During a February visit, Reverend L. Fitzgerald Reist II, secretary of the General Conference, described the United Methodist Church's investment in Africa University as "money well-spent".
Reist was on his first visit to Africa University's main campus in Zimbabwe. While there, he gave a public lecture on the topic, "The Importance of General Conference to the life of the Church".
"In 1988, the General Conference embraced the initiative to set up Africa University and coming here 20 years later to witness the fruits of this initiative, I would say this could be perhaps the greatest achievement of the United Methodist Church in the 20th century," said Reist.
Students, staff and United Methodists from the community around the campus packed the auditorium and asked wide-ranging questions of Reist. They wanted to know about how General Conference petitions are filed, and about whether the General Conference would ever be held outside of the United States.
Recalling the youth group car washes and bake sales at his home church to raise funds for Africa University, Reist noted that the sacrificial giving that supports Africa University underscores the significance of the General Conference.
"The church dutifully works to meet the goal when a declaration has been endorsed at the General Conference," said Reist. "This is why the General Conference is very important in the United Methodist Church."