Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.
Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”
To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.
On Episode 041 Dr. James Salley the President and CEO of Africa University (Tennessee) Inc. talks to Bishop Trimble about the impact and influence of United Methodist Africa University in Zimbabwe upon the the continent of Africa and indeed upon the world since it's founding in 1992.
This is part 1 of a two part episode with Dr. James Salley. Part two of the interview is at Episode 042 of To Be Encouraged and focuses on the social, economic and political impact of Africa University and highlights the universities program to address the refugee crisis in Africa and beyond.
Hello good people and welcome to the to be encouraged podcast with Bishop Julius C. Treble. I'm your co host, Reverend Dr. Brad Miller. This is the podcast, where we look to offer an encouraging word to an often discouraged world. Our Our guest today is Dr. James Sally, who is the president and chief executive officer of African University Tennessee Inc. and have and a role as Vice Chancellor of institutional advancement for Africa, universities, all things African University. Dr. Sally, welcome to our podcast and Bishop, would you give him a proper proper welcome, please.Bishop Julius Trimble:
And welcome to my friend and colleague, Dr. James eight, Sally, we've known each other for over 30 plus years, and glad that you were able to make time to be on this podcast, your chief encourager around the country and actually across the globe. And we're glad to have you for this conversation about one of our favorite topics, Africa University.Brad Miller:
But yes, please go ahead, Jim.James Salley:
Simply thank you for inviting me to be with you today. Happy New Year.Brad Miller:
Happy, happy New Year. This indeed is our first recording for the year 2023. And it's a good place to start a bishop I believe with talking about something that's near and dear to your heart mine, in many, many, many United Methodist throughout the world. That's Africa University. And Jim is a native of South Carolina believe, and he has been involved with Africa University as a lay person in many capacities for some time. But you have a story of faith, my friend that I think needs to be shared. Jim, would you mind share a little bit about how you came to know Christ in the first place, and how you got little more involved with the church and how they eventually led to to such a involved in intimate relationship with Africa University as an expression of your calling in your ministry.James Salley:
I came from a family my mother was Baptist, my father, Methodist, and from Orangeburg, South Carolina. My grandfather in 1871, along with six other men, started a Methodist congregation that is still in existence as a merged United Methodist congregation to Jerusalem United Methodist Church. My grandfather's name was Henry Sally. My father's name James Sally. I'm James Henry Sally. So third generation United Methodist grew up in a Christian home. My mother was from Allendale, South Carolina and interestingly enough, herd grand father was the founder of the Baptist Church where she worshiped until she married my father in a little town called Martin, South Carolina, thankful Baptist Church. I've been I've been in, in the church, all of my life, and I am blessed to be where I am, grew up with the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With four sisters, I'm a middle child. We were in church every Sunday, and I thank God and I thank my parents for that.Brad Miller:
And that led you your early life and led you to follow a pathway of faith and to I'm interested now and how it eventually evolve where you're now involved with Africa University, so into my lateJames Salley:
in the Methodist Church, United Methodist, after the merger, served as a delegate or a lay member to the annual conference, elected as a jurisdictional delegate in 1988. General Conference delegate successfully consistently every year after that currently served in the South Carolina delegation. In 1984, I was elected to serve on the General Board of Global Ministries. At that time, it was the entity that took care of all of the missionaries, and all of the work outside of the United States for the United Methodist Church, elected to serve at that time, in what was known as the Europe, Middle East Africa region, and was elected in 1986 by the board to serve on a committee that looked at the future of higher education on the continent of Africa, set from the General Board of Global Ministries to the General Board of Higher Education and ministry as the liaison and served on a committee with GB htm and at that time, Dr. Thomas Trotter, the General Secretary of GB htm, on exploring the possibility of The United Methodist University on the continent of Africa subsequently served on the site selection committee. And then on the first on the Inaugural Committee that put together what was known as the Africa Initiative in 1987. And this is the committee that brought that initiative to the General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri in 1988. It passed, and it had the highest of passage rate of any legislation that came before the General Conference, prior to that time, called the Africa Initiative, and then served on the founding board of directors of Africa University until 1991, helping to put together the master plan, develop the strategy. And then in 1992, the university opened in March of 1992, with 40 students. So I've been involved with Africa University, actually, since 1986, before it was founded. Wow, the first students came to the University in April of 1992. And four is 40 students from six countries on the continent of Africa, and have been involved since came to work for Africa University, as the Associate Vice Chancellor for development and running the US office in Nashville, Tennessee at the General Board of Higher Education and ministry. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary in October on the campus and inaugurated our fifth Vice Chancellor.Brad Miller:
Wow. Well, Bishop, I know you were there as part of that celebration. And I assume you were to Jim and so Bishop, what kind of questions do you have for Jim, or he's obviously been involved with African universities since prior to day one?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, let me just share, I guess my first introduction was, in 1991, I was invited by a class seminary classmate to come to Zimbabwe, I was visiting South Africa in Zimbabwe for five weeks. And it was a big, big sign one of those roadside signs that you see billboards you would call it, it said, future side of African university right here. I was standing before that, and prayed when I went to Africa, that was my first time traveling Africa and 9091 have subsequently been been to Africa, multiple times since then, I kissed the ground because, for me, it was a religious and spiritual experience as an African American, living in the diaspora, if you will. And so for me, it was a dream, I had to go to Africa. And so being there and actually being there with a person who I considered a friend, a classmate, Elias Namo, Madeira. Was was a high point in my both in my ministry and in my life. But after university, I really was introduced in a more formal way through actually, Jim Sally, when I was a district superintendent in eastern Ohio conference. But what I really want to talk about, and particularly for our podcast listeners, is that it and several of my superintendents who were there, Brad, who were from Indiana, who had a chance to go to the celebration, thanks in large part to to Dr. Sally came back and said this something I've been saying. They said if there was only one reason they had, I'm testifying to what two of my superintendent said in our cabinet beat. If they only had one reason bread, and to be a United Methodist, African university would be enough. They said they only have one thing they could say for being an African American unit. Estes is unapologetically a United Methodist, yes related institution. They're not hiding from it. They embrace both the biblical and Christian witness related to African University. And I've said this, both privately and publicly. So I don't think people want to share this fat. I think it I think the celebration, which is still ongoing. It's still ongoing. Right. We haven't done it for a year, you ought to celebrate at least a year long. More than a year. I think it's been an underreported story. It was reported. I'm not gonna say it wasn't reported. But I think it's been an underreported story. 10,000 gyms correct me wrong, correct me. We've have over 10,000 graduates, I wrote a little book it hasn't got it's just starting to get a little. You get a little press called 10 reasons. I'm a Methodist. And I said, the reason I say 10 reasons I'm a Methodist is because my family began in the AME Zion Church in Montgomery, Alabama. And when my parents moved to Chicago bread, I think I've told you this story. Yes. I'm a middle child. I'm the fourth of six children. They went to the closest Methodist church you could walk to. And so it happened to be a Methodist Episcopal Church later merged and became a United Methodist Church. And so we just stayed. Both my father and mother were Methodist. They just stayed Methodists. And that's how I became united, United Methodist. But today, one of the reasons I have a lot more than 10 reasons I'm United Methodist. But one of those reasons is Africa University. And I believe we've have it correct me. Are there more than 10,000 graduates now from African University?James Salley:
11,000. More than 11,000?Brad Miller:
Wow, that's awesome. That is awesome.Bishop Julius Trimble:
And where are they? Jim? Can you just kind of give a persons who may not be familiar with African University, is now one of the preeminent universities on the continent of Africa. And fast becoming across the globe, one of the top universities. Where are these all of these graduates that we talk about?James Salley:
They are now in just about every country on the continent of Africa. To be exact, we can we can point to our graduates in 36 of the countries on the continent of Africa, making a difference. They are in China, they are in Australia, on the continent of Europe, in the US, North America, South America, all over the world making a difference. And that's the uniqueness of Africa University. And we say at Africa University, Africa happens every day.Bishop Julius Trimble:
And, you know, you know, when he mentioned the US, Indiana is one of the states in the United States. And and, Brad, I want you to know that we have two of our colleagues, clergy in serving in our conference who are graduates of Africa University.Brad Miller:
Yes. And one of those people I understand is the brother of one of our superintendents is now the new vice chancellor at Africa University. Is that correct?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, Sunita, who's on my cabin? He's got a graduate of Africa University, but his brother, Vice Chancellor Peter Magento. Again, yes, new vice Vice Chancellor. So actually, yeah, we do have we have several connections, that relationship there and that relationship as well. And I think one of the one of the most also, when I talked about underreported the fifth Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter magotteaux. well recognized scholar and leader who's originally from Kenya. Is is really gives gives gives broad notice to the fact that this is a Pan African pan, a university gym, which is that true is that is that also kind of brown groundbreaking as well.James Salley:
That is groundbreaking. Professor magotteaux is the first non Zimbabwean Vice Chancellor that we've had at Africa University. He's the fifth Vice Chancellor, the four persons that served in that position prior to him were all Zimbabweans. That is that speaks volume volumes to the country of Zimbabwe. And the fact that they welcome a non Zimbabwean to be what is now the premier institution of higher learning. In the country of Zimbabwe. We are number one ahead of the The University of Zimbabwe that's been around a long, long time has about 10,000 students. We have 3000 students at Africa University and 29 countries represented in our student body. We are who we are and what we are. Because of this next statistic 96%, retention and graduation rate, we would put that up against any college or university in the world. And our mission isBishop Julius Trimble:
to educate and you repeat those numbers again, make that amazing,James Salley:
amazing. 96% student retention, and graduation rate 96% of the students who come to us as freshmen, graduate, after four, and if they don't speak English after five years, because they do one year of intensive English, the average student at Africa University speaks five to seven languages.Bishop Julius Trimble:
Wow, wow. Wow, I have to hit that brand to some of my promotional materials, that were raising money for student scholarships. And those are two data points that I average student speaks five to seven languages, whichBrad Miller:
prepares him in so many ways to a world of world culture, not just just kind of making some assumptions here, but not just an African, may you. It is, you know, they're, they're prepared to go into the world. So what kind of things are the students that African University studying James, Jim, what are they studies that? Are there's a broad spectrum here, is it science is that the art is literature, is it religion, what kind of things are they study,James Salley:
we have 1500 courses that are offered at the university. It's a broad spectrum. We are, to a certain extent, proficient at liberal arts. Our first two faculties and courses were, of course, theology, and then agriculture. And we now have five colleges, and they are broken up into the areas of theology, natural sciences, social sciences, education. Last August, we started a law degree at Africa University. Again, our foundational and flagship college would be agriculture and health sciences. People need to be fed physically. So we have a form that is used as a laboratory for our students in agriculture and other students. We have 1546 acres of land given by the Zimbabwe annual conference to start Africa University. And so that was the first gift that was given the Zimbabwe annual conference. We offer horses that are relevant and necessary. For Africa. We believe that you should feed an individual solid food, but you should also feed them spiritual food. They should be ethically trained and should study ethics, Christian ethics 101 is a mandatory course. Our students take in their first year of study. If you are in the theology area, or our religion, school, then you must take agriculture. If you have a church, then you must know how to feed people physically And we think that makes a rounded individual if if they are in the theology area, and a lot of people, a lot of our students come to us enrolled in, for instance, the Institute peace and governance. And then later they find themselves in the Institute of Theology and Religious Studies. We believe, as Wesley believed that there is no action within the church unless the church is socially active, and is also feeding the individual, whole foods, whole foods we say at Africa University, is food for the soul, as well as food that nourishes the body. And we stand on that, yes, we stand on our mission to educate future leaders for the continent of Africa, and the world. So 1500 different courses are offered at this institution that prides itself with having the words a United Methodist related institution, as bishop Trumbull said earlier on its logo. And, and our logo also has the cross and the flame. Yes, EU will stay with the cross and the flame.Brad Miller:
Yes, was speaking of the cross and the flame and what you mentioned there about the impact of these graduates and and the feeding of the soul and the body and the mind and, and the implications and impact upon every aspect of society in Africa and beyond. Bishop, I'd be interested to hear your impressions, and how impressed you were about Africa University, the students and the faculty and the people there, as it relates to, to the church here in the States. I want to understand, what do you think why, what they're doing in African you matters to local UMC situation here in the States? Why does to us?Bishop Julius Trimble:
Well, when I think about our mission statement to make disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world, how can we transform the world if we're not engaged as world citizens? Africa University is a prime example of us doing that in real what I say in real time. And Jim, Jim, sadly, didn't talk about it. But it certainly can. African universities addressing global issues, particularly that of that, that face, the continent of Africa, sustainable food source, how do we address the hunger and feeding Sub Saharan Africa and addressing things like malaria. And if Jim could take a few minutes to talk about those two things, addressing the issue of sustainable food production, for for Africa, for southern Africa, and addressing the issue of killer disease that we've been addressing as a denomination, malaria African University is a leading institution in the world addressing both of those two issues.