On Dec. 8th-10th the John Wesley Fellows celebrated 40 years of scholarship, fellowship, and frankly blessings for the United Methodist Church, for its colleges, seminaries, episcopal office, local churches, the Upper Room, overseas missions, for Abingdon Press, for its annual conferences, general conferences, for Africa University, and frankly so much more. There are at present over 160 John Wesley Fellows, who have received scholarships from AFTE (A Foundation for Theological Education), and I was blessed to be in the first class of these Fellows, chosen in 1977 as I headed to England to do my doctoral work in Durham. The impact of this program can hardly be measured even now, and we owe Ed Robb (both father and son) and Albert Outler a lot for setting this program in motion and then to the Robbs for keeping this program funded over 4 decades. The goal of this fellowship was not just to fund budding Methodist scholars but to work for the renewal of our church. Along the way we realized that we had something special—- a multi-generation fellowship of scholars and pastors who love our church, and wanted to work for it to be all the Lord intended it to be.
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