The colleges need the church?
Or the church needs the colleges?

Charles Wesley wrote that a goal of Methodism is "to unite the two so long disjoined: knowledge and vital piety."

"In an age that threatens again to separate head and heart," says the Rev. William McDonald, "the church's colleges, at their best, work to keep them together. Our mission is to be spiritually and intellectually alive."

As chaplain at Tennessee Wesleyan College, McDonald is one of four chaplains serving colleges related to Holston Conference - one of four charged to "listen to the students and guide them as they grow into God's call," according to McDonald.

At Emory & Henry College, the Rev. Tim Kobler "listens to the students" through Religious Life offerings (worship, Bible study, fellowship) almost every day of the week. In addition, his students have served as missioners to Costa Rica, Mexico, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Recently, a Habitat for Humanity team headed a campus-wide creation of a cardboard city to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty.

"We are blessed to have a close relationship with Emory United Methodist Church and Smyth Chapel UMC, where Beverly and I serve as pastors," says Chaplain Kobler, whose associate chaplain is his wife, the Rev. Beverly Robinette. "Students have found in these churches a home and opportunity to serve God and God's people."

At Hiwassee College, the Rev. Eric Doolittle notes that, "Like any effective ministry, our colleges need more than just money - although more money would come in handy. We need the presence of people who support our historic ministry of education to actively engage in college ministries."

How to do that? "Adopt an international student over the break," Doolittle suggests. "Bake cookies for homesick students. Throw a pizza party at finals. In other words, show the students at your United Methodist colleges that they are loved and surrounded by the prayers of thousands of local Christians."

The colleges do still need the church, McDonald agrees. "But the reverse is more and more apparent. The church needs its colleges." "They are a valuable resource," he says, "lest the church forget how to live with a global perspective, how to think critically in a consumer culture, and that lifelong learning is part of Christian discipleship. "Church colleges exist to instill these values in many who will be the church's future leaders, lay and ordained."


Bishop's Column

Cover Stories:
Resurrection returns to Gatlinburg
$1.8 million shortfall


Campus ministry

June is soon

Give me a sign

National & World News

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The Colleges

Emory & Henry College
(page 6)

Tennessee Wesleyan College
(page 7)

Hiwassee College
(page 8)

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