Petition 81168

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Women's College Fund Resolution (81168-MH-R9999)

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   WHEREAS, the Methodist movement historically has espoused the unity of “knowledge and vital piety”; and  
    WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church currently supports and advances higher education as a ministry of the church, giving expression to the commitment so that the faithful may become informed citizens and so that the citizenry may remain faithful; and
    WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has increasingly affirmed the role of women in the church and in society as decision makers, leaders, and active participants in ministry, business, private life, and public life; and
    WHEREAS, access to higher education for women is crucial to their success in these important roles; and
    WHEREAS, women have not always had access to the same level of higher education as men; and
    WHEREAS, Methodist leaders were responsible for creating the first institution of higher learning for women, equivalent to those available to men; and
    WHEREAS, graduates of women’s colleges excel in private, public, and professional life; and
    WHEREAS, in the last year the number of United Methodist Women’s College has diminished to three institutions which include:
    Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, founded in 1873 and proud of its heritage as an institution deliberately reorganized to become Bennett College for Women in 1926, provides a strong academic and personal development program in a residential setting, and continues its strong relationship with The United Methodist Church as it produces phenomenal, serious women leaders, primarily African-American, grounded in spiritual value systems, for scholarship, citizenship, service, and social justice;
    Columbia College, in Columbia, South Carolina,  founded in 1854 to “educate young women for fruitful service to church, state, and nation,” and continues today to educate women in a vital learning community which emphasizes academic excellence, diversity, technology, globalization, and leadership enhanced by ethics and values; and directed toward women to prepare them for leadership, responsibility, and service; and
    Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia founded 1836, the first college in the world chartered to grant baccalaureate degrees to women and thrives today “remain[ing] committed to the Judeo-Christian ethic, believing that a firm grasp of enduring human values is basic to the Wesleyan way of learning, living, and service”; and
WHEREAS, while the role of Women’s colleges remains strong, they face difficult enrollment and fundraising pressures because of their nature and
WHEREAS, the combined endowments of the three United Methodist women’s colleges are only $75 million and
WHEREAS, the 2000 General Conference of The United Methodist Church affirmed the church’s long-standing and faithful women’s colleges affiliated with The United Methodist Church and listed by the University Senate and encouraged each of these institutions to continue to advance its role in the educational ministry of the church and to interpret that ministry to United Methodists worldwide;
   WHEREAS, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry was charged by the 2000 General Conference with undertaking the study of women in higher education and the role of women’s colleges in the education and training of women leaders in an effort to strengthen the church’s commitment to the education of women and to learn more about the contributions to the church’s ministry and to society made by these three institutions, and that they counter the rapid attrition of women’s colleges by fortifying these colleges prayer and support.  
    Let it be resolved that the United Methodist Church now offer with joy their financial support of their Women’s Colleges that they may stay true to the church’s founding principles.
[see related petition 81167]