Members of First United Methodist Church of Kosciusko believe, if a project is important to Rev. Byrd and Sarah Hillman, it should be important to them.
“Byrd and Sarah have been a part of this body of Christ for some time and this church family loves them dearly,” said Rev. Scott Wright, pastor of Kosciusko FUMC. “They are an amazing couple and love the Lord and His Methodist church through and through. This church family knows that and reciprocates that love. It is because of their example early on in our conference relationship with Africa University that we know and understand the importance of the work they does. I think we believe that if it is important to Byrd and Sarah, it’s important to us!”
Over a year ago, the Starkville District of the United Methodist Church established an Africa University endowment in honor of Rev. Byrd and Sarah Hillman, with the goal of raising $130,000 over a three-year period. On Dec. 28, 2016, Sarah Hillman passed away, and churches throughout the district are sending memorials for the Africa University Scholarship program in remembrance of the passion this lady had for this mission.
Rev. Dr. Embra Jackson, Starkville District Superintendent, said the idea to name the Africa University Scholarship after the Hillmans was discussed at the Clergy Picnic last summer.
“We wanted to have a means to honor two persons for their many years of service in ministry in the Mississippi Annual Conference in general and in the Starkville District, specifically,” Jackson said. “The members of Kosciusko First Church have agreed to spear-head this effort on our behalf. They will assist us, through various means, to secure these funds.”
Rev. Wright said Kosciusko FUMC said, like many churches, are struggling financially.
“But we have chosen to lead by example and are raising funds to give toward our district and conference goal,” Wright said. “We challenge and even dare other churches to do what we are doing! How powerful it could be if every church raised $1,000 in support of this mission? Education is key. With education, love and a heart for the Lord, we can change the world!”
Peggy Keady said she first met Rev. Byrd and Sarah Hillman when she moved to Kosciusko in 1994 from Brunswick, Ga. and soon joined Kosciusko First United Methodist Church.
“During my years in this church family, I have had many times of fellowship with them as well as opportunities to observe them in ministry,” Keady said. “Their love and care for each other and for their son, John Robert, is deeply inspiring. They are both very approachable and down to earth. There is a dignity and sweet presence about them.”
Keady is helping Kosciusko FUMC to raise money for the Byrd and Sarah Hillman Scholarship to Africa University.
“Byrd and Sarah have had a long and productive ministry in the United Methodist Church serving in pastorates, in administration, as delegates to various levels of the Conference, and as leaders on various boards in the UMC,” Keady said. “One of their special interests has been Africa University so choosing to support this mission in their name is a fitting tribute to their outstanding life of ministry in the United Methodist Church.”
To make a contribution to the Byrd and Sarah Hillman Scholarship to Africa University in memory of Sarah Hillman, please contact the District Office at (662) 323-0198.
See this story in the January 13, 2017 edition of The Starkville District Newsletter at 1-13-17-newsletter