By Anne Searcy
During the twenty-three years Dr. Stegall served at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Montgomery I clearly remember his talking from the pulpit about how prohibitive the cost of seminary was for aspiring ministers. Thus, he believed that if seminarians didn’t receive financial help, eventually there would be fewer ordained ministers to fi ll vacant pulpits. Th erefore, as he was approaching retirement, a seminary scholarship fund was established in his and Brenda’s honor to help all seminarians within our conference.
In the 14 years the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation has been established we have supported approximately 150 seminary students and are contributing to 45 seminarians with 12 new students enrolled for the upcoming fall semester.
Because I admire, respect and honor all that Dr. Stegall stands for, I happily contribute to this scholarship. Th rough the years of replying to seminarians’ thank you letters I have developed friendships with them. Having been a high school educator, I enjoy reading about their rigorous curriculum and their beginning to serve in local churches. My own local church has had outstanding associates who directly benefi ted from the Stegall Scholarship and are now ordained ministers serving churches scattered throughout the Alabama-West Florida Conference.
Th rough the well-invested and managed Foundation, each full-time, on-campus seminarian receives a minimum of $10,000 yearly to help with his or her education. Th ese scholarships are made possible from interest earned on the invested principal. What a tremendous asset this is when their seminary degree might cost upwards of $40,000 and this fi nancial help surely relieves the fear of long-term indebtedness.
Giving back is a concept that many of us were taught in our homes and churches as we grew up. Sharing your gifts with others is an important character trait to develop in one’s life, and it is one I learned through my parents’ example. Hence, contributing to this scholarship fund is a meaningful way to memorialize someone as well as to honor friends. How rewarding it is to know our contribution is helping a seminarian complete his or her degree. Reading the foundation’s quarterly newsletter allows us to see the various ways an individual, as well as a church or group, may donate.
I consider contributing to the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation a meaningful way to thank Dr. Stegall for his outstanding years in the ministry. While I taught, each Monday morning I regaled my faculty friends with his three point sermon from the day before. And I taught his daughters, Stacie and Carmen. This Scholarship Foundation helps ensure we will always have eff ective leadership in our local churches, and ministers who were once prayerfully supported by those whom they now serve.