Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lilly Endowment and Fund for Theological Education bring students to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

A September 12, 2005 press release from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary announced that for the first time in the Seminary's history it had enrolled a student from the Lilly Endowment's Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation, as well as a Fund for Theological Education fellow. A telephone conversation today with Melissa Logan, Communications Coordinator, confirmed that each of these events were independently historic firsts for the Seminary.

The Lilly Endowment's Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation started in 1999, intended to identify and nurture a new generation of leaders for church and society. Amanda Zervos, a sophomore psychology major at the College of Wooster, is the recipient and will attend Pittsburgh Seminary on an exchange program this year.

The Fund for Theological Education has awarded more than 5,600 fellowships for theological study since 1954. Kevin Thomas is the recipient of the fellowship and is earning a dual degree in Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work.

Why is this news significant to me? I am not an alumnus of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, but as a local pastor I have been very blessed by the Seminary's orientation toward the local church. I congratulate the Seminary for attracting such well-qualified students.

News about the Fund for Theological Education always gets my attention. My college chaplain nominated me to the FTE. My interview with the FTE committee was the most significant interview I have had in my life, ahead of any interview I have had for any position I have held. I remember that I left that interview with a far stronger sense of my calling to ministry than I had known I had when I entered the room. A few weeks later I received the letter telling me that I did not get a fellowship. Even as I read the rejection letter I knew I had gained something better. I am very grateful to the people on that FTE interviewing committee who helped me recognize the path I was to follow.

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