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Contact: Kerry Traubert

(404) 727-1170

Fund Awards $1.3 Million in Fellowships and Support

To Next Generation of Pastors and Scholars
Program aims to improve supply, quality and diversity of young candidates

ATLANTA, June 12, 2006 – To improve the supply, quality and diversity of young
candidates for ministry and teaching, The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) will
award $1.3 million in fellowships and other support to more than 190 college, seminary
and doctoral students nationwide named as 2006 FTE Fellows.
Recent studies show a significant decline across most Christian denominations in
the number of clergy under age 35, as well as declining interest among seminary
students in answering the call to ministry—today, only about half of seminary students
plan to be ordained, and fewer still plan to serve a local congregation. Diversity in
theological education is also a concern; among the 251 member institutions of the
Association of Theological Schools, one-third report that they do not have a person of
color on their faculties.
FTE Fellowships help fill the pipeline of young talent for ministry and theological
scholarship—providing financial assistance and a network of support to gifted students
from diverse backgrounds. The Fund is awarding 2006 fellowships in four categories:
• Ministry Fellowships: 40 students entering Master of Divinity degree
programs across the country will receive $5,000 for self-designed ministry
projects, expenses to attend the FTE Conference on Excellence in Ministry
and other vocational enrichment opportunities.
• Congregational Fellowships: 40 young people will receive FTE
Congregational Fellowships, which provide $2,000 to $5,000 in matching
funds toward tuition and living expenses for the first year of seminary for
students who are nominated and financially supported by their churches.

• Undergraduate Fellowships: 70 college juniors and seniors will receive $1,500

stipends for educational expenses, funds to obtain mentoring for their vocational
discernment and expenses to attend the FTE Conference on Excellence in
• Doctoral Fellowships: 48 gifted doctoral students from underrepresented
racial/ethnic groups who are pursuing Ph.D.s in religion, biblical studies and
theology will receive stipends of up to $15,000 for living expenses. African-
American fellowship recipients also receive expenses to attend the FTE Doctoral
Fellows Conference, which offers tips for successfully completing the doctoral
degree, as well as faculty and peer support.

“The church and the academy face a growing need for talented and diverse
leaders,” said the Rev. Ann Svennungsen, president of The Fund for Theological
Education. “Young people with gifts for ministry and teaching need our encouragement
and financial support more than ever to pursue what has become an uncommon
FTE is a leading ecumenical advocate for excellence and diversity in Christian
ministry and theological scholarship. It supports the next generation of leaders among
pastors and scholars, providing fellowships and a network of support to gifted young
people from all denominations and racial/ethnic backgrounds.
The Fund is also a resource for educational and faith communities, offering
programs to help encourage highly capable candidates to explore vocations in ministry
and teaching. Since 1954, FTE has awarded more than 5,700 fellowships in
partnership with others committed to quality leadership for the church. Information
about FTE fellowships is available on the Web at