Special Seminary Scholarships Help 450

Date Posted: 3/12/2012

Jiyeon Kim and William Williams, two of the 450 young adult seminarians who have received a Special Seminary Scholarship, said the money has helped them follow God’s call to ordained ministry.


William Williams, who finishes at the Theological School at Drew University this spring, said the extra funds from the scholarship have enabled him to focus on ministry and studies, as well as minimizing the amount of money he had to borrow.

“I’ve been a youth pastor at Clonmell United Methodist Church in Gibbstown, N.J., since I came to Drew. The scholarships allowed me to focus on ministry and not to have a lot of part-time jobs. I also had more time to study,” said Williams, who is a certified candidate on the elder track in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. While he received a scholarship from Drew to cover three-fourths of his tuition, Williams said he still needed money for the rest of his tuition, gas to drive to the church three times a week, books, and other expenses.


To learn about donating to the Special Seminary Scholarship Fund, e-mail umscholar@gbhem.org or call 615-340-7242.


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Office of Loans and Scholarships endowed a $2.25 million Special Seminary Scholarship Fund for United Methodist seminarians under age 30 attending one of the 13 UM seminaries. Since 2005, GBHEM has awarded $900,000 in scholarships to 450 young seminarians, said Allyson Collinsworth, director of the Office of Loans and Scholarship.


“The Special Seminary Scholarships are $2,000 per student. The fund has grown to the point that GBHEM can award $112,000 in scholarships each year, and if the Office of Loans and Scholarships received more money to invest in this fund, systems are in place to award higher dollar amounts to more seminarians,” Collinsworth said.


Jiyeon Kim, a third-year M.Div. student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., said she came to the U.S. more than two years ago with a serious aspiration to be “an influential female leader of the world.”

She said living as a single international student has been tough, and that insufficient funds was her greatest difficulty.


“In spite of deficient funds, my parents have never stopped supporting my decision mentally, spiritually, and financially. In the reality, however, the financial burden is always too much for my parents, even though they still devote themselves entirely to sustaining my studies. This year, thanks to the Special Seminary Scholarship, I could make up money that I was short of for my tuition. I really appreciate the support and help from the bottom of my heart,” Kim said.

A certified candidate of the Virginia Conference on the elder track, Kim said she truly believes God has led her to this point.


“I also believe that in order to fulfill what God is calling me to do and to response to the call, it can only be achieved by my ordination as an elder pastor,” said Kim, who has served Chesterbook United Methodist Church in McLean, Va., as a seminarian pastor since the fall of 2012. “My ministry has showed the obvious way that God wants me to go, and I am able to do, obey, and follow the calling.”

Collinsworth said the fund was originally endowed because GBHEM's Board of Directors and staff wanted to do as much as possible to help young adult seminarians graduate without a pressing burden of debt.


“We truly wish we had the funds to do more,” she said.


*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.


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