Discipleship and Higher Education Boards Sell Jointly Owned Building

Kern building 72px
Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 16, 2021 /Discipleship Ministries/ – Property jointly owned by Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), two general agencies of The United Methodist Church, was sold today to Vanderbilt University.

The two agencies are delighted that an institution of higher education with a historic relationship with The United Methodist Church will continue to use the property. The sale includes the Kern Building, 1001 19th Avenue, South, and adjacent property, located near Vanderbilt’s campus in Nashville.

The boards of the two agencies believed that the timing was right because of the strong real estate market in Nashville, together with shifting office space needs in a COVID and post-COVID world. The agencies worked in coordination with the General Council on Finance & Administration to complete the sale.

Jeff Campbell, Acting General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, said, “We give thanks for the wonderful ministries accomplished over the years in the Kern space and we look forward to the ways in which the proceeds from this sale will support the missions of both agencies.” Bishop Mark J. Webb of The Upper New York Conference and board president of Discipleship Ministries added, “As our mission remains constant, strategies and methods change. The proceeds from this sale will provide valuable resources for critical initiatives into the future that will support congregations and leaders in the task of equipping world changing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

The property had been jointly owned by the two agencies since 1950. GBHEM will temporarily lease space in the Kern Building from Vanderbilt while staff prepare to move across Grand Avenue to the Denman Building, where Discipleship Ministries offices are located. “Our agencies have historically worked in close proximity to one another and as GBHEM moves across the street we will continue to seek opportunities for future collaboration,” Campbell said.

Africa University, founded by The United Methodist Church, has operated its development office out of the Kern building since 1992. “We are blessed to have had the opportunity to do work in line with our mission for nearly 30 years. We look forward to what the future of AUDO will be as it also moves to shared space at Discipleship Ministries and transforms what we can accomplish for our constituents” noted James Salley, Associate Vice Chancellor, Africa University.

Greg Bergquist, General Secretary at GBHEM added, “The Kern property has served our global missions and ministries exceedingly well. With an eye toward the future, and our commitment to being a more agile agency, it made sense to move toward a hybrid model where staff can embrace the adaptive opportunities of remote work while sharing collaboration space for maximizing team engagement. The timing and circumstances of this sale are well aligned, given our transformation as an organization.” Bishop William T. McAlilly, president of GBHEM board of directors and bishop of UMC’s Nashville Episcopal Area, offered, “We stand on the shoulders of those whose vision served the mission of the people called Methodists well. We now step into a new future which is adaptive and nimble, investing deeply in transformational leadership that is inspired, connected, rooted, and agile in response to the new thing that God is doing among us in both the church and the academy.”

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Discipleship Ministries supports annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, TN. For more information, visit us at UMCdiscipleship.org.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry embraces the ministry of learning and leadership formation in The United Methodist Church and Wesleyan tradition; serving Christians around the world who are shaped by a process of intellectual engagement, spiritual and character formation, and leadership development. We cultivate a dynamic culture of call and vocational discernment that encourages lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in God’s ministry and mission for the Church, the academy and the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.