Students from 44 Countries Receive Global Ministries Study Grants
By Elliott Wright
Plano, Texas, March 22, 2012—Two hundred and six students from 44 countries will receive leadership study grants totaling slightly more than a million dollars for the 2012-2013 academic year from The United Methodist Church's global mission agency.
The scholarships were approved by directors of the General Board of Global Ministries meeting March 19-22 at Christ United Methodist Church, Plano, Texas.
Of the grantees, 167 are international students, including 66 from Africa, 42 from Asia, 39 from Latin America, and 20 from Europe. In addition, 39 students are from communities of color in the United States. Global Ministries annually makes study awards for study programs in fields of benefit to church and society around the world and in the US.
There are 64 new students and 142 continuing students this year, according to the scholarship statistical report. The total of the new grants is $1,069,355.
This year, a large number of recipients are candidates for ordination or career in Christian education from countries where Methodism is fairly new and are termed "mission initiatives." There are eight students each from Cambodia and Laos, the first Global Ministries scholars from those Southeast Asian initiative countries. "All of these students have come up as Methodists," said the Rev. Jong Sung Kim, a mission executive for Asia. "This is very important because it means the mission-founded churches are producing their own leaders."
Grants for Theological Education
The students from Cambodia will be studying at the Methodist Bible College in Phnom Penh and those from Laos at Payao Bible College, an ecumenical school in Thailand. There are also eight recipients from Cameroon, another mission initiative country, and multiple awardees from students affiliated with the initiatives in Russia and Honduras.
Of the 206 grants, 115 went to men and 91 to women, while in most years it is a 50-50 gender ratio. The differential resulted from the large number of theological education grants to students from mission initiative countries, where men typically outnumber women in preparing for clergy status.
Another first in the new grants is an award to a member of the Dumagat (seafarers) indigenous community in the Sierra Madre Mountains of the Philippines. Lodema Doroteo, an educator, will be studying at the church-related Harris Memorial College in Manila. She is a member of the United Methodist Church in Rizal.
World Communion Scholars
A large part of the funds for Global Ministries' leadership grants come from the annual World Communion Offering and students funded through that source as designated "World Communion Scholars." Other funds come from endowments and the regular budget of the mission agency.
The scholarships for Cameroon, Cambodia, and Laos came from a special fund designated for theological students. A group of nine awards for theological study in Nigeria came from another endowment providing stipends for study at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria.
Four Areas of Focus
The Global Ministries study grants are given in four focus areas. Those areas and the 2012-2013 awards in each are:
- congregational development, $556,235
- leadership development, $223,550
- ministry with the poor, $142,000
- global health, $147,355.
Twenty-three of the 39 awardees from the US are African Americans, eight Latinos, seven Asian Americans, and one Native American.
Ten new students in Europe will be sponsored for three-year distance learning programs through the Methodist E-Academy based in Switzerland.