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Funds needed to repair campus ministry buildings

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Web-only photo courtesy of the Wesley Foundation
at Tulane University


Volunteers help with cleanup of the Wesley Foundation at Tulane University after flooding from Hurricane Katrina.
Oct. 17, 2006

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Campus Ministers Association is working to raise $170,000 to repair Wesley Foundation buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina and to support campus ministries in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Rev. Bill Campbell, campus minister at Middle Tennessee State University and co-chairman of the association, said money is needed for construction and renovation, furnishings, appliances and ministry programs at Gulf Coast colleges and universities.

A total of $115,000 is needed for construction and renovation of the Wesley Foundation buildings at Tulane University in New Orleans and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston. An additional $55,000 is needed for programs at these schools and at Dillard University in New Orleans.

Severe damages

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The Rev. Max Zehner
“The Wesley Foundation at Tulane University was flooded with several inches of water,” said the Rev. Max Zehner, United Methodist campus minister at the New Orleans college. “The good news was that our newly added building space fared quite well structurally against the winds of Katrina. The bad news was that the flood waters advanced as high as a foot in parts of our building. The building needed to be gutted on the lower level, and we lost all our flooring and furniture.”

The Wesley Foundation building on the campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston was damaged so severely that it was declared unsafe for occupation. Land was donated for a new multipurpose building, which will include space for a new home for the Wesley Foundation.

Susan Vuyovich, a campus minister at Perkinston, said the need for a social and spiritual support system was magnified when six students at the college were killed in a traffic accident a few months after Katrina. The tragedy dramatized the need for a new Wesley Foundation home and a place for students to gather with friends.

Decline in funds

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The Rev. Bill Campbell
Declining support from the denomination frequently means more than half of a campus ministry’s operating budget must be raised by each local Wesley Foundation, Campbell said.

“To raise funds for campus ministry, Wesley Foundation boards and campus ministers turn to individuals and the surrounding community for the strongest support,” he said. “When an entire region is devastated, a Wesley Foundation program within that region that is hit especially hard loses not only apportionment money but also the sustaining backbone support of individuals and area churches.”

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, leader of the Mississippi Area, joined the campus ministers in urging churches to support the Katrina Campus Ministry Recovery Appeal. Information on the Katrina Church Recovery Appeal is available at http://umc.org/churchrecovery. Donations can be made online or designated for Bishops’ Appeal #818-001 and sent to an annual conference treasurer.

Donations to assist the United Methodist Campus Ministers Association’s Wesley Foundations recovery efforts can be made to the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. Checks can be designated in the memo line for Katrina Campus Ministry Recovery. Donations should be sent to United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, 1001 Nineteenth Ave., South, Nashville, TN 37212-2130. For more information, contact Thomas Yow, foundation president and chief executive, at tyow@gbhem.org.

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Resources
Katrina Church Recovery Appeal
Wesley Foundation at Middle Tennessee State University
Dillard University
United Methodist Higher Education Foundation
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Mississippi Annual Conference