From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Five religious journalism students receive scholarships

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 24 Apr 2000 13:33:18

April 24, 2000 News media contact: Linda Green·(615)742-5470·Nashville,
Tenn. 10-71B{222}

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- Five students pursuing careers in religious
journalism have received scholarships from United Methodist Communications
(UMCom) for the 2000-2001 academic year.

The churchwide communications agency offers two awards annually: a
Stoody-West Fellowship for graduate students and a Leonard Perryman
Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students. 

This year, the $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship was awarded to two students
pursuing careers in religious journalism at an accredited graduate school or
department of journalism and a runner-up received $3,000 in graduate
assistance.  Two students were each awarded the $2,500 Perryman Scholarship
that assists ethnic minority juniors or seniors planning careers in

The Stoody-West Fellowship honors the Rev. Arthur West and the late Rev.
Ralph Stoody, who were staff executives of UMCom or one of its predecessor
Leonard Perryman was a journalist for the United Methodist Church for more
than 30 years before his death in 1983.

"My call as a communicator is to creatively articulate stories of faith
while at the same time, maintaining the heritage of our denomination," said
Faith Fairchild Colburn, a recipient of the Stoody-West Fellowship. She is
currently employed as a communications specialist in the West Ohio Annual
Conference where she designs and coordinates traditional and non-traditional
communication tools.

A member of Maple Grove United Methodist Church, Columbus, Ohio, she will
attend Wesley Theological School in Washington this fall in order to "form
mature, creative and critical understandings of the Scriptures." She said
seminary would provide her with greater knowledge of United Methodist polity
and the Wesleyan heritage. "I plan to take three years of seminary and
deepen my understanding of the Gospel and our United Methodist
denomination," she said.

Christina Marie Simon, the other Stoody-West recipient, will be a student at
the Medill Graduate School of Journalism at Northwestern University,
Evanston, Ill., in June.  She is editor-in-chief of the University Crescent,
the weekly student newspaper at the University of Evansville, Evansville,
Ind., from which she will receive a mass communications degree May 6.

Her goal after journalism school is to work as an editor of a Christian
magazine. "God's work in my life has been particularly visible in the doors
He's opened for me. . .in the Christian publishing industry," she said. 

Having contributed articles and reviews for some national Christian
magazines for a number of years, Simon said an internship with a publishing
company was a highlight of her journalistic experience.  "I've found my true
calling in life," she said,  "and it's a calling that accompanies me
wherever I go." She is a member of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod,
Belleville, Ill.

Rebecca Joy Laird, an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and
collaborator with the Rev. Cecil Williams of No Hiding Place, a 1992 book
about Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, San Francisco, is the
runner-up for the Stoody-West Fellowship. She will receive $3,000 to assist
in her plans to attend Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism,
New York.

Residing in Madison, N.J., Laird attends Morristown United Methodist Church
and has spent the last eight years as a publishing consultant and freelance
editor for a variety of companies and non-profit organizations. She is
currently the journal editor of an interfaith organization and has written
workbooks and devotionals for Abingdon, the imprint of the United Methodist
Publishing House.

"The time has come to deepen my analytical understanding of the role of
religion and media in public life and to upgrade my grasp as the new
technologies forever alter the media landscape," she said.  It is her belief
that attending Columbia will "enable me to better serve the church as a
chronicler, scribe, and editor, as well as prepare me to mentor and train a
new generation of religious journalist who will carry the good news into the

The Perryman scholarships were awarded to Juliana Maria da Silva and Lori
Candice Spradley.

Da Silva, a native of Nilopolis, Brazil, is a senior mass communications
major at Rust College, Holly Springs, Miss., and member of Asbury United
Methodist Church. The multilingual student (English, Spanish and Portuguese)
aspires to be a religion marketing communications specialist for both print
and broadcast media. She plans to attend a graduate school for a program in

"I see my career in religious communications as marriage of the training I
have and the talents God has given me," da Silva said. The role of
communicators, she said, is to "deliver the message and do it in very
positive ways, always putting God's principles as guidance."

Spradley, a junior communications major at Dillard University, New Orleans,
plans to pursue a master's degree in broadcast journalism at the University
of Georgia in Athens, Ga. 

A member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mobile, Ala.,
Spradley is planning for a career in religious television.  "As a reporter,
I want my viewers to know that there is salvation and that all they have to
do is pray and let Jesus into their hearts," she said.

Knowing that she will be called upon to carefully disseminate truth and
knowledge, she believes that "as a Christian woman of God, it is my duty to
spread the word of God to as many people as I can."

For more information on UMCom's annual awards or for applications, visit the
agency's Web site at or call Jackie
Vaughan, scholarship administrator, at (615) 742-5140.

# # #

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