UMC scholarships aid GNJ students pursuing careers of service

January 20, 2023 | | GNJ News, Next Generation Ministries

In 2022, 29 United Methodists in Greater New Jersey received $52,800 in scholarships for higher education from the denomination’s Office of Loans and Scholarships. They are among over 2,000 grateful students who received a total of $4 million last year.

“These future leaders range from first-year to doctorate-level students,” said Allyson Potts, executive director of the office, which is administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).

While they are pursuing various careers at various institutions, many are pursuing ministry vocations at different seminaries. Seven recipients are attending Drew University Theological School in Madison.

Jack Tironi

“It’s been such a blessing to my education to receive scholarships from GBHEM,” said Jack Tironi, a youth pastor with a degree in Sociology, who is earning a Master of Divinity degree. He is President of Drew’s Theological Student Association and hopes to become an ordained minister. “I felt a call to ministry in my senior year of high school,” said the lifelong member of First UMC Blairstown.

‘I am grateful to the church for helping students like me’

“There’s no doubt that college can be very expensive, and all of this could not have been done without such generous gifts,” said Tironi. “I am grateful to the church for helping students like me.”

Roeline Ramirez

Roeline Ramirez said her scholarship enables her to enjoy her learning and preparation for ordained ministry at Drew. “The scholarship helps me to continue my studies and have an internship at two churches in Jersey City (Trinity UMC) and Union City (First UMC), while enjoying the life of being a wife and mom with a clear path to where God is leading me in my pastoral ministry journey.”

Monica Kudakwashe Mafarachisi’s scholarship is helping her earn an MDiv. Degree in social justice advocacy at Drew. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Greater New Jersey Conference and to be a recipient of a GBHEM scholarship,” said the aspiring deacon.

Christabel Zimbeva

Christabel Zimbeva, originally from Zimbabwe, serves as a Mosaic pastor at Community Church of Hoboken. She feels “privileged, honored and blessed” to be selected for her scholarship. “It has assisted me greatly in having a good life while studying, and I am forever grateful,” she said.

Heeyoung Jung

Heeyoung Jung is a Ph.D. student at Claremont School of Theology, having earned theological degrees from Drew University and Union Theological Seminary in New York.

“My first connection to the GNJ conference was at Drew, while I was studying for an M.Div degree,” she recalled. “It’s my mother church and conference in the USA, even though I wasn’t involved in the UMC’s ordaining process. UMC scholarships always helped me to study and work together in seminary and the church as a mom, a student and a minister. I always appreciate your help in supporting my continuing studies.”

GBHEM’s Potts also appreciates GNJ churches, especially for their Special Sunday offerings that help many hard-working students pursue dreams of service through ministry and other fields. Those offerings are received in churches on United Methodist Student Day, World Communion Sunday, and Native American Sunday. Other sources of scholarships include gifts, annuities, and endowments GBHEM has invested and administered for decades.

United Methodist students may apply for a Fall 2023 GBHEM scholarship online until March 30, at View the video “GBHEM Scholarships Make an Impact in the Lives of Students.