[caption id="attachment_2840" align="alignright" width="225"] Elizabeth Hinton[/caption] It is a long, long way (617 miles; 9 1/2 hours) from Newbern in rural Hale County, Alabama to Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, but that is the journey that Elizabeth Hinton embarked upon two years ago. Following her graduation from Southern Academy in Greensboro, Liz enrolled at Judson College in Marion, 20 miles to the east. Just as Liz had been very active as a child and teenager at the First United Methodist Church of Greensboro, she became very active as a college student at First United Methodist Church of Marion. After graduating from Judson, Liz became the youth director at Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham. It was while serving at Asbury that Liz answered the call of God upon her life to become an ordained minister. She stepped out in faith that somehow, someway, God would help her find a way. Upon being accepted at Duke, Liz was offered a position on campus as a graduate resident among freshman students. Before she left home, her pastors at that time, Misty Barrett in Marion and Nathan Elliott in Greensboro, called me and told me of the excitement that their congregations felt in having been given the privilege of being in partnership with Liz on this journey. The good members in both Greensboro and Marion responded overwhelmingly with their generous gifts for Liz, channeling thousands of dollars through our Scholarship Foundation. Soon thereafter, the Betty Jean Barton Circle of the United Methodist Women, as well as the Elizabeth Stewart Circle of United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Marion, joined in and said, “We want to help!” The members of the Excelsior Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church of Greensboro, said, “We want to be a part!” When one day when Brenda and I stopped by the popular Pie Lab in Greensboro to eat lunch, a generous couple walked over to our table and said, “We want to give you a check to support Liz!”
Now Liz is entering her third and final year at Duke and is preparing to graduate and return to our Alabama-West Florida Conference next July. The story of Liz is a beautiful story of what happens when someone answers God’s call upon her/his life and is surrounded by the love and support of their congregations back home. [caption id="attachment_2841" align="alignright" width="225"] Elizabeth Hinton[/caption] We often emphasize the financial needs of our students, and they are real, but oftentimes, we overlook their emotional needs. Even though Liz is 617 miles and 9 1/2 hours away from her home in Newbern, Alabama, every single day as she walks across the beautiful campus at Duke, she is aware that she is not walking alone, but she is surrounded by the prayerful, financial, and emotional support of the good members back home in Greensboro and Marion who are walking beside her every step of the way. Is there someone out there today from your church or your area with whom you would like to partner and provide some financial and emotional support through our Scholarship Foundation? If so, just remember that you can make a huge difference! Karl K. Stegall