2:00 P.M. EST April 7, 2010 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
Juan Silva credits a program coordinated by a United Methodist agency, with funding from local churches, for providing him with guidance and support— in addition to a $5,000 annual scholarship.
Silva is one of seven students in The Journey Toward Ordained Ministry who will graduate from seminary in 2010. The program is coordinated by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and funded by the World Communion Day offering received on the first Sunday in October.
“It feels as though God has brought us together to share with one another, to lift each other up, and to help each other heal in a broken world,” said Silva, who will graduate from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. “Besides the much needed financial assistance, I have been supported in my present and future ministry. ... It feels good to have someone in your corner.”
The students and mentors gathered in Nashville for a retreat March 25-27.
Laura Lopez-Silva, a member of Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio, will also graduate from Perkins School of Theology. She describes the Journey Toward Ordained Ministry as “an agent of change.”
“It nurtured and encouraged us in our path toward ordained ministry,” said Lopez-Silva. “I especially benefited from the speakers and the talks about the ordination process and pastoral ministry.”
Eduardo Carrillo, a student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, said the financial support provided by the scholarships was important, but added that he found reassurance in his call through his contact with a group of people who have the same questions he does, but still follow God’s call. He is a member of Saint James United Methodist Church in Ferrum, Va.
Other ethnic minority seminary students, their home church and their seminaries are:
The Rev. Saul Espino, director of retreats and specialized ministries support in the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said the program’s graduates are committed to the highest ideals of service to all the people of God.
“I am very proud of them. These superb young leaders will be the transforming agents both to their congregations and their communities,” Espino said.
The Journey Toward Ordained Ministry program annually provides $60,000 for scholarships for 12 racial-ethnic students pursuing ordination as deacons or elders.
More information about United Methodist loans and scholarships is available at www.gbhem.org/loansandscholarships. World Communion Sunday can be supported any time at www.umcgiving.org/worldcommunion.
*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.