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August 22, 2002

Students and Ministry

Calvin students Joanna De Moor (left) and Jeremy Vecchi (below), both seniors in 2002-2003, are among 70 students nationwide who have $1,500 fellowships this school year from the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), an Atlanta-based organization founded in 1954 to encourage excellence in Protestant ministry.

FTE began by giving scholarships to promising seminarians and then began its fellowships for undergraduates four years ago to help college students consider careers in ministry. This year's awards went to 28 men and 42 women, representing 20 denominations and 55 undergraduate institutions.

In addition to the scholarship, Fellows attend a summer conference on excellence in ministry where they meet students and religious leaders from across the country.

"The experience was fun but very challenging," says Vecchi. "My understanding of ministry, faith, God, Christianity, the church, and salvation were challenged more than they ever have been."

Through an FTE connection Vecchi even found out about a workshop in New York City this summer on contemplative prayer that he ended up attending.

For DeMoor the summer conference was an equally important event.

"It was just amazing," she says, "to be a part of a community of Christians like that, coming from different backgrounds but all coming together recognizing we are living for the same God."

Both students are already active as undergrads in preparing for lives of service.

A double major in Religion and Social Work, DeMoor already has worked three years for Camp Tall Turf (a Grand Rapids-based camp for low-income kids), volunteered in Jerusalem during a four-month exchange program with Jerusalem University, sung with Calvin’s gospel choir and participated in service projects.

She says: "I think my life should be my ministry: in the grocery store, on the road, in class, at home, and in whatever profession I end up choosing. My faith is a huge part of my identity and sharing it, whether in a profession or simply in day to day life, just makes sense."

The Fellowship came at a perfect time for Vecchi, who had recently swapped his Physics and Math double major for a Religion major and Greek minor. Though he hopes to go to seminary or graduate school and perhaps teach, Vecchi says, "I plan to let the Spirit lead and not make any big plans."

He too is involved in lots of extracurricular activities at Calvin. He plays guitar at Calvin's innovative Jazz Vespers services, leads dorm hymnsings and has been a member of the Student Activities Board, Dance Guild and a campus poetry club.

De Moor attends Madison Square CRC in Grand Rapids, and her home church is Inglewood CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Vecchi’s home church is Christ Community Fellowship (Evangelical Free Church of America) in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

~with reporting by media relations student reporter Abe Huyser-Honing

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
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