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Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences

Forming Trusted Community Leaders in the Central Conferences 

Leaders in a worldwide church: The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Living out this mission is not possible without the tens of thousands of clergy who have dedicated their lives to the Church. They provide the link to our 12 million members, equipping them to live out God’s mission in the world.

In order to minister effectively through local churches to the community, our clergy must be provided with the necessary tools and resources through education in the Wesleyan tradition.  Theological education prepares clergy to be leaders who are trusted in the community and able to address the spiritual, social and economic needs of our world. 

“It is the work of God if someone decides to follow Jesus Christ. But we, disciples, are there to call them and accompany them and to incorporate them. We work together with God in saving people and changing the world.”  Donat Samuel Gyurko, pastor from Hungary

 

Theological education in the Central Conferences: Nowhere is the need for theological education or the potential for making an impact greater than in the regions where our Church is growing rapidly--the Central Conferences. There are more than 12,000 clergy and 5,000,000 professing members throughout the Central Conferences.

Despite their many responsibilities and our Church’s rapid growth in the Central Conferences, our clergy and would-be clergy in these regions often do not receive adequate theological education to prepare them for the diverse nature of their ministry. Some of the major barriers to obtaining education include:

  • Seminaries are too far away or too expensive
  • Seminaries struggle to find well trained professors and to offer library resources in needed languages
  • Courses of Study for initial and continuing education need to be developed
  • Scholarships are needed for initial and post-graduate studies

Finding Solutions: A short-term solution for theological education in the Central Conferences was approved at 2012 General Conference, resulting in The Commission on Central Conference Theological Education Fund. Projects supported by the Fund illustrate both the need and impact of supporting theological education in the Central Conferences. Learn more here: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/grants-boost-theological-education-in-central-conferences

Our opportunity: At present, support for theological education in Central Conferences is dependent on the decisions of each General Conference and limited to a quadrennium. The challenge is long-term sustainability. To continue this support indefinitely and keep pace with The United Methodist Church’s growth in the Central Conferences, a long-term solution is required. The most cost-effective and sustainable method for strengthening theological education in the Central Conferences is an endowment fund.