Grad gets scholarship for theological study

Nicholas L. (Nick) Detweiler-Stoddard, an entering master of divinity student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, has been recognized as a young leader who demonstrates exceptional gifts for ministry by The Fund for Theological Education (FTE), based in Atlanta, Ga.

EMU grad Nick Detweiler-Stoddard
EMU grad Nick Detweiler-Stoddard, a biblical studies major who is now entering the M.Div. program at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

As a recipient of a 2009 FTE Congregational Fellowship, Detweiler-Stoddard will receive a $2,000 to $5,000 award from FTE, which matches support from his nominating congregation for seminary tuition and living expenses. He will also attend the 2009 FTE Conference on Excellence in Ministry, “Becoming Rich toward God: Pastoral Leadership and Economic Justice,” June 17-21 at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.

FTE Congregational Fellows are selected competitively from a pool of applicants from across the U.S. and Canada. They must be nominated by a congregation, be preparing for congregational or parish ministry, have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and have intellectual and interpersonal gifts for pastoral leadership. Detweiler-Stoddard was nominated for the fellowship by Community Mennonite Church of Harrisonburg, where he is a member.

The Wellman, Iowa, native is a 2008 biblical studies graduate of EMU. He is a behavior support specialist at Crossroads Counseling Center in Harrisonburg, working with clients to help them function better in school.

In 2007, Detweiler-Stoddard won the grand prize at the bi-national level in the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest with his speech, “Connect the Dots.” Read the speech (PDF)

He and his wife, Erika Detweiler-Stoddard, are youth sponsors at Community Mennonite Church.

More about FTE fellowships

FTE awards the fellowships, which are funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., to increase the number of highly capable young people exploring or preparing for ordained ministry as a profession. Fewer than seven percent of clergy in most denominations today are under age 35, and interest among seminary students in congregational ministry has declined over the past five years.

“In today’s economy, the need to support young people who aspire to serve the church and the common good is an essential investment,” said the Rev. Ellen Echols Purdum, director of FTE Ministry Fellowships. “Congregations and entire communities need the intellect, leadership gifts and compassion that these candidates will bring to local challenges, spiritual, social and economic.”

The Fund for Theological Education is a leading ecumenical advocate for excellence and diversity in pastoral ministry and theological scholarship. It supports the next generation of leaders among pastors and scholars, annually providing $1.5 million in fellowships and support to gifted young people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

For more information about FTE fellowships, visit