Claflin University has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The United Methodist Church’s Young Clergy Initiative Fund to encourage and support young individuals answering the call to the ministry.
Some $7 million has been set aside for denominational programs that will prepare young people – classified as individuals 35 years of age and younger – to hear God’s call to the ordained ministry, assist them in responding to the call, develop their spiritual and theological transformation, and nurture young clergy for a lifetime of ministry. The fund is administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Dr. Johnny Hill, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Claflin, said the YCI grant will support a recruitment effort and program at the University that is centered on introducing rising high school seniors to the ordained ministry in the UMC, as well as foster partnerships with Claflin and faith communities across the region.
“I believe the program promises to yield strong outcomes for recruitment and philanthropic efforts well into the future,” Hill continued, adding that Claflin’s program will be modeled after similar programs at Duke Divinity School, Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
He said Claflin, which is affiliated with The United Methodist Church, will also reach out to Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta for potential partnerships.
“With this support, we can further advance the call to prepare global visionary leaders for today,” Hill said.
The Young Clergy Initiative Fund was created at the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church to “increase the number of young clergy among the jurisdictional conferences.” The goal is to offset a projected shortage in the coming decades of “trained ordained elders for appointment to local congregations.”
For more information about the Young Clergy Initiative, visit http://www.explorecalling.org/yci/.