As I’ve stated in this column in the past, scholarships represent one of the most important uses of funds donated to Perkins School of Theology. Not only do these scholarships aid deserving students, they help Perkins to attract the best and the brightest.

As we start a new semester at Perkins School of Theology, we would love to introduce our community to our outstanding group of Perkins Scholars. The Perkins Scholars program provides additional scholarship support to exceptional Master of Divinity candidates; the scholarship follows them through all three years of their M.Div. education. Here are our 2021-2024 Perkins Scholars!

Name: Azeez Akande
Hometown: Shreveport, LA
Undergrad Institution: Texas Wesleyan University
Degree: Psychology and Religious Studies

Call to Ministry: I have wanted to be in ministry since as far back as I can remember. The pull of ministry has been a major factor in my life, leading me to start my work as a minister in 2016, attend Texas Wesleyan and to apply to SMU.

Name: Macy Block
Hometown: Montgomery City, MO
Undergrad Institution: Central Methodist University
Degree: Religion and Church Leadership

Call to Ministry: God called me into ministry when I was a senior in high school; the plans I had for myself didn’t end up working out (who would’ve known, right?) and I decided that I loved Jesus, loved going on mission trips, and loved working with younger people. Then, the passion for youth/young adult ministry started to rise and I learned the necessary steps to become an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. I still plan on being ordained as such, with a focus on youth/young adult ministry, I am so excited to see where the Lord leads me in my future with Perkins School of Theology!

Name: Michaela Calahan
Hometown: Carrollton, TX
Undergrad Institution: University of Texas at Dallas
Degree: Sociology

Call to Ministry: My life purpose is to live authentically and show the love of the trinity though lifestyle evangelism and generosity. I am pursuing my M.Div. to ensure that my passions and beliefs are theologically sound. I am from a church background and know the work the church can and should do to support faith journeys, communities through outreach, and the fight against systematic inequality.

Name: Sara Cowley
Hometown: Brea, CA
Undergrad Institution: University of Arizona, undergrad; U. of Illinois Chicago, master’s degree
Degree: Creative writing, undergrad; master’s degree in Disability and Human Development

Call to Ministry: I am called to sit with human pain and examine the reparative relationship humanity has with God.

Name: Colin Craft
Hometown: Irving, TX
Undergrad Institution: McMurry University
Degree: Religion

Call to Ministry: I was called to ministry when I was in high school. Since high school, I have explored and discerned that God is calling me into ordained ministry in the UMC.

Name: Jacob Dunn
Hometown: LaRue, TX
Undergrad Institution: University of Texas at Tyler
Degree: History

Call to Ministry: I received my call to ministry at 15 while at Lakeview Summer camp. My granddaddy is a preacher, so I initially ran from my calling. A year later, I surrendered to God, and ever since, I have followed the path to be an elder in the United Methodist Church, where I believe God is calling me.

Name: Pauline Henry
Hometown: Midland, TX
Undergrad Institution: Texas Tech
Degree: Bachelor’s degree in nutrition and pre-professional health; master’s degree in Business Administration

Call to Ministry: In all honesty, parenting was the holy interruption that led me to a place of discernment.  It was in the weight of such love and responsibility, in intercession, and letting go that I’ve experienced a shift in consciousness and realized the gift of prayer.  I started seeking parents that might need a place to be in community and started the Be Encouraged group at Flower Mound UMC in 2017.  The women are amazing and I feel so humbled to witness their stories.  I believe in the church and the community that we find there!  I’ve taught children’s Sunday School, chaperoned youth at their confirmation retreat, and continue to work as the Adult Discipleship chair.   I found that there’s important work in small groups. This is where we engage the scripture, engage souls in discussion, and where we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirt and it gifts us with the mecca of inspiration; the promptings to pursue, to learn, to create, and to grow!  I have yet to name what that will become of this call and the soul work that is still at work.  In the meantime, there’s much to do in fully participating in the work of the church, in practicing compassion.

Name: Leslie Norris
Hometown: Hoover, AL
Undergrad Institution: Millsaps College
Degree: Communication Studies

Call to Ministry: I feel called to be ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. I love working in local missions and community outreach, but I also am passionate about serving the church with my knowledge of communication and marketing.

Name: Luke Thomson
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Undergrad Institution: Texas A&M
Degree: Political Science

Call to Ministry: I’ve been drawn to ministry my whole life and believed God was calling me to vocational ministry by late middle school. However, by the time I was starting at A&M, I had decided ministry may be somewhere down the line, but it was not for me anytime soon. A few days at the Texas A&M Wesley Foundation and prayer helped change my mind. I decided to pursue my call to ministry. I’m working towards ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church and am excited to be studying at Perkins for the next phase of my call to ministry.

Name: Lily White
Hometown: Austin, TX
Undergrad Institution: Mary-Hardin Baylor
Degree: Bachelor’s degree in church music

Call to Ministry: After 14 years in the hospitality industry, I am answering a call from God to ministry.  I believe God has called me to utilize the best hospitality has to offer to help the church be a beacon of light for everyone, a source of love and acceptance to people who have experienced little of either, and a safe place for people of faith to ask questions and learn truths.

Name: Rachel White
Hometown: Sumter, SC
Undergrad Institution: Stetson University
Degree: Religious Studies

Call to Ministry: After going on my first mission trip six years ago, I knew ministry was where I was supposed to be. Throughout the remainder of my high school and college career, I took every opportunity available to me. I went on five more local mission trips, as well as a month-long internship in Nakalanda, Uganda. I was also able to intern at my local United Methodist Church in the children’s and youth ministry department. This provided me with the necessary skills to take on a full-time youth director position upon completing my undergraduate degree. While I have only been a youth director for a few months, I have already seen the amazing ways God is continuing to use me and my spiritual gifts. I am beyond blessed to continue my education at Perkins with the goal of becoming an ordained minister for the UMC.

Name: Tricia Wilkinson
Hometown: Zachary, LA
Undergrad Institution: Louisiana State University
Degree: Biochemistry

Call to Ministry: It has taken me a long time to accept my call to ministry. As a child, I had a dream where God told me the purpose of my life was to serve him. Even though I didn’t really know what that meant. That has stayed with me since then. I am currently serving as a supply pastor in the Louisiana Annual Conference and plan to pursue ordination as an elder after graduation.

 

Sincerely, 

John A. Martin
Director of Development