California-Nevada Pastor Is a Georgia Harkness Scholarship Winner
Eleven women, including a pastor from the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, have been named recipients of the 2009-2010 Georgia Harkness Scholarship.
The seminary scholarships go to women older than 35 who are preparing for ordination as elders in The United Methodist Church as a second career. The recipients are chosen by a committee of United Methodist elders and GBHEM staff.
Among the 11 is Edna Andres, a fulltime local pastor at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Fremont, California.
As part of their award, Andres and the others will visit the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to advance their leadership development globally.
"They will meet with students and leaders of The Church of Canada, and will visit local churches. They will also share their commitment to ordained elder's ministry. In Canada, ordained clergywomen in the local church are still rare," said the Rev. HiRho Park, the director of Continuing Formation for Ministry at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Park said there were fewer applicants this year. She believes the economy might be the reason for the decline in applicants.
"We suspect that working women might choose to remain at their job rather than starting full-time theological education," Park said.
There was an increase of racial-ethnic applicants, however. "We were especially impressed to see applicants originally from Puerto Rico, Africa, and the Philippines," she added.
Last year, the 11 scholars visited Honduras.
Georgia Harkness was the first woman theologian to teach in a Protestant seminary in the United States - Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. She dedicated her life to dismantling discrimination because of race and gender in The United Methodist Church and the world, and was instrumental in the 1956 decision giving women full-clergy membership in The Methodist Church. She died in 1974.
Park said the scholarship program is a valuable investment in the future of the church, especially in light of findings from this year's Lead Women Pastors Survey, which found that one-fourth of senior women pastors who are serving churches with more than 1,000 members began ministry as a second career.
"It is evident that these women bring life experiences and professional skills that enhance their ministry," Park said.
The 2009-2010 scholarship recipients, listed alphabetically, are:
Edna Andres of Milpitas, Calif.; Pacific School of Theology; California-Nevada Annual Conference; St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Fremont, Calif.
Robin Dillon of Indianapolis, Ind.; Methodist Theological School of Ohio; Indiana Annual Conference; Avon United Methodist Church in Avon, Ind.
Nancy Geske of Ames, Iowa; Saint Paul School of Theology; Iowa Annual Conference; Christ United Methodist Church, Independence, Mo.
Meg Hegemann of Fulton, Mo.; Saint Paul School of Theology; Missouri Annual Conference; Sturgeon United Methodist Church in Sturgeon, Mo., and Riggs Union United Methodist Church in Riggs, Mo.
Wendy Inman of New Braunfels, Tex.; Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary; Southwest Texas Annual Conference; Gruene United Methodist Church in New Braunfels, Tex.
Tonya Lawrence of Princeton, N.J.; Princeton Theological Seminary; North Georgia Annual Conference; Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Ga.
Genova McFadden of Atlanta, Ga.; Gammon Theological Seminary; South Carolina Annual Conference; St. John United Methodist Church in Hartsville, S.C.
Mary Miriti of Dallas, Tex.; Perkins School of Theology; North Texas Annual Conference; Lover's Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, Tex.
Virna Solis Ortiz of Maunabo, Puerto Rico; Jenninario Evangelico de Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico Annual Conference; pastor of Iglesia Metodista Meson de Amor in Guayama, Puerto Rico, and a member of McCabe Memorial, Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Diana Phillips of San Antonio, Tex.; Perkins School of Theology; Southwest Texas Annual Conference; San Antonio Colonial Hills United Methodist Church.
Sherry Cothran Woolsey of Whites Creek, Tenn.; Vanderbilt Divinity School; Tennessee Annual Conference; West Nashville United Methodist Church.