EMU Junior Receives Theological Fellowship Award

EMU junior Brendon Derstine
EMU junior Brendon Derstine

Brendon T. Derstine, a junior at EMU this fall, has been selected to receive a 2010 Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Undergraduate Fellowship, which recognizes students who have gifts for leadership and are exploring ministry as a vocation.

As an FTE Undergraduate Fellow, Derstine will receive $2,000 for tuition, other educational expenses or a self-designed experience related to ministry.

He will also attend the 2010 FTE Leaders in Ministry Conference to be held June 16-20 at Boston University School of Theology.

Derstine, from Harleysville, Pa., is a history and social science major with secondary education licensure. He is a member of Franconia Mennonite Church.

Students nominated by faculty

Nancy R. Heisey, department chair and professor of Bible and religion at EMU, nominated Derstine for the fellowship award, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

"The undergraduate fellowship is prestigious and the selection process is highly competitive," said Dr. Heisey.

"The FTE conference that Brendon will attend is an exciting event, where award recipients are brought together with distinguished theologians, pastors and church leaders for thoughtful exchange, including lectures, worship, workshops and informal interaction."

About the selection process

FTE Undergraduate Fellows are selected by a national committee of theological educators and church leaders.

Students must be nominated by a professor, school administrator, pastor or campus minister; hold a minimum 3.0 grade point average; have an interest in pastoral ministry and demonstrate leadership in a church or school community.

FTE awards the fellowships to help ensure quality leadership and inclusive excellence in pastoral ministry.

Importance of congregational leadership

Fewer than seven percent of clergy in most denominations today are under age 35, and interest among seminary students in congregational ministry has declined in recent years, underscoring the need for leadership development among students from diverse backgrounds.

About the Fund for Theological Education

FTE, based in Atlanta, Ga., annually awards $1.5 million in fellowships and offers a network of support to gifted young people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Since 1954,

FTE has awarded more than 6,000 fellowships; its alumni serve congregations, schools and communities around the world.

For more information, visit www.fteleaders.org