At its meeting on September 14, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board unanimously approved a change in name for the Financial Aid for Studies office to Financial Aid for Service.
The name change formalizes a shift from an emphasis on education purely for the sake of education to education for a life of discernment and service.
“Since study is a means and service is the desired end for all Christians, the name change has theological resonance,” said Laura Bryan, associate for Financial Aid for Service. “While this office will continue to serve Presbyterian students by awarding them money to go to school, our goal is to simultaneously engage those students in a dialogue about who God created them to be.”
As the successor to the office of Financial Aid for Studies, Financial Aid for Service—part of the Office of Vocation—will continue to manage scholarship, grant, and loan programs for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) while challenging undergraduate and seminary students to explore the meaning of vocation.
Another of the office’s goals is to keep students connected with the church. Vocational discernment—a process of listening for where God is leading and what God is calling one to—involves not just the individual but the whole faith community, since calls to service are confirmed both by God and by the community.
“We would like this office to provide students with support and encouragement in making one of life’s most important decisions,” Bryan said. “Whether they are studying astronomy, nursing, computer technology, theology, or teaching, we want to communicate to them that they are called by God through their education to use their God-given gifts and talents in a life of service.”