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Communications agency offers religious journalism scholarships

11/4/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist students interested in religious journalism careers have until March to apply for scholarships from the denomination's communications agency.

United Methodist Communications offers scholarships and fellowships annually to students interested in religious communications. The Nashville, Tenn.-based agency is providing scholarships specifically for United Methodists to help meet the need for trained communicators in the church. In addition, the agency is offering its seventh mentoring experience to address the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in annual conference communications.

The $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship will help a graduate student pursuing a career in religious journalism study at an accredited graduate school or department of journalism. The agency also will award a $2,500 Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for an ethnic minority student. This scholarship assists ethnic minority college students who will be juniors or seniors and are planning careers in print journalism, public relations and marketing or in audiovisual or electronic communications.

The Stoody-West Fellowship honors the Rev. Arthur West and the late Rev. Ralph Stoody, who were staff executives of United Methodist Communications or one of its predecessor agencies.

The Perryman scholarship honors the late Leonard Perryman, a journalist for the United Methodist Church for more than 30 years.

The $30,000 Judith L. Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority Fellowship is a full-time, salaried fellowship given to a United Methodist and recent college or seminary graduate for a 12-month period beginning July 1 to work in church communications.

The fellowship offers hands-on experience and mentoring in annual conference communications. It is aimed at building communications leaders of racial and ethnic minority background in the United Methodist Church. The fellowship, named for the former United Methodist Communications top executive, began in 1998.

The scholarship and fellowships provide opportunities for students with communications backgrounds to enhance their skills and pursue religious communications as a career option, according to Amelia Tucker-Shaw, a consultant in the agency's Communications Resourcing Team. "Because mass communications departments at colleges and universities don't separate a special curriculum focus for religious communications, UMCom recognizes the need to provide a link between secular journalism and religion communications."

Application deadlines for the Stoody-West and Perryman scholarships as well as the Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority Fellowship is March 15.

Details on the annual awards and applications can be found at the agency's Web site, More information and applications for the racial ethnic minority fellowship are available by visiting or calling Tucker-Shaw, scholarship and fellowship coordinator, (888) 278-4862.

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