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Calling All Scholars

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Donations to the fund may be mailed to First United Methodist Church, 264 North Main Street, Rutherfordton, 28139. When sending a check, please add "Diversity Scholarship" to the memo line.

Rutherfordton's First United Methodist Church is launching a new scholarship fund. Several hundred dollars have been raised already.

"Any time you can help somebody with an education it feels great," Anne Hardy, who is part of the group pushing the fund, said.

With undergraduate degrees in both industrial engineering and business management from N.C. State, Hardy is passionate about the value of a good education.

She works for the Appalachian Regional Commission at Isothermal Community College.

The scholarship sponsors were inspired by their young adult class reading Kingdom Come, a book by Reggie McNeal, which advocates moving beyond the church walls to be in service to the community. The subtitle of the book is Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church--and What We Should Do Instead.

McNeal argues that the New Testament references to the word, "church," and there are only three, are not references to a building or an institution, but rather an assembly of people.

An assembly of people to do what?

Service is at the top of McNeal's list.

McNeal says of the teachings of Jesus, "He calls us to meeting the needs of others and alleviating the suffering and pain that is naturally part of living in a broken world."

Tami Myslinski, another member of the group supporting the scholarship, is a teacher at R.S. Central and therefore, "an advocate for education. We have young people in need, and we can help."

She got her undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and her masters from Gardner-Webb. She's been a member of the church for 19 years.

Rev. In-Yong Lee is the minister of the church and supports the effort to create and fund the scholarship.

Rev. Lee said, "I am very happy to see young Christians mobilize themselves to help the community, especially minority youth with their education. They know that they are called by God, by Christ, to love their neighbors and they are also aware that the minority students are disproportionately disadvantaged from enjoying the opportunities and resources that are available. These young people are acting to live their faith out."

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