ESR Announces 2019-20 Scholarship Recipients

ESR is pleased to announce scholarship recipients for the 2019-20 academic year. In addition to the Thomas J. Mullen and Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship, the first Quaker Professional Scholarship is also being awarded.

The Thomas J. Mullen Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship given to a residential Cooper Scholar in their last year of work toward either an M.Div. or M.A. degree. Criteria for recipients of this scholarship include clarity of ministerial identity, self-awareness of their own spiritual formation process, and potential for continued leadership and/or service through their gifts of ministry. This year's recipient is Kaia Jackson.

Kaia Jackson is a a third year M.Div. student whose interests lie at the intersection of writing, storytelling, and entrepreneurial ministry. Kaia is extremely involved in the Richmond and surrounding communities in a variety of capacities, including serving as a Youth Minister for Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting and previously as an intern with Earlham College Quaker Fellows, participating in Richmond Civic Theatre productions, organizing the local Warp and Woof storytelling event, and cultivating a relationship with Santosha Yoga School. Kaia also recently completed six months of clinical pastoral education at Reid Health. "As I plan for my academic and professional work next year, I have discerned a call to use my final year of seminary as an opportunity to explore the intersection of Writing as Ministry and Entrepreneurial Ministry," Kaia shared. "I am particularly interested in exploring how the practice of storytelling can be used as a tool to create safer and braver spaces for learning, community-building, and social transformation."

The Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship was established in 1998 by the Mullen family and other special friends to honor the courage and compassion of Nancy Mullen, the wife of former ESR Dean Tom Mullen. This full tuition scholarship is offered to an ESR student regardless of age, gender or denominational affiliation, or whether they are residential or Access, or seeking an M.Div. or an M.A. degree. Some of the characteristics which the recipient is chosen for include courage of conviction, compassion for those with particular needs, and a hunger for learning. This year's recipient is Nikki Holland.

Nikki Holland is a third year Access student and is currently in the process of moving with her family from Mexico to Belize to serve as Director of Belize Friends Ministries. "My calling is one of spiritual hospitality," Nikki shared. "I am called to make space for people to rest and grow in the love of God. And I believe that is what the Belize City Friends Center is doing. Belize City is an intense place to be, and I think that the Center is a place where people can come rest from the chaos of life and grow in the love of God." In 2016 she and her husband became Quakers, and without a local Meeting to attend, started their own worship group called Quaker house church. "ESR has been transformational for my life and ministry," she shared. "I have a clearer understanding of my gifts and callings and how to use them, and I have a network of people I can reach out to for support when I need it. My classes have been amazing, and I have developed friendships that I hope will last my whole life. I love ESR and I am so grateful for the opportunity to study here - and the opportunities that studying here has led to."

The Quaker Professional Scholarship is awarded to an individual currently employed by a Quaker organization and provides up to 5 years of 50 percent tuition for a full-time, degree-seeking student admitted into ESR Access, our distance-education program. The goals for the ESR Quaker Professional Scholarship are to cultivate spiritual gifts, build leadership capacity, and foster a networked community of employees dedicated to service among Friends and fully equipped for continued ministry to the wider world. This year's recipient is Beth Henricks.

Beth Henricks is currently an Access student and has served as the Associate Pastor at Indianapolis First Friends for the past seven years. She has also served on the boards of Right Sharing of World Resources, Quaker Voluntary Service, and FCNL. "My studies at ESR have greatly impacted the work I do at First Friends and on these other Quaker boards," Beth shared. "Taking classes on spiritual formation, prayer, conflict transformation etc. have deepened my spiritual practice as well as giving me practical skills in how to deal with conflict and how to take care of myself as a pastor."

Congratulations to Kaia, Nikki and Beth, and we hope you will help us encourage them on their continued ministry paths!