Oct. 6 is designated as World Communion Sunday, one of the six churchwide Special Sundays of The United Methodist Church. World Communion Sunday provides scholarships for U.S. racial- and ethnic students and international students, on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
World Communion Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday in October.
The World Communion Sunday offering is divided as follows:
- 50% — Crusade Scholarship program, at least half must go beyond the United States;
- 35% — Ethnic Scholarship program;
- 15% —Ethnic In-Service Training program.
Journey Toward Ordained Ministry
Six seminary students involved in a scholarship and mentoring program for racial-ethnic students graduated this year receiving their M.Div. degree. They plan to be ordained as deacons or elders in The United Methodist Church. That brings the total of graduates who took part in the Journey Toward Ordained Ministry (JTOM) program to 19 since it began in 2004.
Funding for JTOM comes from local church offerings on World Communion Sunday. The receipts allocated to the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education & Ministry (GBHEM) are earmarked for scholarships for racial-ethnic students.
Students say they learn a great deal at the retreats and from mentors, in addition to the financial support of a $5,000 scholarship each year.
Analisa Barrington of Perkins School of Theology credited the program with enabling her to interact with people from many different ethnic and economic backgrounds. “One of the greatest things I learned is that no matter what your background, when your identity is [centered] in Christ, you have so much more in common than you ever realized,” she said.
Barrington graduated this year from Perkins in Dallas, where she also serves as youth pastor at Highland Park United Methodist.
Broad range of backgrounds
Allyson Collinsworth, executive director of GBHEM’s Office of Loans & Scholarships, said the $5,000 awarded to each JTOM recipient is considered a significant amount when compared to the average awards from other scholarship programs through the board, but said the mentoring component is also invaluable.
The students are able to form their own community … in dealing with realities within the context of ministry within their ethnic communities.
“The students are able to form their own community that is safe and specifically helpful in dealing with realities within the context of ministry within their ethnic communities,” Collinsworth said.
The six 2013 graduates come from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds.
John Wang, a graduate of the Divinity School, Duke University, began serving this summer as a licensed local pastor at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Spokane, Wash.
“My mentor stressed the need for a disciplined and healthy prayer life through prayer and Scripture,” Wang said. “She also advised me to develop a support network of close relationships with local pastors in my area.”
His mentor helped Wang to see the importance of rest and care for himself to avoid physical and emotional burnout, according to him.
Open to God’s grace
Tariq Cummings, a graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta summed up his experience in JTOM this way:
Through the time spent with my sisters and brothers, I have learned to always be open to the power and presence of God's grace. From my mentors, I have learned that God will definitely give you the grace for the journey. Through the time spent in retreat, I have acquired skills in leadership that are sure to help me in the days to come.
Cummings will be appointed in the North Georgia Conference to Allgood Road United Methodist Church in Stone Mountain, Ga. He also plans to continue his candidacy towards elder’s orders in The United Methodist Church.
Perkins School of Theology graduate Paul Trejo will be working over the summer with Southwest Texas Conference staff for youth and college ministries.
The other two graduates this year are Tabitha Mock-Scott, Gammon Theological Seminary; and Ji Hun Yoo of Boston University School of Theology.
Support World Communion Sunday
To learn more about supporting racial-ethnic students, visit www.umcgving.org. You can donate online, order resources to observe World Communion Sunday, or read inspiring stories of students who benefited.
Please encourage your leaders and congregations to give to the World Communion Sunday offering.
You can give to the World Communion Sunday offering at any time: Donate now.
To learn more, go to World Communion Sunday.
You can obtain free resources such as bulletin inserts, Children’s stories, sermons, offering envelopes and posters, at Resources.
More information is available at United Methodist Special Sundays.