Churches partnering with Duke Divinity School to limit clergy debt have raised more than $100,000 for student scholarships, an increase of more than 50% over the 2016-17 year.
The 64 churches, located across the U.S. and three international locations, are part of the school’s “Celebrating God’s Call” program to expand student scholarships. The program asks all Master of Divinity students to encourage their home congregations to support them with prayers and financial assistance. [See list of partner churches (pdf).]
The program is part of a larger initiative funded by a Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant to address economic issues facing future ministers. Personal financial pressures are limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of many clergy members, according to the initiative, which encourages theological schools to work to improve the financial well-being of future pastors.
“Through the grant from the Lilly Endowment, Duke Divinity School is focusing strategically on the economic challenges facing students and future ministers,” said the Rev. Rhonda Parker, senior director of ministerial formation and student life at the school. “We are especially grateful for churches who partner with us by participating in Celebrating God’s Call. The church’s participation affirms the value of Duke Divinity's academic rigor and commitment to the church in the formation of future Christian leaders.”