Posted by: morgan1965 | October 25, 2010

Bishop James K. Mathews: A Warrior For Africa University

Bishop James K. Mathews, a friend and colleague, was one of the longest serving bishops in the United Methodist Church. He was born on February 10, 1913 and he died on September 8, 2010. His ministry was rooted in North America, India, Asia, and Africa.

My earliest memories of Bishop Mathews date back to the early years of my ministry when I would visit my home conference, the Peninsula Conference (now the Peninsula-Delaware Conference) when he was the resident bishop. Bishop Mathews brought a world view to the work of the episcopacy, enabling him to transcend culture and race.

When I was assigned to the New York Episcopal Area, Bishop Mathews was serving as the interim bishop. Prior to beginning of my ministry in the New York Conference, Bishop Mathews invited me to come to the episcopal office where we spent a full day discussing the essential matters of the transition in leadership. He had prepared the way for his successor, with diligence, careful preparation and sensitivity. Quite frankly, when I began my assignment in the New York Conference, all was “in order.”

I will remember Bishop Mathews with admiration and affection. My special memory of him is as a warrior for Africa University. He served faithfully on the Africa University Advisory Development Committee. His legacy for Africa University was his recommendation that there be established an Honorary Alumni Association. The Honorary Alumni Association provides a means for individual women and men to become honorary alums, providing financial support for the university.

In addition, Bishop Mathews served as the interim bishop in Zimbabwe in 1985 for one year. Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Zimbabwe’s resident bishop, had to flee the country for political reasons.

Yes, Bishop James K. Mathews was a warrior on behalf of Africa in general, and Africa University in particular. When he attended meetings of the Advisory Development Committee, he always had words of encouragement. His passion was Africa University. His mission was Africa University. His vision was that Africa University would be an institution of excellence that would provide access to higher education for students from across the African Continent. He rendered his body and his soul for Africa University. His labor of love and his monetary gifts are making a difference now at Africa University and will continue to make a difference on into the future.

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