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Decatur First United Methodist creating scholarship fund in honor of John Lewis

Decatur Metro ATL

Decatur First United Methodist creating scholarship fund in honor of John Lewis

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. John Lewis talks about education and his namesake schooL. An Atlanta school, John Lewis Invictus Academy, has been named after the longtime congressman and civil-rights icon. BRYN MCCARTHY / WABE


Decatur, GA — Decatur First United Methodist Church is creating a scholarship fund in honor of the late Rep. John Lewis.

“We are all indebted to the leadership, decades of public service, and good trouble of Congressman John Lewis,” Rev. Dalton T. Rushing said in an email to Decaturish. “Honoring his legacy, Decatur First UMC plans to endow a scholarship to support the participants of the African American Male Initiative at Georgia State University. Decatur First invites others to join in honoring the life and work of John Lewis by supporting the development of tomorrow’s civic leaders. Donors can give online at this link by selecting the John Lewis Memorial Scholarship Endowment’ fund or by mailing a check to Decatur First United Methodist Church, 300 East Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030 and marking your check ‘John Lewis Scholarship.'”

Here is an email Rushing sent to the Decatur First UMC community:

Dear Decatur First UMC,

Like you, I grieve the passing of Congressman John Lewis, who represented the area surrounding Decatur First UMC and who–most importantly–was a genuine American hero. A committed Christian and ordained pastor, John Lewis called us to care for the most vulnerable among us and to remember that all people are made in God’s image.

As United Methodists and followers of Jesus, we believe that our faith must be expressed in action. Your church council has been in discussion this week about how to best honor Rep. Lewis, as we also continue to discern the ways that God is calling us to do the work of anti-racism in Decatur and beyond. I want you to know just what a strong church council you have, Decatur First. They take so seriously the work of guiding God’s holy church, as they also live out our shared faith in tangible ways. I am excited to announce one specific way in which they are challenging all of us in living out our faith in Jesus.

Yesterday, your church council approved plans to endow a scholarship in support of the participants of the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) at Georgia State UniversityThe African American Male Initiative encourages students to achieve academic and personal excellence so that they may become leaders in their families and communities. Ultimately, the initiative is designed to increase the number of African American male students who persist through school and earn a college degree. The program addresses “extensive gaps in postsecondary attainment between African-American men and peer groups of African-American women and other student populations,” and it has had remarkable success in Georgia since its inception in 2003.

I am so proud of your lay leadership for establishing this scholarship. Stacey and I are honored to have contributed the first $1000 to this worthy effort (in addition to our tithe), and I want to invite you to join us. You can give online at this link by selecting the “John Lewis Memorial Scholarship Endowment” fund or by mailing a check to Decatur First United Methodist Church, 300 East Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030 and marking your check “John Lewis Scholarship.”

As always dear, friends, it is an honor to serve alongside you. And I am so grateful to join you in this specific work, for it is of God.



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