Before Rev. Dr. John-Howard Wesley preached his sermon at Howard University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Feb. 3, he made a major presentation before students and worshipers.
Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church, presented an oversized check of $100,000 for the university’s “gap scholarship” to cover unpaid balances for 34 graduating seniors. Individual debt among the students ranged from $3,000 to $10,000.
The donated funds were from a “love offering” given by parishioners at the conclusion of a monthlong fasting and cleansing process, in which half of the church’s 8,000 parishioners participated.
“We are happy to sow this money into Howard University so that these seniors can graduate and walk across the stage in May,” Wesley said.
Wesley also announced that an additional $50,000 was donated to Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. The institution risked losing its accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, citing financial instability after being on probation for two years.
Bennett College needed to raise $5 million by Feb. 1 to avoid losing its accreditation. The donation from Alfred St. was the largest given to Bennett College by a church.
“We made a commitment that everything we raised would go outside the doors of the church to transform lives as God directed us,” Wesley said. “We have a commitment to our HBCUs and we refuse to let Bennett close its doors.”