|Eleven women receive seminary scholarships|
By Vicki Brown*
June 9, 2008 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
The 11 scholars awarded the 2008-09 Georgia Harkness Scholarships will
visit Honduras in December as part of a continued program of global
women’s leadership development begun in 2007.
Last year, the scholars visited Honduras and El Salvador to immerse
themselves in the experience of women there and to share their own
determination to respond to God’s call to ordained ministry. Heather
Flaherty, a senior at United Methodist-related Candler School of
Theology and a part-time chaplain at Atlanta Union Mission Community
Ministries, found the trip and the women she met inspirational.
"One constant I found between the women in leadership roles in each
of the countries was what seemed to be a shared sense of assurance and
confidence. I found it remarkable that each of these women had found
their voice, their place, and were making great strides in local
churches to bring the message of God’s love," Flaherty said.
"The countries they grew up in are known for their machismo and
holding women to their place, but these women, for all intents and
purposes, seem to have broken through and found at least a small space
where they can find equal footing with their male counterparts," she
wrote of the trip.
The Rev. HiRho Park, director of continuing formation for ministry at
the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said the
members of the selection committee found choosing this year's recipients
difficult because all the applicants were highly qualified. The
recipients are chosen by a committee of United Methodist elders and
The Rev. HiRho Park
"We were also pleased to see an increase in the number of applicants
from the 13 United Methodist seminaries," Park said. The board increased
the number of recipients who will get the $5,000 a year scholarship
from 10 to 11 last year as part of its strategic plan for 2007-2012.
Passing the torch
Harkness, the first woman theologian to teach in a Protestant
seminary in the United States, dedicated her life to dismantling racial
and sexual discrimination in The United Methodist Church and the world.
She taught at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston,
Ill., and was instrumental in the 1956 decision giving women full-clergy
membership in The Methodist Church. She died in 1974.
The seminary scholarships are awarded to women over 35 who are
preparing for ordination as United Methodist elders as a second career.
The endowment for the Georgia Harkness Scholarship Program is now
more than $500,000, and the agency plans to increase that to $1 million
by 2012 in conjunction with the United Methodist Foundation for Higher
Education. Local churches will have opportunities to invite Georgia
Harkness scholars to speak about their faith journey as women leaders of
The scholarship recipients for 2008-2009, their schools, hometowns, churches and annual conferences are:
- Kimberly Ladish Burke, a student at Perkins School of Theology,
of San Marcos, Texas, is a licensed local pastor at Buda United
Methodist Church, Southwest Texas Annual Conference;
- Peggi Jo Eller, Drew University, is a member of First
United Methodist Church in Endicott, N.Y. She is a member of the Wyoming
- Meg Kerry Hegemann, Saint Paul School of Theology, of
Fulton, Mo., is a pastor, serving the two congregations of Riggs and
Sturgeon United Methodist churches, Missouri Annual Conference;
- Tonya Nicole Lawrence, Princeton Theological Seminary, of
Princeton, N.J., is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church, North
Georgia Annual Conference;
- Nancy Sophia Lynn, Garrett-Evangelical Theological
Seminary, of Evanston Ill., is a member of Chelsea First United
Methodist Church, Detroit Annual Conference;
- Genova McFadden, Gammon Theological Seminary, of Columbia,
S.C., is a member of St. John United Methodist Church, South Carolina
- Melissa Self Patrick, Candler School of Theology, of
Birmingham, Ala., is a member of Birmingham First United Methodist
Church, North Alabama Annual Conference;
- Dawn Marie Swartz, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, of
Ashley, Ohio, is a member of Kilbourne United Methodist Church, East
Ohio Annual Conference;
- Joan Susan Utley, Drew University Theological School, of
Huntington Station, N.Y., is a student pastor at the United Methodist
Church of Lake Ronkonkoma, Lake Grove, N.Y., New York Annual Conference;
- Kathy Lynn Williams, Saint Paul School of Theology, of
Emporia, Kan., is a pastoral assistant at Grace United Methodist Church,
Emporia, Kansas East Annual Conference;
- Sherry Cothran Woolsey, Vanderbilt Divinity School, of
Whites Creek, Tenn., is director of community ministries, West Nashville
United Methodist Church, Tennessee Annual Conference;
For more information about the Georgia Harkness Scholarship Program,
or to invite a Georgia Harkness scholar to speak at your church, visit www.gbhem.org/Harkness or contact the Rev. HiRho Park at (615) 340-7409.
*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
Eleven women receive seminary scholarships
Ten women receive seminary scholarships
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Georgia Harkness Scholarship Award
United Methodist Theological Schools
University Senate approved seminaries