people there and discover the needs and priorities in the conference. The Eastern Angola Annual Conference has 45 churches in five districts, most of which are led by local pastors.

The Council of Bishops has asked the Florida Conference to shift its attention to the Eastern Angola Conference now that Florida has completed fund-raising for the Bishop Cornelius L. and Dorothye Henderson Secondary School in Mozambique.

Quipungo and his wife, Dr. Laurinda Vidal Quipungo, a physician, were guests at the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event last June.

Children's Harvest distributes 5,100 school kits

LAKELAND—The 2004 Children's Harvest celebrates another successful year.

The Children's Harvest ministry provided 5,100 school kits with backpacks to children assisted by the Council of Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty and through Florida Conference outreach ministries. Volunteers assembled 1,500 of the school kits June 3 at the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event.

Children's Harvest is a Florida Conference ministry that is part of the Council of Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty (BICAP), which was created in 1996 as a denominationwide initiative. Since then Florida Conference churches have given more than $400,000 to the conference's BICAP ministry, and the conference's BICAP task force has allocated more than $340,000 in grants to conference ministries focused on children and families.

BICAP began when the Council of Bishops called upon The United Methodist Church to reshape its life in response to the crisis among children and the impoverished. Although the quadrennium ended in 2000, the Council of Bishops extended the initiative for another four years, which means the church will continue to receive money and allocate grants to local church ministries.

Conference churches contribute to Children's Harvest to purchase specific items, such as school supplies or health kits. Organizers decided to focus on providing school supplies and backpacks for the conference's outreach ministries to children as the goal for 2004.

Organizations that received the school kits include Tampa Urban Ministry, which received 950 school kits; Christians Reaching Out to Society, 700; Halifax Urban Ministry, 500; Orlando Outreach Ministry, 500; Jacksonville Urban Ministry, 500; Miami Urban Ministry, 500; United Methodist Church Cooperative, Madison, 500; Gainesville District, 300; Wesley House Ministry, 250; and United Methodist Church Cooperative, St. Petersburg, 200.

The school supplies with backpacks, which would retail for $24 to $35, cost about $8 to assemble and contained a Good News Testament. Somebody Cares Tampa Bay and Target provided the supplies at significantly discounted prices.

At the 2002 Florida Annual Conference Event, churches participated in Children's Harvest by donating 2,000 health kits, 730 school kits, more than 200 reams of paper and more than $7,300, which was distributed to Florida Conference outreach ministries and the Methodist Church of Haiti. In 2003, churches gave enough money to purchase 3,000 school kits for children in the Eastern Angola Conference.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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