James B. Duke once said that if he ever amounted to anything, it would be because of the preaching of rural church pastors. As part of Mr. Duke’s commitment, The Duke Endowment helps train aspiring and practicing clergy for leadership in rural communities by providing scholarships to various programs at Duke Divinity School.
The longest-running of the Endowment-funded scholarships supports field placements in rural North Carolina churches for students pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree. The Endowment first funded field education in 1926 and has invested in its growth and development since. All divinity students must have at least two field placements during at least two field placements to graduate.
The Endowment also provides scholarships for pastors in rural United Methodist Churches in North Carolina to attend clergy leadership programs at Duke Divinity School:
- Convocation and Pastors’ School, an annual three-day gathering featuring prayer, speakers and seminars, convened by the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of The United Methodist Church.
- Convocation on the Rural Church, an annual gathering that focuses on issues of rural church life.
- Study Leave for Ministry Professionals, a week-long, self-directed study experience on the Duke Divinity School campus.
- Course of Study for Ordained Ministry, an alternative route to ordination for those not wishing to pursue a Master of Divinity degree. The Duke Endowment provides rural participants with scholarship assistance.
Each program allows practicing pastors a chance to examine and strengthen their rural leadership skills and commitment while remaining engaged with their congregations.