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Communicators receive new Helping Hand scholarships

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Carmelia L. Matias won a Helping Hand Scholarship from UMAC.
Oct. 18, 2005

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) — Chrystal P. Henderson and Carmelia L. Matias were honored as the first recipients of the Helping Hand Scholarship awarded by the United Methodist Association of Communicators during the group’s annual meeting Oct 13-15.

The two scholarships, one for a representative from the central conferences — areas of the church in Africa, Asia and Europe — and one for a young adult within the United States, are intended to allow recipients an up-close and personal look at theological and practical perspectives of communications in the church. The scholarships are named in honor of past UMAC president Dawn Hand, director of communications for the denomination’s Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference and UMAC’s 2004 Communicator of the Year.

Henderson is communications coordinator for Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Ala., and Birmingham-East District communications coordinator. She is also a freelance artist and designer.

Matias is executive secretary of the Philippines Central Conference’s Board of Christian Education and Communications. She is managing editor of The Filipino Methodist, oversees production of church school materials, works in the training program for Sunday school teachers and provides Christian education program/direction for local churches.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Chrystal P. Henderson, Birmingham, Ala., won a Helping Hand Scholarship from UMAC.
Henderson, who received a $1,000 scholarship, said she the funds will help her “remain focused on (the) call to ministry, develop relationships with other communicators, increase knowledge of resources available from other local churches and United Methodist church agencies, and develop a local church communications network with (the) district to serve the needs of the local church for resource and education.”

Matias, who received a $2,000 scholarship, said she would use her experience from UMAC to “improve our communication/publication program in the board. Our board is serving three episcopal areas with 21 annual conferences and about 1,500 local churches in the country.”

The Helping Hand Scholarship promotes commitment and excellence by helping a United Methodist communicator become connected with more than 200 professional general agency, conference, district and local church communicators, said Carolyn Dandridge, chairperson of the scholarship committee. It also provides an opportunity to develop partnerships and relationships to enhance their communications ministry within the United Methodist Church.

Criteria for applying for the scholarships are: United Methodist Church commitment and involvement in the communications ministry within a conference, district or local church; involvement with the communications ministry as evident through the application and letters of reference; and evidence of experience and/or talent in religion communications. Applicants must demonstrate how the UMAC experience will enhance their communications ministry and provide commentary on a commitment to continue the relationship with UMAC.

Application deadline for the next scholarship is July 3. Winners will be announced Sept. 10 and scholarships awarded to enable attendance at the UMAC annual meeting. For more information online and to begin the application process, go to the UMAC Web site,

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

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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