United Church of Christ

Leadership Development Scholarships

Re-imagine the Gifts of GodLeadership Development Scholarships help to support United Church of Christ undergraduate students, future seminary professors, African-American laywomen, and gifted persons with disabilities, among others.

Important dates to remember:
All online Scholarship application forms open on December 1 each year and close on March 1 of the following year at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.
The online application form for The Genesis Fund, a program grant, opens on December 1 each year and closes on March 15 of the following year at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Avery Arthington Fund

The Avery Arthington Fund provides $400-$4,000 in scholarship aid to Africans who are members of our partner churches studying towards an undergraduate degree in a UCC-related college or university in the United States. Students must commit to return to homeland countries after graduation.


Make a Difference! Doctoral Studies Award

The Make a Difference! Doctoral Studies Awards are given annually to members of the United Church of Christ who are engaged in a doctoral studies program that would prepare them to be considered for a teaching position at a seminary of the United Church of Christ.


The Valerie Russell Scholarship Fund

Valerie RussellThe Valerie Russell Scholarship Fund was established in 1997 in honor of Valerie Russell who served as the Executive Director of the Office for Church in Society in the national setting of the United Church of Christ. Valerie served in this role from January 15, 1992 until her death on February 23, 1997.

Valerie Russell Scholarship for African American Lay Women 2021
Valerie Russell Scholarship for African American Lay Women Report 2020 (for scholarships received in 2020) Due July 31, 2021 (For past Valerie Russell Scholarship recipients only)

Intended recipients
The scholarship will be awarded to an African American laywoman (not an organization):

  • Who is NOT a member in discernment, nor a licensed, commissioned or ordained minister.
  • Who has a deep love for the United Church of Christ.
  • Whose commitment to justice is theologically grounded.
  • Who affirms the values of the United Church of Christ and who embraces the justice commitments of the Church.

There are two categories of applications that will be considered

  1. An application from a woman who is already professionally engaged in justice work, either in the church or in a secular organization, that is consistent with the perspective of the United Church of Christ. Scholarship funds may be used for identified continuing education (classes, workshops, travel, etc.) that will assist in personal skill building to further current work or allow the start of work in new areas of challenge and interest.
  2. An application from a woman pursuing formal higher education as an undergraduate or graduate student who has the qualities, characteristics and commitment to justice consistent with the values outlined above.

Additional General Information

  • Awards will be made annually.
  • Applicants may apply for renewal in subsequent years.
  • Application deadline is March 1.
  • Recipients are required to submit a report 12 months after the award is granted.
Undergraduate Scholarship

United Church of Christ Undergraduate Scholarship provides annual scholarship assistance to UCC members entering their sophomore, junior and/or senior year of an accredited four-year college in the United States.


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.


UCC Related institutions providing scholarships for UCC students

Colleges and Universities
Ask the Admissions Office for details.

The following United Church of Christ Related Colleges may provide scholarships for UCC students
Ask the Admissions Office for details.

The residential and day campus secondary schools related to the United Church of Christ offer some financial aid. Ask the Admissions Office for details.

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.


UCC Pension Boards Higher Education Scholarship for Children of Deceased or Disabled Ministers

Higher Education Scholarships for Children of Disabled or Deceased Ministers

Scholarship assistance is available for the higher education of children of deceased ministers who were authorized ministers at the time of their death. Higher education scholarships are also available for children of authorized ministers who served the United Church of Christ for at least 10 years and are now on long-term disability.


Scholarships are based on financial need, and are limited to $1,000 per academic period or $2,000 per calendar year, with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per student.

Scholarships are only available for study at accredited institutions leading toward Associate or Baccalaureate degrees or for seminary education at one of the six seminaries of the United Church of Christ.

Application Process

Individuals who wish to be considered for a scholarship must submit an application.

Applications must be endorsed by the applicant’s Conference Minister. Completed applications must be submitted to the applicant’s Conference Minister for signature, then returned to the address below.


The application form may be downloaded and mailed to:

The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ
Attention: Ministerial Assistance
475 Riverside Drive, Room 1020
New York, NY 10115


The source of funding is the Ministerial Assistance Fund.

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