LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (June 11, 2018) – Chase Burns of First UMC, Jacksonville; Cheyann Bolin-Chambers of Cherry Valley/Vanndale UMC; “Annie” Mary JoAnn Meek of Hendrix College Religious Life, Conway; Robin Roark of First UMC, Sheridan; and Heather Sprinkle of Dover UMC have been named United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas Seminary Scholarship recipients for 2018 by a committee from the Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.
The UMFA Seminary Scholarship Fund, established in 2000, awards grants for scholarships to Arkansas students attending three-year United Methodist seminaries. The students make a covenant to return to Arkansas to pastor as Elders in United Methodist churches after completing their seminary studies.
“The UMFA Seminar Scholarship program has a significant role in ensuring strong pastoral leadership for the Church in years to come,” said UMFA Vice President of Development Janet Marshall. “These students will touch the lives of thousands of United Methodists during their years of service to the Arkansas Conference.”
Sprinkle is a seminary student at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Helping to the launch of the “More than Manna” Wednesday evening meal program at First UMC, Russellville, and organizing a summer Bible study there helped her learn that people need to be asked to lead because they may not see their own potential. She has been active in the River Valley Prevention Coalition, served on the board of the Dover Public Education Foundation, and was a writer for The Courier.
Roark, a student at Saint Paul School of Theology in Leawood, Kansas, serves as youth director at First UMC, Sheridan, where he is proud to have increased the youth participation from eight to 22 in six months. In the past, he was a leader in the youth and children programs and served on the Administrative Council at White Hall UMC. Roark has been a high school English teacher in North Little Rock and White Hall.
A recent graduate of Hendrix College, Meek plans to attend Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Formerly a member of the Baptist church, she fell in love with the UM missional commitment to health, wellness, justice, and compassion, along with its critical commitment to discipleship, vital community, and congregation building. As a UMYF Scholar and Chaplain’s Associate at Hendrix, Meek had the opportunity to preach, lead, and write for worship.
Chambers is a part-time local pastor at Cherry Valley/Vanndale where she preaches, makes pastoral visits, and conducts funerals. She works with the Cherry Valley food pantry which feeds about 100 families each week. Before becoming a pastor, she was a volunteer in the children and youth programs. A student at SMU Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, she is the recipient of a Clergy Excellence scholarship at Perkins.
Also a student at Perkins, Burns previously attended Memphis Theological Seminary. He is a part-time minister of youth at First UMC, Jacksonville. At 15, he became a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association and through that organization has ministered in prisons, at motorcycle rallies, and on the road. He served as music director at Levy UMC where he began his process of discernment. Burns is the recipient of a Perkins Scholar award.
The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas manages $165 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and United Methodist ministries. UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, the Foundation is responsible for over 800 funds that support United Methodist ministries.