By Rev. Laura Alexander Elliott,
Ministry Education Funds (MEF) Coordinator
WNCC Board of Ordained Ministry
Just like education costs in general, tuition expenditures for attending seminary are ever on the increase for those pursuing ordained ministry as their vocation. Yet this fall, our WNCC certified clergy candidates enrolled in seminaries across the connection, received a little extra funding thanks to everyone who gave to the Special Offering designated for Ministry Education Funds (MEF) during Annual Conference last June.
This AC2017 Special Offering designated for MEF resulted in more than $15,000 being added to the WNCC coffers from which monies are distributed twice a year, in the Fall and Spring Semesters, to about 40 of our seminary students at nearly a dozen approved graduate institutions of higher learning. The schools include Duke Divinity School, Candler School of Theology @Emory University, Asbury Theological Seminary, Hood Theological Seminary, Boston University School of Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Union Presbyterian Seminary and Union’s Extension Location in Charlotte, and the Pfeiffer University, Wesley Theological Seminary and collaborative combination programs of Wesley-Pfeiffer.
The Special Offering collected provided an additional one-time supplement of $375 per seminary student for the current Fall semester; for full-time students, that was a nearly 20% increase over the normal funding provided, and for part-timers, a more than 35% increase. On behalf of these certified clergy candidates, seminary students, and our future ministry leaders of the Western N.C. Annual Conference of the UMC, the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Conference would like to extend our deep appreciation for such generosity on the part of this year’s Annual Conference Laity and Clergy Delegates, as well as family members and visitors, who made this MEF expansion possible.
We strive to provide as much financial support to students in seminary as possible so that when the time comes for them to stand before the Bishop and the Annual Conference and respond to the Historic Wesley Questions, they can answer the query about personal debt with as much integrity as possible!