Last Sunday, Debbie and I had the opportunity to visit the First United Methodist Church of Cary (FUMC) as the guests of University Trustee Rev. Dr. Carl Frazier, and his wife, Mary Ellen. Joining us were University Chaplain Mike Safley, and Dr. Michael Martin and the MU Chorale. In total, we spoke at five different events, and the Chorale performed at two services.
During my remarks, I spoke about Methodist University’s commitment to delivering on the promise we make to every student who enters our gates to ensure they succeed in every aspect of their University experience. This includes our understanding that a student’s faith journey may also be a part of their growth. This is in keeping with my opening remarks to students that I present each fall, when I share with them that from a faculty and staff perspective they are “our one thing.” This is meant to communicate to incoming students our commitment to their having a truly transformational experience.
In speaking with the FUMC Youth Assembly, I asked them if they thought they were members of the “Best Church in America,” and I repeated the question to the congregation at each of the subsequent worship services. The overwhelming and enthusiastic response was yes, which gives credence to my statement at every University event that I have the “Best Job in America” because I am President of the “Best University in America.” Should any of us want to be associated with institutions that we do not feel are the best in America—for them?
One of the fundamental principles of our faith is that we believe that our God sees each of us as his “one thing,” meaning that he has time for us and that we benefit from a hand-crafted faith experience like no other person experiences. I firmly believe that Methodist University delivers on a hand-crafted university experience like no other university. This includes a rich variety of campus worship options that engage over 400 of our students on a weekly basis, making it perhaps the largest youth ministry program in the state. Service learning is also an important component of this ministry, as these same students are active in volunteer opportunities, including mission work teams.
Chaplain Mike Safley often comments that those students participating in these experiences have a 100% graduation rate from Methodist, which means that students who are involved stay at an institution and earn their degrees. Indeed, if we are to truly deliver on the promise, we know that one pathway for students to ensure their success is through their faith journey.
The future of Methodist University is bright, in part, because of its affiliation with the Methodist Church and its support for the expression of faith by all students. Signature partnerships like the one with First United Methodist Church Cary are key. With plans for a new Chapel on the horizon, we will be able to accommodate the increased interest by students in understanding and expressing their faith. This opportunity is what makes America strong and Methodist University strong, and supports our claim of being the “Best University in America.”
We are pleased to count First United Methodist Church of Cary as one of our signature partnerships and are grateful for the support of Rev. Dr. Carl Frazier and his staff. Through such partnerships, we are able to serve young people at these churches and invite them to join the MU Journey.