By the Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero
From a pool of qualified and impressive candidates, the Servant Sister Scholarship Team, in partnership with the Clergywomen’s Collective, is happy to announce the first two recipients of this annual award.
Talina Sarmient Beck is a student at Wesley Theological Seminary and a certified candidate in the deacon track in the Virginia Conference. She currently serves Chester UMC on the James River District, where she facilitates small groups with women. Through the church’s partnership with the local YMCA she also serves Greenleigh, a mobile home Latinx immigrant community. Talina is following her call to ministry among immigrants in pursuit of justice and reconciliation. About receiving the award Talina said, “Being one of the first recipients of the Servant Sister Scholarship is an honor and a big responsibility. There is in me a feeling of humility, knowing that many women worked to make this award available to me and that they trusted me to use this help to keep building God’s reign on earth.”
Alyssa M. Densham serves as Associate Pastor of Discipleship at the Kingstowne Communion in Alexandria. A certified candidate in the deacon track, this fall she will begin her final year at Wesley Theological Seminary, pursuing her M.Div. Alyssa Alyssa M Densham serves as Associate Pastor of Discipleship at the Kingstowne Communion in Alexandria. A certified candidate in the deacon track, this fall she will begin her final year at Wesley Theological Seminary, pursuing her M.Div. Alyssa brings to her work a rich background in community development and institutional change. She has worked with the National Farm to School Network and the Peace Corps. In her role as Army spouse she has been honored for her work on behalf of military families. About receiving her award, Alyssa said, “This scholarship means the world to me. It honors my mother who taught that service is our response to God’s work in our lives. It also reminds me that God’s call isn’t just to gain knowledge but to transform the world as co-laborers with God. I am so grateful for this gift that makes my education possible, while also reminding me of the kingdom-building purpose of that education.”
Wesley Theological Seminary will receive $1,000 towards the tuition for each of these recipients. These awards come from the Servant Sister Scholarship Endowment, funds raised in honor and memory of the clergy women of the Virginia Conference who have served God and the church faithfully. As funds become available, the next scholarship cycle will begin in the spring of 2022. A call for applications will be announced through the Conference e-newsletter and on the website of the Center for Clergy Excellence.
If you would like to support women who are pursuing ministry in the Virginia Conference, please send your contribution to The Virginia United Methodist Foundation, 10330 Staples Mill Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23060, noting Servant Sister Scholarship. The Foundation will also accept transfer of securities. For more information, contact Jan Rivero, firstname.lastname@example.org.
—The Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, United Methodist Clergy, Retired