The Board of Directors of the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with Wesley College in Mwanza, Tanzania. Beginning September 1, the foundation is providing scholarships for 30 students studying theology at the college. The foundation has made a $120,000, two-curriculum year commitment.The funding used for this partnership comes from donations given solely for this purpose.
Located in the Mwanza Region of northern Tanzania, Wesley College is a United Methodist-related institution that offers programs in theology and adult education. Students at Wesley complete a two-year course in the cohort model that focuses on preparing
students for work as pastors. They take courses in foundation subjects such as: Biblical studies, church history, and systematic theology. They also take church ministry courses such as preaching, worship arts, family ministry, and pastoral counseling. Lastly, they take additional ministry courses in church administration, project planning and management, and entrepreneurship. Two thousand dollars per student, per year supports a student’s tuition, room and board in full.
The students, upon graduation, are ready for ordination and appointment in the Tanzanian Methodist Church with several graduates already serving churches in various communities in Tanzania, usually with early leadership roles in their respective districts.
The Alabama-West Florida (AWF) Conference established a formal “Teaming with Tanzania” partnership with the Tanzania Methodist Church in 2019. As the Stegall Foundation board of directors began seeking ways to enlarge its mission, the college in Tanzania presented a natural opportunity that already had established local connections.
“I am so thankful to the Stegall Foundation for their support of Wesley College and ‘Teaming with Tanzania,’" said Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the AWF Conference. “Wesley College is doing tremendous work in educating ministry leaders in Tanzania which is yearning for the Gospel message of Jesus. My personal visit with the Wesley College students two years ago was the start of the conference establishing this partnership that now continues to grow.”
While the foundation is expanding into this new partnership, the board of directors affirms that its top priority will always be the support of seminary students from, and returning to serve churches within, the AWF Conference.
“Acknowledging that we are called in the Great Commission to ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations,’ we are now enlarging our vision to support ministerial students at Wesley College in Tanzania,” said Dr. Karl K. Stegall, foundation president. “Because of the extravagant generosity of our faithful donors, our foundation is able to do these exciting, new things while continuing our current and future support for both seminary and Course of Study students right here at home. This opportunity in Tanzania allows us to provide scholarships for even more men and women wishing to become effective ministers of the Gospel.”
In 2019, Wesley College had 26 faculty and staff teaching 130 students. Since the school’s beginnings three years ago, 50 have graduated from Wesley and gone on to plant churches; work, and train others to lead, in children’s ministries; and work in nonprofit ministries.
“God is doing a good work in the nation of Tanzania!” said Rev. Allen Newton, senior pastor of Destin (FL) FUMC and “area champion” for the conference’s initiative. “Through this new partnership between the Stegall Foundation and Wesley College, young men and women will be trained up to lead a fledgling United Methodist Church impacting the hearts and lives of generations to come. I give thanks for the vision and generosity of all those involved.”
As part of recent visits to Tanzania, both Rev. Newton and Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz, senior pastor of Port St. Joe (FL) UMC, have been strong advocates of the partnership and express excitement over what the foundation’s partnership means for the region. “I am confident that supporting these students will make many disciples for Jesus Christ and transform the world,” said Lentz. “In east Africa, the church is growing by leaps and bounds, and is in desperate need of leaders who are equipped to teach the scriptures, proclaim the Gospel, and transform society. rough this game-changing gift, the Stegall Foundation has made yet another bold move that will shape the future of the church for generations to come.”
The Stegall Foundation will work closely with Rev. Eric Soard, Executive Director of the Wesley College Foundation, to facilitate the scholarships and receive periodic updates which will be shared with donors.
“For a new Annual Conference like Tanzania, which is growing so quickly that there are more churches than ordained pastors, this is a gift that cannot be counted,” said Rev. Eric Soard, Executive Director of the Wesley College Foundation. “In a time in the world when so many charitable foundations are choosing to reduce their funding and not take on new projects or partners, the Stegall Foundation chose instead to expand and live into their mission and purpose of ensuring that pastors can receive the education they need. The foundation’s desire to find new and impactful ways to support ministerial students speaks volumes as to their dedication and faith. Wesley College students and staff are forever grateful to the Stegall Foundation’s donors for this gift - a gift that is equipping and sending out pastors for ministry in the world.”
More information about Wesley College is available at: www.wesleycollegetzfoundation.com