[caption id="attachment_212" align="alignright" width="300"] Brenda and Karl Stegall[/caption] One of the most familiar verses in all of the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He GAVE his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That simple verse lies at the heart of the Christmas story! We love because He first loved us! The knowledge of God’s great gift to us motivates us to be generous givers in response. In light of this, I would encourage each of you to consider a special gift to our seminary students that will make a huge difference this Christmas season. Why is a year-end gift such an attractive option? 1. We now support 51 students enrolled in seminary this December. Many of these students, especially those with children, face great financial strain during this time of the year. 2. We are also supporting 10 additional full time local pastors in the Advanced Course of Study who attend seminary on campus during the month of July. 3. It was recently announced that all seminary students from our Alabama-West Florida Conference receiving Ministerial Education Funds in the fall of 2019 will have their grants reduced $500 per semester. Upon hearing this news, our Scholarship Committee stepped forward and said, “We do not want to see that happen. We will ‘stand in the gap’ and assume that additional $1,000 annual grant for each student so that they will not experience any reduction in their individual grants from the Ministerial Education Fund.”
4. Every penny of your gift will be directed to a student where he or she will feel the full impact of your generosity. 5. The more you give, the more our seminary students receive. When our Seminary Scholarship Foundation began in 2007, we were giving $1200 a year to each student. Because of your great generosity, we are now giving a minimum of $10,000 a year to each of our full-time students. Since it costs approximately $42,000 a year to attend seminary, we would love to be able to increase our cash scholarships to each student next year. 6. In a world that is longing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, I can think of no greater investment that you could make than an investment in the lives of these seminary students who are seeking to become more effective communicators of the gospel in both word and deed. Brenda and I wish for each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Karl K. Stegall