The Central Methodist University staff and students are proud of their United Methodist heritage and the authentically inclusive atmosphere of spiritual and intellectual growth and service opportunities, said David Hutchinson, Executive Director of Advancement, bringing greetings to Missouri Annual Conference delegates. He believes that Methodist heritage shapes CMU students’ characters, faith and transforms their lives. CMU community strives for social and ecumenical growth with an emphasis on accountability of young persons.
During the recent symposium, students shared about their favorite professors, and it was very reassuring to hear how a student from CMU shared about one of the teachers who helped during her tough life circumstances. A student from a large school, contrasted it with her experience in a large school where it is next to impossible to connect to a professor in a class of 600 students. The vision for the new Assembly Hall, according to Hutchison, is to bring the faculty and students even closer.
CMU serves as a powerful illustration of our Methodist connectional identity. For example, the new recording studio on campus not only shapes students’ recording technique but also helps to advance social media of the congregations that cannot afford hi-tech ministry. David invited local churches to visit the university campus and mentioned Francis Street First UMC group that visited CMU last spring around Easter.
This is how it happened. CMU President Roger Drake’s speech at the Annual Conference a year ago inspired Francis Street First’s Lay Leader Cindy Allen to contact CMU in October 2016. The president came to St. Joseph to speak at Francis Street First. The church members accepted his invitation and visited the campus.
Katilyn Walker is the associate pastor at Linn Memorial UMC, the church on the CMU campus. She graduated with degrees in religion and business. Now, she begins working on her M.Div. at Asbury Theological Seminary.
Walker shared how she entered the ministry. Her pastor helped her see opportunities at CMU, and Walker felt at home from her first step on campus.
“I cannot explain to you how deeply CMU impacted my life. It was an engaging and inspiring experience. Our professors do care about us. You guys created this ministry. I can’t be more thankful for what you’ve done for me.”
When Hutchison invited all current CMU students and alumni to stand, Judy Slimmer exclaimed, “I loved it!” and added that CMU shaped her life and faith.
Hutchison ended with an invitation, “Come to learn how to be in the relationships with young people whose lives are transformed because of you. 20000 alumni say thank you to the Missouri Conference.”
Bishop Farr responded, “This is a good example of transformation, and we are a part of it.”