The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Fund for Leaders in Mission awarded full-tuition scholarships to 16 first-year students and partial-tuition scholarships to 15 students of eight seminaries of the ELCA. The 2004-2005 academic year full-tuition scholarships were presented by ELCA presiding bishop on Oct. 8.
Initiated by ELCA, the Fund for Leaders in Mission builds an endowed scholarship resource that provides tuition assistance to qualified candidates studying at the church's eight seminaries. Its' first eight scholarships were awarded in 2000.
The Fund for Leaders in Mission is administered through the ELCA Foundation, which encourages lifelong stewardship in support of all ministries of the church.
"The Fund for Leaders in Mission is blessed by a growing number of partners in this good work of increasing financial support for seminary students," said Cynthia Halverson, Fund director for the ELCA Foundation. "Because of their generosity, we look forward to significantly increasing the number of students who will receive this churchwide scholarship support by 2007."
Rev. Donald M. Hallberg, executive director, ELCA Foundation said, "The Fund has already raised $1.6 million toward meeting the Thrivent Foundation Challenge."
In 2003 the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, a private foundation funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, issued a challenge grant to match $2 million in new contributions from individuals and congregations to the Fund with another $1 million.
He said the Fund plans to match the challenge and take delivery of a $1 million check from the Thrivent Foundation at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Aug. 8-14, 2005, in Orlando, Fla.
Hallberg said the Fund's long-term goal is to have at least $200 million in its endowment, so it can provide full-tuition scholarships for every student at ELCA seminaries who is committed to a future in parish ministry.
In past five years, the Fund for Leaders in Mission has awarded $1.2 million in 98 scholarships. Now, 75 students at ELCA seminaries are receiving tuition support through the Fund and related partnerships.
Several of the ELCA's 65 synods and 10,657 congregations have created partnerships to award scholarships.