What was your immediate thought when you read the good news about the $300/month tuition rate being affirmed by the Board?
PRAISE GOD! I felt such relief and joy that I was not sure what to do except shout the good words from the rooftops. I immediately started singing the hymn “How great thou art.” Then I began thanking God profusely for answering my prayers. I did not know how I would manage to continue my seminary training without a significant reduction in the normal tuition rates. But he called me to the ministry and led me to Winebrenner. I knew that he would find a way but was still genuinely concerned about how I was going to manage it without bankrupting myself. I could envision myself with my MDIV living in subsidized housing and on Medicaid. I suppose that could still happen but with this permanently reduced tuition rate, God willing, I will be ok.
What does this decision mean for you right now?
Relief. Relief. Relief. My financial burden has been relieved to a huge extent. I guess you could call me, still, a non-traditional student. I was married and had three children when I started college. It took me thirteen years to earn my PhD. I was well into my forties when I actually started working as a professional. My husband had a stroke and could not work so I was his caregiver and well as the bread winner for the family. I had only a few years and money to build a retirement plan, so I have had to guard the little I have and use it wisely. The regular tuition fees threatened to destroy this retirement fund. I have been frightened that I would have to quit seminary, or bankrupt myself to continue.
What does the $300/month tuition rate enable you to do?
The Board’s decision to permanently keep the tuition at $300 per month enables me to focus my physical and cognitive energies on my theological course work. And now I can stop worrying about how I am going to manage financially to stay in school. A tremendous relief! Furthermore, I can focus my prayers on helping others instead of praying for God’s help in finding a way for me to continue my theological education.
What does this mean for your family?
I am a widow with three adult children, seven adult grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren ranging in age from 1 to 14. It will not affect any of them directly. My children and grandchildren are excited that I am attending seminary. My older great grandchildren think it is exciting that I am going to be a minister like our pastor. I think my kids are relieved by the tuition reduction because they will not have any need to worry about whether I am eating or paying tuition. Seriously, they are incredibly happy for me because they know I am dedicated to what I am doing and would find a way to complete what God has called me to do.
What does this decision mean for you after you graduate?
First it helps to ensure that I will have the financial means to be able to complete my training without any debt to repay. When you are as old as I am that is HUGE. Chances are high that I would drop out of seminary before I went to that extreme.
I believe that the Board’s decision will add to my story of how God works in our lives to accomplish His goals. He opens doors that seem closed and answers our prayers when we ask. Because of the Board’s decision I can share my testimony of how God literally opened doors in my life.
What field do you hope to enter?
I truly do not know. God called me to His service on August 17, 2020 and on September eighth, 22 days later I started classes at Winebrenner. God brought me to this point, but I do not know where He is leading me, I just know He is. I trust that He will show me exactly what He wants me to do, and where he wants me to be. At this point I feel drawn to small group ministry with single moms.
Any final words?
I am so grateful to the individuals and organizations who are providing the financial support that will allow me to continue to follow the path that God has so clearly put me on. I pray that I can live up to your expectations and that I am able to serve God’s plan for his kingdom as He wants. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and in Jesus’ precious name.