GBHEM introduces new Excellence in Clergy Leadership scholarship


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Office of Loans and Scholarships at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) announced the creation of a new scholarship that launched Jan. 3, 2017, for students enrolled in United Methodist seminaries.

Deadline for applying is March 1. For more information, visit:

The Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship was created to help entering United Methodist clergy avoid excessive educational loan debt, minimize financial stress and build financial acumen.

Wespath Benefits and Investments (formerly the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits), GBHEM and the National Association of United Methodist Foundations collaborated on a proposal and were awarded a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The proposal included implementing half of the grant as a "loan avoidance" scholarship for United Methodist seminarians pursuing elder or deacon ordination.

To be eligible for the Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship, applicants must be enrolled full-time as a Master of Divinity student at one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries/schools of theology, and be pursuing certified candidacy or a certified candidate for ministry (elder or deacon) in The United Methodist Church.

In addition to the Lilly grant, the scholarship is funded by matching contributions from GBHEM, the 13 United Methodist seminaries/schools of theology, and participating United Methodist annual conferences or foundations. The matching contributions offer selected applicants an opportunity to receive scholarship award amounts ranging from $2,500 to $12,500. Seminary students are encouraged to apply for the scholarship even if their annual conference is not participating because other donor funds may be available.