The Theological Education Scholarship Fund for Women in the South (TESF) was established in 2001 as a means to increase the number of women in ordained ministry and to enable women from a wide network of Reformed churches in the south build their capacity for effective partnership in God’s mission.
Below Everlyne Nekesa Biboko, a recipient of a scholarship, describes her situation and the impact the scholarship has had on her life.
More information on the scholarship, as well as application forms, can be found online here: http://wcrc.ch/theological-education-scholarship-fund-for-women-in-the-south/
At the moment I am studying for a master’s degree in theological studies at Eden Theological Seminary and began my second and final year this fall. I hope to advance my education to a Ph.D. level that will enhance my scholarship and teaching in seminaries and universities. I currently live in St. Louis, Missouri, and am originally from Kenya. I belong to the Reformed Church of East Africa in Kenya, Kitale Presbytery.
From 2001 to 2003 I studied for a diploma of theology at the Reformed Institute for Theological Training (Eldoret, Kenya) and before that for a bachelor of divinity degree at St. Paul’s University (Limuru, Kenya). I became aware of the Theological Education Scholarship Fund for Women while at St. Paul’s University.
The scholarship helped me to acquire my bachelor of divinity degree from St. Paul’s University and was it not for this fund, I would not be undertaking my master of theological studies.
Challenges facing my church and other churches in Kenya are the endless debate against women ordination and leadership. It is a challenge that has traditionally been implanted in the traditions and constitutions of many churches.
I would like to become a minister and a theological educator in either a seminary or Christian university to help influence ministers in formation to have positive support and involvement of women in ministry. The Reformed Church of East Africa does not ordain women, and I know education is a power that can help have positive change towards women’s involvement in ministry.
Subordination of women in the community is an issue that needs to be dealt with, and I will work to empower women over their rights that have been taken away from them and encourage them to speak out the injustices against women. I will be in a position to encourage other women to see ministry as duty for all and encourage them to get involved.
It is important to be involved in my church as a woman because traditionally ministry has been a male oriented task, and women’s involvement will help to break the barriers. I believe when we have many women theologians with higher levels of education this will influence the system and intellectual formation of ministers towards change.
I would like to tell girls and women who want to pursue theological education that ministry is for all–both men and women–and it is a noble calling to study theology and become a minister/educator who will be counted upon for the well being and development of the church and the world at large. I believe those called can accomplish these tasks and what they need to do is to believe in themselves, have a positive image and have a positive impact on others.
I would like to thank the WCRC for their continued support of women’s theological education and request that you expand the fund to support many women and even to the Ph.D. level. I have confidence that education is power. Thanks for allowing me to be part of this programme.