Claflin University’s campus is bustling with youthful energy this week, as more than 300 youth from across the Southeast participate in Harambee, a United Methodist youth leadership conference sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the Black Methodist for Church Renewal, Inc. The students, who arrived on campus Wednesday, are fully immersed in campus life at Claflin, residing in the residence halls, attending workshops and participating in activities across campus.
“The doors are always open for our youth here at Claflin University,” Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said in his welcome address to the conference participants. “Claflin is about training the next generation of visionary global, ethical leaders.”
The four-day conference centers around the word Harambee meaning, “Let’s pull together.” According to BMCR, The event is held every other year and it is a celebration of gifts, talents and willing hearts of United Methodist youth. The event also aims to help youth and young adults understand BMCR’s history, purpose, and focus on equipping and supporting Christian youth. This year’s theme is “Souled out for Christ, Destined for Greatness.”
“These students can achieve God-sized greatness,” said Bishop Jonathan Holson, Bishop for the S.C. General Conference of the United Methodist Church. “The church needs all of you” he said. National BMCR Youth Harambee features music, drama, dancing, workshops, prayer, Bible study, talent shows, skits, games, mission work, youth-led worship services and activities, and much more. The participants learn leadership qualities that help them become better students and better Christians in a fun, no-pressure, relaxing way.
Claflin University has been affiliated and supported by the United Methodist Church since its founding. It is one of 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationally supported by the Church and the only UMC-affiliated HBCU in South Carolina. Other contributors and sponsors of Harambee include Africa University, The Black College Fund, United Methodist Church Communications and the General Board of Discipleship’s Young People’s Ministries.