Choir Tour Yields Excitement and Support

Africa University Choir, USA, Rust College, music, Mississippi, UMC, studentsOver a period of five weeks in May/June, the Africa University Choir worshipped and performed in more than 50 venues in the Mississippi and South Carolina conferences. Fifteen students from six African countries shared their stories, expressed their gratitude for the ongoing United Methodist Church support, and gave audiences a taste of the music, praise and worship traditions of sub-Saharan Africa.

The choir began its tour in Mississippi, where it helped to increase awareness of the conference’s campaign to endow 10 scholarships for students at Africa University at a cost $1.3 million. By June 4, when the choir gave its closing performance at the Mississippi Annual Conference session, Mississippi United Methodists had committed more than $586,000 to the campaign.

“Having the Africa University Choir was a joy and inspiration for the thousands who heard and worshipped with them all across the conference," said Rev. Jimmy L. Carr and Ms. Martha Scarborough, who are co-chairing the campaign. "Through their 30 appearances and serving as the Conference Choir, they brought excitement and commitment to our Mississippi-Africa University Partnership. Their leadership brought us to the half way point in our 1.3 million dollar goal.”

In South Carolina, choir members crisscrossed the state before ending their visit in North Charleston on June 22.

“The AU Choir came to us at a unique moment in South Carolina…Your (students) blessed us beyond measure,” said the Rev. Robert Howell, senior pastor of the largest United Methodist congregation in South Carolina—Bethany United Methodist Church in Summerville.

Africa University, choir, students, Mississippi, South Carolina, United Methodist Church, music, tourEight congregations in the North Charleston area gathered at Cokesbury United Methodist Church on June 21 for the choir’s final performance. South Carolina Bishop L. Jonathan Holston attended and affirmed the choir for its ministry.

"The choir’s presence in the Palmetto State will always be remembered,” said Holston. “The AU Choir shared its ministry of song to a broken and hurting community with the love of Christ.  We are grateful for their presence in a time of hope and reconciliation."