BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA—The Francis Asbury Award for fostering United Methodist Ministries in Higher Education was awarded to President Amy Novak, Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the church’s ministries in higher education at the local, district or annual conference level of the church. The award is named for Bishop Asbury and is based on his admonition to the people called Methodist to erect a school in the vicinity of every church. The Asbury award is administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Photo (above): Bishop Bruce R. Ough congratulates Dr. Amy Novak, president of Dakota Wesleyan University on receiving the Francis Asbury award. Photo by jlynn studios.
The 24th session of the Dakotas Annual Conference bestowed awards for growth in professions of faith, ministry of social justice to others, reaching out to young adults and youth and evangelistic efforts to make new disciples. Awards were distributed at the 24th Session of the Dakotas Annual Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, June 8-10.
Reverend Justin Iverson, pastor at Arthur UMC in North Dakota and chair of the young adult ministry subcommittee, presented the award with the following comments:
About six year ago, conversations and dreams began to emerge from the campus pastor and the local First United Methodist Church to start a new worshipping congregation that would reside on the college campus. President Novak was incredibly supportive of this creative and innovative new church start—Fusion Church, on the campus. Her guidance, support, and wisdom were integral to a successful launch. Even as the church went through subsequent pastoral and campus ministry leadership change, Novak has remained committed through time, leadership and resources, to making this collaboration a success.
Additionally, because of her leadership, Dakota Wesleyan is investing in future United Methodist pastoral leadership by funding internships at Fusion for DWU students. This is a tremendous gift to students, to the congregation and to the denomination.
Novak embodies a true Methodist passion for service and helping others. This is most recently seen through the launching of the Great Wesleyan Giveback—a day of service in which students, faculty, staff and Fusion congregation members reach out and bless the Mitchell community.
President Novak follows in the footsteps of John Wesley and Francis Asbury, pioneering and executing new and creative ways to lead DWU into the 21st century of UM higher education and to develop leaders who are grounded in faith and service. She encourages Christian leadership faculty and student ministry staff to work with seminaries and General church agencies to develop partnerships that will better develop Christian leaders during their years at Wesleyan.
Novak is noted for having a gift for being able to see the trends in higher education. She is highly adaptable. She not only puts and keeps DWU on the map and at the forefront of a number of new educational initiatives, she also seeks to do that through faith development and spiritual leadership training initiatives.
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, resident Bishop for the Dakotas-Minnesota area, said this about Novak receiving the Francis Asbury award. “I could not be more delighted that President Novak received this award. It is well deserved. We are grateful for the leadership and spirit that Amy provides to DWU. We hope that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide Amy and the entire campus as they continue to live out its gospel mandate to educate young people and call them into deeper faith.”