Combined Cabinets of the United Methodist Church’s Nashville Episcopal Area Meet at Meharry
The combined cabinets of the Nashville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church met January 14-16 at Meharry Medical College – one of the 11 historically black colleges supported by the church's Black College Fund.
“As one of our denomination’s historically black colleges and universities, Meharry is far more than a symbol of the past. It is an emblem of strength for preparing and changing lives for the future,” said Bishop Bill McAlilly, resident bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area. Representatives of the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences from Middle and West Tennessee and Western Kentucky make up the Nashville Episcopal Area.
“We've looked forward to conducting our business at an academic institution known far and wide for its many years of health care contributions and service to minority and underserved communities,” McAlilly said. “We are deeply honored and humbled by the invitation to meet at this institution to which we owe such a great debt in terms of nurturing tradition, history, and diversity in our beloved United Methodist Church.
“I pray more than a little of Meharry’s considerable influence and effectiveness will rub off on us as we gather to do the Kingdom work of the Nashville Episcopal Area,” he said before the meeting.
Wayne J. Riley, president and chief executive officer of Meharry, recalled that Meharry’s ties to The United Methodist Church were initiated at the college’s inception when Methodist clergy and lay leaders organized the Freedmen's Aid Society to educate former slaves in medicine, dentistry, and research.
“Through this inspired relationship we have been able to uphold our motto, 'Worship of God Through Service to Mankind.' The Black College Fund of The United Methodist Church has been instrumental in helping Meharry Medical College execute our education and training mission by providing funds for scholarships, infrastructure, and awareness building,” Dr. Riley said, adding that faculty and students welcomed the opportunity to host the combined cabinets of the Nashville Episcopal Area.
Cynthia Bond Hopson, assistant general secretary, Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns, said she is delighted that Bishop McAlilly and the Nashville Area Cabinets met on the Meharry campus.
“President Wayne J. Riley calls Meharry a national treasure, and it is. In its 137th year, Meharry is the oldest, private, historically black medical school in the country, and is one of only two United Methodist-related institutions in our episcopal area,” Bond Hopson said. She said the bishop and members of the cabinets would have an opportunity see their funds at work and experience the school’s motto “Worship of God Through Service to Mankind” in real time.
Meharry provides nearly $26 million annually in uncompensated medical and dental care to the uninsured and indigent, Bond Hopson said. The Black College Fund is an apportioned fund of the UMC which supports Meharry and 10 other United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities.
Martin College in Pulaski, Tenn., is the other Nashville Area United Methodist-related institution.