The Stassen Scholarship, which covers full tuition plus a generous stipend, is named for the Rev. Dr. Glen Harold Stassen (1936-2014), a leading Christian ethicist in the Baptist tradition, who taught for 20 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and nearly 20 years at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Stassen, renowned for his work on the Sermon on the Mount and his theory of Just Peacemaking, was the teacher, mentor, friend and co-author of the Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer.

The University gratefully acknowledges the generosity of Dr. Kathleen Stassen Berger, the sister of Glen Stassen, who provided the funds for the Stassen Scholarship, with the hope of nurturing promising young leaders who demonstrate ethical commitments in the lineage of her brother and of the Stassen family as a whole.

A 2010 University of Georgia graduate, Hayes spent 10 years in full-time Christian ministry before coming to Mercer to pursue a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) with a concentration in Christian ethics. A talented speaker and writer, she has produced award-winning devotional pieces for In Touch Ministries magazines and is currently collaborating with Q Christian Fellowship to create content advocating as an ally for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the church. She hopes to pursue doctoral work in the field of Christian ethics.

Hayes is the University’s third Stassen Scholar. Grayson Hester, a third-year student, and Christian Ingram, a second-year student, received the first two scholarship awards.

Hester, a graduate of Carson Newman University who hails from Jefferson City, Tennessee, is most passionate about racial justice and queer justice, particularly in how these identities and aims intersect within and outside of the church. He also has a deep commitment to ecological justice.

Ingram was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and graduated from Mercer’s undergraduate religion program. He is undertaking a dual degree program, pursuing both an M.Div. in Christian ethics from McAfee and a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling from the College of Professional Advancement. Ingram seeks to focus on serving those in the black community who struggle with oppression and ostracism due to race,gender and sexuality.

Stassen Scholarship recipients are selected as a result of a highly competitive process involving the cooperative efforts of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer, led by Dr. Gushee, and the admissions team at McAfee School of Theology.

About the School of Theology

The Mercer University School of Theology, named for James and Carolyn McAfee, who provided the founding gift for the School, forms Christian leaders whose practice and scholarship, empowered by their passion for God and neighbor, change lives and transform communities. The School accomplishes this mission by: 1) integrating spirituality with service through: practicing spiritual disciplines that nurture us for Christian service; embracing ethnic, gender and theological diversity to enhance our spiritual growth and moral formation; creating opportunities to learn in community, experience transformation and risk action; 2) integrating theological inquiry with prophetic vision through interpreting the story of the Christian faith through sacred scriptures and traditions; connecting faith to global contexts in ways that engage personal, communal and political realities; critiquing the structures of our society from an informed prophetic voice; 3) integrating worship with witness through celebrating God’s presence in worship as the source of the Church’s call to community and global transformation; reading cultural contexts to create holistic strategies for ministry; proclaiming the love of God in Jesus Christ through dialogue and in partnership with others.

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