NAMED SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Gloria Carr is an African American woman, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and a nurse who is a Spirit-led, compassionate child of God. She serves as an Elder at Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church in Memphis, TN and has held leadership positions within the Regional Church. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, focusing on Chaplaincy and Spiritual formation and renewal.
Gloria has been bartering with God for a few years about seminary. She has been practicing Gideon’s confirmation and affirmation strategies and has asked God to show her a way. In 2019, God brought the idea of chaplaincy full circle. During the last days of a 30-year neighbor and friend, whose death occurred one month to the day of the death of her husband, her son asked Gloria to accompany him when doctors came in to discuss his mother’s treatment and prognosis. He also wanted Gloria to spend time with his mother. While she was visiting her in the hospital, one of the chaplains that Gloria worked with when she was an ICU nurse came to pray with her. This chaplain had a heart for people and prayed the simplest, yet powerful prayers Gloria had ever heard. When the chaplain was there, she felt a sense of peace and her mind reflected once again on chaplaincy and seminary.
In her spirit, heart, and mind, Gloria believes God is calling her to chaplaincy. Therefore, she moved forward in faith and accepted the call to seminary. Further, she trusts that God will continue to shape her as she moves forward on the journey.
Melvin began his ministry at Mill’s Grove Christian Church in Oakland, CA. He is currently in the last two semesters of his M.Div. program at Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, CA. Residing in Orlando, FL, he attends Central Christian Church, where he gathers weekly for fellowship, nurture, and education. Through his preaching, Melvin desires to be a prophetic voice in activism and social justice.
Seven Alexander Gardner hails from South Jordan, UT and is an acute care chaplain at Primary Children’s Hospital Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. They also have a small caseload of GIP hospice patients scattered throughout several hospitals. They are married and have been with Krista for 19 years. They have a dog called London. Seven is in seminary at Iliff School of Theology. In ministry, they are honored to say that they have recently been called to serve through St. Francis of Assisi (DOC), which is the CC (DOC) church within the women’s prison, as a re-entry minister helping folks get set up when they get out.
SEVEN ALEXANDER GARDNER
Marvin Lance Wiser grew up in rural Tennessee and was raised in the a capella churches of Christ. He studied psychology and Bible at Harding University before going on to teach English in Mexico City. He received his M.Div. in 2013 from Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS), now at Yale Divinity School, where he was an interreligious fellow with Hebrew College Rabbinical School and completed a certificate in Interfaith Leadership. He also completed certificates at the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) in International Mission & Ecumenism and Religion & Conflict Transformation via coursework at ANTS, Harvard Divinity School, Boston College, and Boston University. He was ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Boston in 2013. Marvin was the archivist for the Sanctuary Movement Oral Histories and has worked at migrant labor justice centers. He will be graduating with a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in May 2023.
Marvin defended his dissertation titled “Belonging to Work and Working to Belong: Dissimilation and Differentiation Among Deportables Beyond the River,” which employs Latinx studies framed by postcolonial anthropological and sociological understandings of theories of labor, migration, and ethnicity, deriving a nuanced understanding of representations of Judean ethnicity during the Persian period as found in the biblical books of Ezra-Nehemiah and Ruth. Marvin has standing in the Northern California-Nevada Region and has Ordained Ministerial Partner standing with the United Church of Christ. Since 2018, he has been the Bilingual Associate Pastor at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward. He is married to the love of his life, Yuliana, a native of Mexico City and a Marriage & Family and Narrative Therapist, who is also the Director of the Newcomer Navigation Center in Alameda County, serving asylum-seekers. They have two wonderful daughters and a cute pup named Pancho.
REV. MARVIN LANCE WISER
Connie Miroslaw is an M.Div. student at Claremont School of Theology and serves as the Music Ministry Leader at Foothills Christian Church in Glendale, AZ. Her music ministry and calling began over 25 years ago after a pastor heard her sing and invited her to be on the worship team. She has a true passion for singing and leading worship and to engage others into a spiritual worship experience through prayer, reflection, and song. She is a lifelong musician and has played several instruments including the clarinet, saxophone, and guitar. She has also worked in the accounting/finance field for many years and holds an MBA in this industry. She resides in Phoenix, AZ, is married with two children, and loves to hike, travel, and play music.
Sandy is an M.Div. student at Claremont School of Theology and is scheduled to graduate in May 2023. As a member of Pacific Beach Christian Church in San Diego, CA, Sandy has served as Children’s Education Director, teacher, elder, and president of the congregation. Currently, Sandy is serving in her M.Div. field education internship at University Christian Church in San Diego, unusual in that she had served the same church as a commissioned pastor from 2010-2015!
Sandy came to ministry while working as a military contractor with the US Navy. The call to ministry in 2004 was unexpected, and Sandy took the long way around in terms of ministerial education. She enrolled in the Certificate of Ministries Studies Program through Disciples Seminary Foundation, completing the three-year course in 2009. In 2010, Sandy began commissioned ministry at University CC. However, over the years, the call to further education beckoned, and DSF, along with Pacific Beach CC, supported and helped Sandy enroll at Claremont School of Theology in 2018.
Throughout her time in seminary, Sandy has remained involved with social justice concerns (including LGBTQIA+ and workers’ rights) and serves on the region’s Church in Society Committee. Post-graduation, Sandy will remain under care for ordination, and will explore related areas of ministry, including church music and worship, and teaching in a church environment, as well as continuing a research project examining evangelism in 19th century American children’s literature.
Zade is a fourth-generation Disciple in his final year in the hybrid M.Div. program at CST. Zade has served in many leadership roles at Foothills Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, AZ, and now serves Community Christian Church in Tempe, AZ, as a Seminarian Intern. He remains committed to justice-oriented ministry and mission. Zade has volunteered with several Foothills missions — asylum seekers, refugee resettlement, Navajo Nation assistance throughout the pandemic, food banking with our interfaith partners, green chalice initiatives around eco-justice, and children's ministry. Zade has introduced many new initiatives that he's learned from Foothills to Community Christian Church.
Zade is also a kid's yoga instructor passionate about teaching youth the spiritual nature of embodiment to help them emotionally regulate everyday life stressors. He has integrated yoga into church camp and will continue this necessary work. In fact, this semester, one of his significant class projects is creating and managing a two-day interfaith “Good Trouble” youth day camp centered on compassion and creative justice during spring break. Finally, Zade is committed to elevating the collective conscience of the Disciples' denomination around LGBTQ+ inclusion. Navigating his complex intersection allows him to see the potential for realizing healing, wholeness, and expanding God's Table, where all are welcome to participate.