From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Scholarship designated for new generation of Christian leaders
29 Oct 1998 12:58:50
Oct. 29, 1998 Contact: Linda Green*(615)742-5470*Nashville, Tenn.
By Kathy Gilbert*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The new "Gift of Hope: 21st Century Scholars"
program unveiled by the United Methodist Church has a goal that goes
beyond paying for student tuition.
The overriding thought in forming the program was to prepare a new
generation of Christian leaders for the church, according to Aubrey
Lucas, president emeritus of the University of Southern Mississippi and
chair of the Office of Loans and Scholarships advisory team.
"We are looking at what students have done in their local churches and
on their college campuses," he said. "We are not just going to be
looking at grade point averages; we are looking for students who are on
the road to leadership."
The four-year, $4 million special scholarship program is intended to
provide $1,000 scholarship awards to 1,000 United Methodist students
each year through the churchwide Board of Higher Education and Ministry
's Office of Loans and Scholarships. The board approved the initiative
at its annual meeting, Oct. 6-10.
The new scholarship program will help United Methodist students
attending any regionally accredited academic institution in the United
States. Most of the other scholarships offered by the board are
earmarked for United Methodist students attending United
"These scholarships are for 'ordinary' students, not just those going
into ordained ministry but those who are going to provide leadership for
the church as lay members," said the Rev. Karen Engle Layman, senior
pastor of Allison United Methodist Church in Carlisle, Pa., and vice
chair of the Office of Loans and Scholarships advisory committee.
Lucas said the advisory committee recognized that many United Methodist
students are attending public universities and other private
"We want to stay in touch with our members who are on non-United
Methodist-related campuses (and) who are active in their Wesley
Foundations," Lucas said.
In addition to the new scholarship program, the Office of Loans and
Scholarships will also increase the annual maximum loan amount to
$2,500, and the repayment period will be expanded to 10 years.
"For 130 years, this agency has remained faithful to Jesus' call to 'go
and teach,' " said Angella Current, staff executive for the Office of
Loans and Scholarships. "United Methodists' commitment to students and
belief in education for lay and clergy alike has been reaffirmed by our
directors through this new program that will help prepare a new
generation of United Methodist church leaders as they seek to improve
the quality of life for others throughout the world, our church and our
This new program, along with scholarships provided by the United
Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education, will enable the
board to increase the number of scholarships awarded annually from 2,555
students and $2.5 million to 3,500 students and $4.5 million for the
1999-2000 through 2003 academic years, Current said.
Because of the board's investment strategies, loan policies and
management principles, the Office of Loans and Scholarships has
accumulated money within the student loan fund to finance the
scholarship program and the increase in amounts students may borrow,
Preference will be given to students attending United Methodist-related
seminaries and theological schools. Awards will be granted annually, and
students may reapply each year.
Applications for the new scholarships will be available beginning in
January. A committee composed of elected members from the board will
review the applications and select recipients at the end of June.
A student applying for "The Gift of Hope: 21st Century Scholars" program
* be a full, active member of The United Methodist Church for at least
three years prior to applying;
* demonstrate leadership in the United Methodist Church;
* show how his or her education will provide leadership for the church
and society and improve the quality of life of others;
* be a citizen, a permanent U.S. resident, or a member of the central
* be in a full-time degree program at a regionally accredited
educational institution in the United States. Applicants pursuing a
M.Div. degree must be attending a seminary approved by the United
Methodist Church's University Senate. Preference will be given to
students attending United Methodist-related seminaries and theological
Students from the central conferences must be enrolled at a United
Methodist-related institution in the United States and provide a letter
of recommendation from the president of the United Methodist-related
school where they are enrolled.
Applicants may be undergraduate or graduate students. Cumulative grade
point average of 3.0 for undergraduate students and 3.5 for graduate
students on a 4.0 scale are expected.
Financial need will be considered when awarding the scholarships. The
deadline for applying is June 1.
The United Methodist loan and scholarship funds date back to the 1860s,
when the first Children's Education Fund was started. The first Board of
Education was formed in 1868, and the first $300 loan was made to a
student from India pursuing a degree at Drew University in 1873.
Other members of the Office of Loans and Scholarships advisory team are
J. Rose McLean; David Wilson; Jeffry Bross and Stephen Good.
For more information, visit the office's Internet site at
http://www.gbhem.org/loans.html; write to the Office of Loans and
Scholarships, P.O. Box 871, Nashville, TN 37202; call (615) 340-7344
(scholarships) or (615) 340-7346 (loans); or send a fax to (615)
# # #
*Gilbert is a staff member in the Office of Interpretation at the United
Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
United Methodist News Service
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