Skip Navigation

GCAH Distributes $10,000+ in Grants, Awards, and Scholarships

Featured GCAH Distributes $10,000+ in Grants, Awards, and Scholarships

The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) of The United Methodist Church (UMC) is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of six awards, grants, and scholarships: the John Harrison Ness Memorial Award, the Josephine Forman Scholarship, the Women in United Methodist History Writing Award, the Women in United Methodist History Research Grant, the United Methodist Racial/Ethnic History Research Grant, the World is My Parish Grant, and the newly created United Methodist History for Children and Youth Curriculum Grant.

“At GCAH, we believe and experience every day the power of history not merely as remembrance but as an active engagement, the past pointing to purpose, the DNA that makes us who we are, forming how we live-into the future,” said Rev. Fred Day, general secretary. “By pulling the stories of difference-makers in our tradition off the shelves and presenting them to the church, we inspire the church to challenge and pioneer new mission opportunities. These awards help ensure that this vital ministry of the church is continued by the next generation.”

The John Harrison Ness Memorial Award was presented to Joyce Vanderslip, a third year M.Div student at Perkins School of Theology, for her entry “Albert Outler: A Builder of Interfaith Relations." The award, given annuallyin memory of John Harrison Ness (1891-1980), pastor, conference superintendent, and denominational executive in the Evangelical United Brethren Church,honors students enrolled in M.Div. programs in United Methodist or other seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools who submit the best papers on one aspect of United Methodist history. 

“I am humbly grateful for this recognition,” said Vanderslip. “It is an honor to have had a small part in bringing to light this little known, yet very important work that Dr. Outler was engaged in over most of his career. He, together with others at Thanks-giving Square, Dallas, Texas, had a vision that through a commonly shared spirit of gratefulness, people of diverse faiths throughout the world could find a precious slice of common ground: a sacred, divinely inspired space in which to build understanding, mutual respect, and ultimately, deep friendship. This could not come at better time in our history. Dr. Outler’s work is both pioneering and inspiring.”

The Josephine Forman Scholarship was presented to Ashley Flores, a first year student in the Library and Information Science program specializing in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. The scholarship, administered by GCAH in partnership with the Society of American Archivists (SAA), provides financial support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, encourages students to pursue a career as an archivist, and promotes diversity within the American archives profession. The scholarship is given to applicants who demonstrate excellent potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it.

“The Josephine Forman Scholarship is an important means for bringing more diversity into all aspects of the archival profession and I know that it would provide me with the financial resources that would allow me to complete my degree expeditiously and to take full advantage of the many opportunities to engage with indigenous and other community archiving endeavors that studying here in Los Angeles makes possible,” said Flores.

The Women in United Methodist History Research Grant provides seed money for research projects relating specifically to the history of women in the UMC or its antecedents. Selection is made by a committee consisting of three persons who are historians of women in United Methodism. This year this grant is sponsored by Rebecca Fallon in honor of her father, Dr. Lawrence Sherwood, Jr. The newly announced 2019 recipients are a Ph.D. student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Alex Gunter Parrish, for his proposed research dealing with the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church using manuscript resources at Ohio Wesleyan University, and Janet Allured for her research dealing with “Southern Methodist Women, 1940 – 1990s: Agents of Progressive Change.” 

“I am grateful to the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church for selecting me as a recipient of the Women in United Methodist History Research Grant,” said Parrish. “The grant demonstrates the Church’s commitment to honoring the work of countless Methodist women, many of whom served anonymously ‘for the love of Christ and in his name.’ The grant makes it possible for me to continue research on the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which operated in the United States between 1880 and 1939. I look forward to sharing more of this research in the near future.”

The Women in United Methodist History Writing Award is awarded to encourage and reward excellence in research and writing about the history of women in The United Methodist Church or its antecedents. Selection is made by a committee consisting of three persons who are historians of women in United Methodism. The 2019 recipient is Kristina Roth, a provisional elder in the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church.

“This award means a lot to me as my paper was written on Georgia Harkness,” said Roth. “I am so grateful for the work of Georgia Harkness who paved the way for women like me to become fully ordained. Winning this award right before commissioning is very special.”

The United Methodist Racial/Ethnic History Research Grant was awarded to Chan Spigner for her project entitled “The Vitality of the Relationship between African Americans and The United Methodist Church of South Carolina, 1968-2018.”

The World is My Parish Research Grant was distributed to Simao Jaime, a member of The United Methodist Church in Mozambique, the current President of the Board of Higher Education; and former member of the General Commission of Archives and History. The grant is given to enable the collection of written and oral history and encourage research regarding the development of the UMC and its antecedents in any of the conferences not in the United States. Jaime’s project is titled “Chronology of the History of Kambine Mission (1885 – 1992).”

The final award was given to Erin Wasinger for the newly created United Methodist History for Children and Youth Curriculum Grant.  This grant is designed to provide seed money (research, group collaboration, peer review) for the creation of a curriculum suitable for teaching the history of The United Methodist Church. 

“I'm so grateful for the support of the General Commission on Archives and History. This grant will fund the research, peer collaboration, and writing of original, storytelling-based curriculum about the people and past of the United Methodist Church,” said Wasinger. “At the local church level, we want our kids to understand why we meet each week, what it means to be United Methodist, and how our UMC founders and torch-bearers inform our faith. It's our intent that through these stories, we might ignite kids' imaginations for authentic life in Christ in their 21st century lives.”

Wasinger is an elementary school librarian, writer, journalist, storyteller, and content creator for blogs, podcasts, and curriculum. She co-authored The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith For the Rest of Us (with Sarah Arthur; Brazos, 2017; foreword by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove), and is the creator of Pray, Gather, Play: A Storytelling Method for God-Hungry Kids. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband and three daughters. 

For more information on grants, awards and scholarships offered by GCAH, please visit: