Ministry Education Scholarships

Ministry Education Scholarships

Re-imagine the Gifts of GodMinistry Education Scholarships are available to those preparing for ministry in the United Church of Christ and for continuing education for ministers.

Members in Discernment may apply for the Brown Endowment Scholarship and ONE other UCC Ministry Education Scholarship per year.

To qualify for a United Church of Christ Ministry Education Scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria unless otherwise stated:

  • Membership in a UCC congregation for at least one year at time of application;
  • Enrollment in an ATS accredited seminary towards a course of study leading to ordained ministry;
  • Member-in-discernment of an Association or Conference at time of application;
  • At least a "B" average maintained; (With the exception of The Rev. Virginia Kreyer Scholarship where a lower GPA will be accepted)
  • Agrees to serve in the UCC or a partner church on completion of seminary;
  • Demonstrates leadership ability through participation in local church, Association, Conference, or academic environment.
The Helen and Richard Brown Endowment for Pastoral Scholarships

The Helen and Richard Brown Endowment for Pastoral Scholarships derives from a generous gift received in the 1990s, designated to support pastoral ministry in the United Church of Christ. Since its inception, the gift of $5 million has provided over $250,000 annually to UCC Conferences, seminaries and global partners, providing individual scholarships for seminarians and sponsorships for continuing education events.

Most Brown Scholars will be enrolled in or accepted to seminary. However, MIDs who are enrolled in or accepted to a regional theological education program which leads to authorized ministry in the UCC are also encouraged to apply.

1. A member in good standing in a local UCC congregation.
2. A Member in Discernment (MID) of a regional UCC Association.
3. Enrolled in or accepted to an accredited ATS seminary, or enrolled in or accepted to a regional theological education program which leads to authorized ministry in the UCC.
4. A 3.0 GPA in your most recently completed academic work.
5. Intention to seek a call to serve as a pastor of a local UCC church.
6. Documented financial need.

Applications, along with supporting materials, must be submitted by March 1. Supporting documents include letters of reference, academic transcripts and all of the other required documents that may take some time to obtain — so do not procrastinate! After March 1, no further Brown Scholarship applications or supporting materials will be accepted until the new application period opens in the following year. Awards made will be sent directly to each Scholar's educational institution in August for the academic year beginning in the Fall.

To apply for a Brown Endowment Continuing Education (CE) Grant — for events and activities aimed at assisting groups of Authorized Ministers to become more proficient in their ministry — applying UCC-related institutions, agencies and local churches should prepare a grant request proposal following these guidelines.

Want to find out more about The Brown Endowment? Click here to download a brochure and learn more about eligibility requirements.

The Cannon Endowment Scholarship

The Cannon Endowment Scholarship was established in 1992 through a gift from Dr. Clinton Cannon. An army retiree and UCC lay member of the Washington-North Idaho Conference; Dr. Cannon appreciated the ministry of chaplains during his career and wanted to ensure the future availability of chaplains to serve military personnel and their families. The Cannon Endowment provides scholarship assistance to seminarians planning to become military chaplains. Applicants must meet the general requirements, or the equivalent, if they are from other faith communities. Seminarians who are of the following faith communities may apply: United Church of Christ, Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian U.S.A. and United Methodist.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry Evans Designated Fund for African-American Pastoral Scholarships

The Evans Scholarship fund for African-American seminary students was established in 2009 by United Black Christians, in covenant with the UCC's Local Church Ministries. In addition to the standard requirements, applicants must be a justice advocates who have proven leadership through a history of service in the church and in the world.

Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry Evans Scholarship Brochure

The William R. Johnson Scholarship Fund

In 1999, the predecessor body to Local Church Ministries, The Board for Homeland Ministries, created a scholarship for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender UCC seminarians in honor of William R. Johnson, the first openly gay man ordained in the United Church of Christ. The scholarship was established as a concrete way of affirming the church's long-standing conviction that sexual orientation or gender identity should not be a barrier to ordination.

Recipients must be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity and be Members in Discernment. The scholarship is available to students who have completed their first year of seminary.

Rev. Virginia Kreyer Endowed Scholarship for Theological Education

Rev. Virginia Kreyer Endowed Scholarship for Theological Education: for Persons with Disabilities Called to Authorized Ministry

Created in 2010 by the UCC’s Disabilities Ministries, the Rev. Virginia Kreyer Scholarship is a board-designated fund for persons with disabilities called to authorized ministry. This scholarship fund will help defray the cost of tuition, assistive devices, specialized software, hardware, specialized services, specialized assistants, transportation, and adapted vehicles.

Virginia Kreyer Endowed Scholarship Fund Brochure

The Rev. Dr. Hector E. Lopez Scholarship for Latina and Latino UCC Seminarians

The Lopez Scholarship is intended to prepare Latinas and Latinos future ministers, educated in the socially and theologically progressive seminaries of the UCC, who will return to lead vital congregations, minister to Latino constituencies, multicultural communities and the whole church, equipped to proclaim the liberating Gospel message of salvation, full-inclusion, justice and peace.

This scholarship is named in honor of The Rev. Dr. Héctor Edmundo López, a laborer in the journey for racial justice. Rev. Dr. Lopez is the first Latino ordained in the UCC and the first Latino UCC Conference Minister in the United States.

This scholarship was established in 2006 as a three-way covenant between the Council for Hispanic Ministries, Local Church Ministries and Justice and Witness Ministries of the UCC.

Adrienne M. & Charles Shelby Rooks Scholarship Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Theological Students

The Rooks Fellowship was established to support the seminary education of members of the United Church of Christ from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in our church who are committed to serving the UCC and who are enrolled in a school of theology accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States. The Rooks Fellowship is available to members of the UCC who are African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Native-American Indian or Pacific Islander. Grants are made to both full-time and part-time M.Div. students and may be renewed. Master of Divinity students are expected to be a Member in Discernment.

Grants are also made to support doctoral study at accredited graduate schools for those seeking to pursue a scholarly teaching vocation in the field of religion. Doctoral students must be enrolled in an ATS accredited seminary or theological school leading to a PH.D., Th.D., or Ed.D., in a field related to religious studies. Preference will be given to Doctoral students who have demonstrated promise of academic excellence, teaching effectiveness, and commitment to the United Church of Christ and who intend to become professors in colleges, seminaries, or graduate schools.

Rooks Scholarship funds may be used for tuition, educational fees charged by the educational institution, books, room and board and basic living expenses (housing, food). Payment will be made to the seminary or theological school. Rooks Scholars may request funds from the institution for basic living expenses.

Make a Difference! UCC Seminarian Scholarship

The Presidents of the five United Church of Christ seminaries annually nominate one Member in Discernment for the Make A Difference! UCC Seminarian Scholarship. The awards are transferred to the seminaries to offset tuition, books, or other educational expenses for the selected seminarian.

Interested seminarians should contact the President of their UCC seminary. Individuals may NOT apply for this scholarship.

The five United Church of Christ seminaries are:

Chicago Theological Seminary
Eden Theological Seminary
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Pacific School of Religion
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities


Nomination from one of the five United Church of Christ seminaries.

Member of a local United Church of Christ church for at least one year prior to nomination.

Member in Discernment (MID). MID status is designated by the Committee on Ministry (COM) of a local church's UCC Association (or UCC Conference acting as an Association).

Preparing to serve the UCC or partner settings as an Authorized Minister (ordained, licensed or commissioned).

Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale from most recently completed academic work.

Demonstrated leadership ability as evidenced through participation in local church, Association, Conference and/or seminary activities.

Make A Difference! Educational Support Award

Each year United Church of Christ Association Committees on Ministry are invited to nominate their Members in Discernment to be considered for a Make A Difference! Educational Support scholarship. Awards are available to UCC seminarians attending any ATS accredited seminary or theological school in the United States. Awards are applied to recipients' tuition and tuition-related expenses (books, fees, room and board or other educational expenses). Interested persons must contact their Committee on Ministry to request consideration.

Recipients must demonstrate membership in a local church of the United Church of Christ, for at least one year. Recipients enrolled in a course of study leading to ordination must be Members in Discernment by the end of their first year in seminary and, subsequently, during the period for which the scholarship is given. Recipients must demonstrate leadership ability as may be evidenced through participation in local church, Association, Conference and/or seminary activities. Recipients will be expected to maintain a B average or better (or equivalent).

Make A Difference! Caring for Authorized Clergy Fund

Grants are available for persons authorized for ministry in the United Church of Christ (ordained, licensed and commissioned) who are experiencing crisis in their vocational and/or personal lives. Conference staff applies on behalf of the authorized minister. Payment is made to the Conference/ Association to assure anonymity. Conference/Association agrees to make the source of the funds known to the recipient and ensures that funds are used as intended.

Make A Difference! Caring For Authorized Clergy funds are not meant to replace United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) funds.

Make A Difference: Caring for Authorized Clergy

The Garrett Trust Fund Award – Emergency Financial Assistance

The Garrett Trust Fund was established in 1946 to provide emergency financial assistance for persons pursuing a seminary education. Seminarians enrolled full-time in a Master of Divinity program in an ATS accredited seminary who wish to apply must sign a faith statement and must articulate their financial emergency. A representative of the applicant’s UCC Conference or Association Committee on Ministry must approve the application.

Application is open throughout the year. Awards range from $600 to $1,500 and are based on one time emergency financial need. The Garrett Trust Fund is not a substitute for traditional scholarship funds. Emergency financial need includes instances of a health crisis, job loss, family crisis, housing emergency, etc.

The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program (Sabbatical)

(given by The Lilly Endowment, not the UCC)
UCC congregations are invited to apply for grants up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor, with $15,000 of those funds to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary represent the Endowment's continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations. There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply. Learn more >>

Harold H. Wilke Scholarship Fund

The Harold Wilke Scholarship, established in 1981, honors the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Wilke, a devoted minister, disability advocate and pioneer. Annual scholarships are available to assist gifted persons with disabilities and/or those directly involved in service to persons with disabilities further their education or training. Applicants must be pursuing a degree or educational certification and may be from the United States or other countries.

Dr. Wilke was noted for his unique role in delivering the blessing at the White House signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. Following the signing, President George H.W. Bush passed the signing pen to Rev. Wilke, who accepted it with his foot, because he was born without arms. Harold Wilke focused on his own abilities rather than on his disability. His exemplary ministry within the UCC and the world forged a path for leaders with disabilities to emerge.

Applicant shall be an active member of a United Church of Christ congregation. Applicant shall be a person with a disability or a person that ministers to those with disabilities. Applicant shall exhibit considerable potential for leadership and have supporting letters so testifying. Study which leads to a degree or certification training shall be in an area related culturally to the home country of the applicant.

Contact Info

Pat Lyden
Associate Director, Grant and Scholarship Administration
700 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115