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BERKELEY, CALIF. July 3, 2012 – Church Divinity School of the Pacific today announced a new Bishops' Scholars program that will provide full-tuition scholarships at the seminary for students identified as leaders by local Episcopal bishops.
The new scholarships for students in either lay or clergy career paths also feature a promise by participating bishops of at least two years of employment for each Bishop’s Scholar following graduation from CDSP.
The Bishops' Scholars program, approved by the CDSP Board of Trustees in May, offers a response to two critical needs of the Church – the ability to attract strong leaders and to provide them with employment opportunities – said CDSP President and Dean W. Mark Richardson.
The first Bishops' Scholars are expected to arrive in the Fall of 2013 and will pursue one-, two- or three-year programs of residential study, depending on their course of study. The new scholarship program was announced in Indianapolis, Ind., at a meeting of Province VIII deputies to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, which opens July 5.
The Bishops' Scholars may pursue graduate degrees or academic graduate certificates offered by CDSP, as postulants or laity.
Richardson said that the Bishops’ Scholars program is "more than another new scholarship” because it creates covenants between CDSP and diocesan bishops in support of the Church and community: CDSP commits to provide tuition-free scholarships; diocesan bishops commit to employing graduates in appropriate clerical or lay positions for at least two years, with compensation appropriate for the position in accordance with normal diocesan pay standards.
CDSP Bishops' Scholars will be nominated by diocesan bishops based on demonstrated leadership as servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for their desire to learn. CDSP envisions that approximately 10 scholarship recipients each year will pursue residential Master of Divinity, Master of Arts or graduate Certificate programs and that students will come from the US and abroad. It is expected that Bishops' Scholars will meet or exceed normal CDSP academic admissions requirements; CDSP will work closely with diocesan bishops to support their selected candidates in making successful admissions applications.
"The Bishops' Scholars initiative represents a creative and timely collaboration between CDSP and dioceses seeking to help worthy candidates for lay and ordained leadership in the church obtain an excellent theological educations,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of Ohio.
Hollingsworth, who was a member of the CDSP Board of Trustees that created the Bishops' Scholars program, said the fact that the program "challenges and motivates dioceses and their bishops to provide post-seminary positions that will continue the formation of those graduates will do much to attract exceptional leaders for the future."
"I look forward to the Diocese of Ohio taking advantage of this great opportunity."
The new scholarship program complements other available CDSP scholarships for the wide variety of residential and low-residential degree and certificate programs that CDSP offers for both clergy and laity.