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UMCom scholarships enable telling church’s story

 


UMCom scholarships enable telling church’s story

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Jenielle Wong

April 28, 2005

By Linda Green*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—Two students interested in journalism careers will receive aid through United Methodist Communications scholarship programs in the coming academic year.

Jenielle K. Wong, a junior at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., was named winner of the Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students. The scholarship provides $2,500 to an ethnic minority junior or senior pursuing a career in journalism. The late Leonard Perryman was a journalist for the United Methodist Church for more than 30 years.

The Rev. Luther J. Oconer, a doctoral student at United Methodist-related Drew University in Madison, N.J., will receive a $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship. The Stoody-West Fellowship was named for the late Rev. Arthur West of Lebanon, Ohio, and the late Rev. Ralph Stoody, who were staff executives of UMCom or a predecessor agency.

The Commission on Communication’s scholarship committee chose the winners from six Stoody-West applicants and a Perryman applicant during its April 12 meeting. The commission oversees UMCom. All of the scholarships are for the 2005-06 year and are awarded on a one-time basis.

“Both the undergraduate scholarship and the graduate fellowship for communications students are important because the church needs to continue to help nurture and develop strong religion communicators to tell the stories of the impact of our Lord and Savior in profound and life-changing ways,” said Amelia Tucker-Shaw, resource consultant at United Methodist Communications.

“Without the religion communicator, how will we continue to make disciples for Jesus Christ and continue to tell the historical stories of how God sent His beloved son for the tsunamis, the unchurched and those seeking to know God?” she asked.

Wong, a native of Castro Valley, Calif., and member of Chinese Community United Methodist Church in Oakland, Calif., is a communication major and serves on the executive board for two professional student organizations. She is district director of the Lodi region for Brian Hurricane, a Michigan-based company that offers supplemental educational resources to underprivileged children in the Stockton and Lodi areas.

“I am honored to be the recipient of the Perryman scholarship,” she said. Being supported by such a “worthy cause as the United Methodist Church is wonderful,” she added. 

She wants to use her communications skills in working with children. “I feel that God has blessed me with effective communications skills, and I hope to use these as a director for an educational institution for children. Wherever God leads me next, the basis of communication will always be rooted in my religion.”

Oconer, who was ordained in 2004, says receiving the Stoody-West Fellowship will help him with his goal of rehabilitating the Methodist Publishing House in Manila when he receives his doctorate degree. A student at Drew University, Oconer is from Sta. Maria Village II in Balibago.

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Luther Oconer

He wants to combine his journalism experience with his Wesleyan and Methodist studies “to write relevant … materials to help inform and educate the United Methodist Church in the Philippines.” He is redesigning his Website at www.philmethodist.com into a Filipino Methodist Internet news magazine, which he said could lead to the creation of a Filipino Methodist News Service, similar to United Methodist News Service.

“I have high hopes for our church in the Philippines. It is important for communications and publications—print and Web—to inform people there,” Oconer said in his application. He lamented that “Methodist publishing work in the country has been (in) a sorry state, and I hope to take an active role in the rehabilitation of this effort in the coming years.”

More information on UMCom scholarships is available by contacting Tucker-Shaw, at (888) 278-4862, or by visiting UMCom’s Web site at www.umcom.org.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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