This year’s Bishop’s Annual Conference Offering will support the Bishop John Yambasu Scholarship at Africa University and Gammon Theological Seminary, in honor of their new president-dean, Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis.
Bishop John K. Yambasu died in a tragic road accident in Sierra Leone on August 16, 2020. The endowment was established with a generous gift and will ensure annual scholarship support for at least one student to matriculate at Africa University in the area of peace, leadership, and governance.
Bishop Yambasu, the resident bishop of the Sierra Leone Area and president of the Africa College of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, was elected Chancellor of Africa University in February 2019. “The Bishop John K. Yambasu Endowed Scholarship Fund is an intentional and lasting tribute to a leader who served his episcopal area and the global United Methodist Church family with great compassion, wisdom and commitment,” said James H. Salley, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. Bishop Yambasu played a key role achieving reconciliation and unity among United Methodists in Burundi.
“Bishop Yambasu believed in scholarships and the power of education to transform lives and communities,” said Salley. “That four members of his family have graduated from Africa University is clear evidence of his confidence in the life-changing educational experience AU offers.”
Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis will take her place as the 17th President-Dean at Gammon Theological Seminary – and the first female in a line of succession that dates to 1887. Her selection came after what the school described as "an extensive search with the assistance of The General Council on Finance and Administration's UMCSupport." "We are excited for this historic milestone. The Board of Trustees is committed to Gammon and its continuing witness," search committee Chair Dr. Mackie Norris said. "We pledge our support to Dr. Lewis and offer a spirit of collegiality as together we embrace the present and the future at the School of the Prophets."
This agent of change and social justice now accepts the challenge of turning eager and seeking students into the next generation of African American church leaders and pastors.
"Theological education has changed in the last 25 years. We are seeing a decline in students and a need again for seminaries as a whole, not just Gammon, to serve the present age and connect with students and raise resources," Dr. Lewis said.
Her two biggest immediate tasks: Student recruitment and fund development. The cost of attending seminary can be prohibitive, but the new president hopes to alleviate that through community and corporate partnerships.
"I'm excited about this new ministry opportunity. I think the possibilities are great," she said. "I look forward to following God and leading this into the future
To donate online via credit card, please visit flumc.org/donate.
Churches may continue to donate through the VANCO website.