The Perkins Financial Literacy Program (FLP) works to empower students to make wise financial decisions. Initially funded through the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Economic Challenge Facing Future Ministers Initiative (ECFFM), FLP provides fully transparent information about the cost of a theological education and connects students to financial resources. Students can then effectively take charge of their own financial path through graduate school and beyond.
This year, the Perkins FLP is focusing on educating students through Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well Being, a six-week, faith-based money management curriculum for congregational or clergy groups. Using the expertise of United Methodist leaders across the connection, through videos, a workbook and devotional materials, the curriculum provides the text and tools needed to address the topics of saving, earning, giving, spending and debt.
Over the summer, five Perkins students took part in a small group study, and 15 members of the Fall 2022 incoming class participated in a virtual session. Here’s what some of our students had to say:
“The Saving Grace course was something I didn’t know I needed. It opened conversations that encouraged me, helped me and challenged me regarding how we exist and interact as human beings in the world… I have gained a better mindset when it comes to navigating financial matters in a faithful, sustainable and peace-filled way.”
“Now that I have completed the Saving Grace program, I am confident in my savings and spending. I have become more conscientious about how the Lord leads us in our financial journey. I highly recommend taking this course to better our financial understandings!”
“With the life transition into ministry and seminary, I took the Saving Grace course in the middle of an extreme shift in my financial situation. Perkins offering Saving Grace not only helped me meet the requirements for a very significant scholarship award, but it also gave me the opportunity to intentionally think about my finances during seminary and beyond…We took a grace-filled look at our finances in a safe and affirming space.”
In September, FLP hosted Sharon L. Killion, a Retirement Income Certified Professional. Having worked in the financial services business for more than 20 years, Sharon has a wealth of experience and was recognized by Texas Monthly as a 2022 Five Star Wealth Manager award winner. She provided Perkins students, staff and faculty with retirement and saving techniques, and tools to prepare for the future.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, November 16 at 11:30 a.m. as FLP sponsors a virtual Perkins Community Worship service. This special service will be led by current students, and a fiscally minded sermon will be provided by the Rev. Shunda Wilkin (M.Div. ’22). Shunda is a Deacon in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church and a student in the Doctor of Ministry program at Perkins. Click here to join the service on Nov. 16.
FLP remains committed to the goal of the ECFFM initiative. We are grateful for the lessons we’ve learned as we work to strengthen the financial well-being of our students. We continue to research materials that lend support to our students and can be delivered via the newsletter, e-news and Web resource page. Feedback from participants—students, staff, and faculty—supports our steadfast conviction that this work is relevant and significant.
Financial Aid and Literacy Coordinator