Why Give? Because your support matters

Claremont School of Theology is committed to preparing religious leaders to serve in local churches, non-profit organizations and academia. After graduation our alumni/ae can be found throughout the United States and around the world Creating a Difference for the World We Live In.

Most of our students require financial aid to pursue their calling. Due to the generosity of our donors and alumni/ae many of our students are able to receive scholarships.

Beyond scholarship there are many other opportunities to support CST. We offer our students and alumni/ae one of the top theological libraries in the country. The extensive print and electronic resources are made possible in large part due to donations. Ten of our faculty positions were established due to the generosity of donors establishing endowed chairs.

Tuition covers just half of our operating costs each year. Without the generosity of our donors we could not continue to offer our students an academically rigorous education. Your gift will matter, regardless of your area of interest, or how you choose to give. Your gift allows the next generation of religious leaders and scholars to pursue their call to serve.

John and Barbara Shaffer were eager to share the story of how they came to establish an endowed scholarship fund at Claremont School of Theology.  They want people to know that even though they are not wealthy, they’ve found ways to generously support charitable organizations, and in fact have become philanthropists.   John has always been a Methodist minister and Barbara has served in the public sector.  They lived a simple life, saved their money, and invested it wisely which, in turn, allowed them to give generously to CST and other organizations.  They hope their story will inspire others to give.

John spent most of his ministry in Alaska where he served 6 different churches over a period of 33 years.  In 1995 he was appointed to the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference where he retired in 2008.  While in Alaska, Barbara worked for the governor’s office while also serving The United Methodist Church in a number of leadership roles at the conference, jurisdictional and national levels.  The Shaffer’s have exemplified a life of service.

Barbara began considering a gift to CST while attending the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida.  She knew there was controversy about the school’s new interreligious focus since she was part of a committee discussion about whether or not the school should remain an official United Methodist seminary.  Barbara agreed with the interreligious focus, felt this was the right direction for the school, and wanted to do something to signal her support.  She returned home, discussed the situation with John and contacted the school.

They decided to fund a scholarship because they knew that seminary tuition is expensive.  Their generosity is reducing the debt that CST students are undertaking in order to pursue their call to ministry and service.

Alumnus, Tony Ubalde, may be retired, but he certainly isn’t slowing down.  In fact, after retiring from 37 years of ministry in the California Nevada Annual Conference, he decided it was time to direct his energy to elected office.  He was first elected to the board of a community college district.  Most recently, he was elected the president of both the Board of Education for Vallejo City Unified School District and Vallejo Community Access Television.  For people who know him well, this isn’t a surprise.  Throughout his life Tony has combined his passions for ministry and social justice, and elected office was a logical next step.

Tony received his Doctor of Religion from Claremont School of Theology in 1973.  He says his degree has opened so many doors for him and he is extremely grateful for his experience at CST.  When asked why he has been making contributions to the school for the past 36 years, he says, “Every morning my heart is swelling with joy that I can make a difference in this life, and CST has been crucial in my ability to do that.”

Now Tony’s generous gifts are making it possible for a new generation of CST students to Create a Difference.

Mark Bollwinkel received his Doctor of Ministry from Claremont School of Theology in 1979. His excellent pastoral ministry eventually called him to Los Altos, CA UMC, where he served for fifteen years.  He then transitioned into a semi-retired role as a pastor in Carmel, CA where he serves as pastor at Church of the Wayfarer.  Mark is very supportive of CST and has served on the Board of Trustees since 2006.

Mark is a member of the Maclay Society, a distinguished group of benefactors who plan to leave a legacy with CST through their estate plan. When asked why Mark and his wife Bonnie are making a bequest to CST he listed several strong reasons.

The years Mark spent as a student at CST helped him to establish his academic and spiritual foundation.  He credits CST with helping to direct his personal and professional life as a parish minister. It was at CST that he developed a commitment to life-long learning. That commitment has made a significant difference in his life – a difference he wants others to be able to experience for generations to come.

“We need new ministers,” Mark says. “We are experiencing a period of tremendous transition in the life of the church. We need leaders who can think outside of the box. CST has a tradition of providing progressive excellence and creativity for Christian Churches in general.”

Mark’s vision will ensure that he can help future CST students to develop their own commitment to life-long learning to the benefit of the church and the world.