Through the Ministerial Education Fund and other generous gifts, financial assistance is available for persons who are pursuing licensing or ordination. This fund is known as the Service Loan Fund, and is available to any certified candidate for ministry from the Florida Conference who is attending an approved seminary.
The Service Loans are needs based and are based on a full-time academic load. Service Loans may be awarded for up to $2,000 a semester for the fall and spring semesters, and $750 for summer semesters, with the total to one individual not to exceed $14,250.
The Service Loans are repaid by ministry service to the Florida Conference. If, for some reason, a person does not serve in the Florida Conference, or a conference in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, financial repayment will be expected.
Through the Ministerial Education Fund, licensed local pastors receive assistance with the cost of the Course of Study program. The current amount is $300 for each class in which the person is enrolled, not to exceed four classes in one calendar year.
Ministerial Education Funds are also available for continuing education purposes for clergy who are members in full connection or associate members of the Florida Conference. Each eligible clergy may request up to $750 a quadrennium. These funds are administered on a first-ask, first-receive process as long as funds are available in a current calendar year.
The Passing the Torch Fund is a Florida Conference grant program that provides training and support for conference clergy and serves as a recruitment and leadership incentive to attract gifted individuals to ministerial service in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. It is administered by the Office of Clergy Excellence and funded by the Florida United Methodist Foundation and conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
Individuals ordained deacon or elder in full connection at the 2015 Florida Annual Conference received $5,000 from this fund to help alleviate educational debt, as will future classes of ordinands, depending on available funds (initial funding committed through 2019). After completion of renewal requirements established by the Board of Ordained Ministry renewal subcommittee, clergy in each class will be eligible to apply for another $5,000 grant. It is anticipated this will occur three to five years from their ordination.
Grants from the fund will also provide:
Both the grant for sabbatical leave and scholarship are competitive grants. Applications for both are being accepted until Nov. 2, 2015.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011