|Awards honor champions of historically black colleges|
The Rev. John G. Corry accepts a 2008 H.O.P.E. Award from
Cynthia Bond Hopson (left) and Lillian Ferguson during the 41st annual
meeting of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. UMNS photos by Linda
By Linda Green*
March 6, 2008 | LOS ANGELES (UMNS)
Two United Methodists are the recipients of the 2008 H.O.P.E. legacy
awards from the Black College Fund for giving hope to 11 historically
black colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church.
Rev. John G. Corry, chaplain and senior adviser to the president for
United Methodist Church Affairs at Meharry Medical College, and Angella
Current-Felder, executive director of the Office of Loans and
Scholarships for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and
Ministry, received the awards Feb. 28 during the 41st annual meeting of
Black Methodists for Church Renewal in Los Angeles.
The Heritage, Opportunity, Preparation and Education awards were
initiated in 2001 and are given annually to recognize "exceptional
contributions in continuing a tradition of hope in the historically
black colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church,"
said Cynthia Bond Hopson, director of the Black College Fund and Ethnic
Concerns at the Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Nearly 16,000 students attend the 11 church-related, historically black
schools. The 35-year-old Black College Fund is supported by local church
apportionments and promoted through an internship program named for
former fund executive Lina H. McCord.
A helping hand
Current-Felder has encouraged many United Methodist students to make a
difference through education. She leads the Women of Color Scholars
program, which is designed to increase the number of women of color
serving on seminary faculties as teachers and researchers. The Office of
Loans and Scholarships awards approximately $6 million in financial
assistance annually to more than 3,500 students.
"I am humbled by being a recipient of the H.O.P.E. Award," said
Current-Felder as she shared the moment with her mother, Bishop Leontine
Hopson presents a second H.O.P.E. Award to Angella Current-Felder of the United Methodist Office of Loans and Scholarships.
Current-Felder told the luncheon audience that her parents encouraged
her and her three siblings to be their own persons but also to fulfill
their responsibility "for the liberation of black people. I accept this
award. I was only doing what God told me to do," she said.
Trailblazer in the church
A trailblazer in many areas of the church, Corry was the first
African-American district superintendent in the Tennessee Annual
(regional) Conference. He has served as president of the Judicial
Council, the denomination's supreme court, and is the author of nine
publications. He is in his 35th year of employment at United
Methodist-related Meharry in Nashville, Tenn.
With his family in attendance, Corry told the audience that he is
"always humbled when someone recognizes the work I have done. I have
been supported by a host of witnesses … and I know I could not have done
those things without the grace of God."
Past recipients include Current-Felder’s father, Gloster Current Sr.,
the Rev. Chestina Mitchell Archibald, on-air personality Tom Joyner,
Larry Jenkins of the Thurston Group, and the Rev. Walter L. Kimbrough
and his wife, author and professor Marjorie L. Kimbrough.
A highlight of the annual luncheon is a table competition to raise money
to support scholarships for the historically black college represented
by its choir at the gathering. This year, the competition awarded
$10,000 to Dillard University of New Orleans and its choir.
The Dillard University choir performs.
Participants opened their wallets after watching tables of the "battling
bishops and spouses." Two episcopal tables, one led by Dillard alumni
Bishop Alfred and Mackie Norris and another led by Bishop Melvin and
Marilyn Magee Talbert, squared off with their checkbooks to enliven the
"What happens at black colleges does not happen everywhere else," Hopson
said, noting that the colleges accept students who have potential but
who may have never experienced "I think I can encouragement."
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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The Black College Fund
Black College Fund-supported Colleges
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Meharry Medical College
Black Methodists for Church Renewal
Profile: Lina McCord