VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/13/23)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is delighted to announce that Jolly A. Guisti Santaella has been named this year’s recipient of the Daniel E. Weiss Scholarship. In September, Guisti Santaella will be starting the Master of Divinity program at Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico.
Currently in the pre-ministerial process to become an endorsed pastor in the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico, Guisti Santaella has been active in her church, the First Baptist Church of Santurce, since 2008, serving in the music ministry, the youth ministry, as an assistant treasurer and the secretary of the board of directors of the church.
Says Guisti Santaella: “Since I was really young, I have been very passionate about serving. Generally, I love to just be of service to the people I know. And I had so many [traumatic] events that shaped my way of being. And I became more receptive to the love of God, and the voice of God.” After an extended period of discernment, she answered the call to become a minister.
During that time of reflection on her vocation, Guisti Santaella also became more sensitive to social issues in her community. They shaped her sense of mission: “Here in Puerto Rico, we have demographic problems. We have many older people who are alone. They don’t have their families here, because [younger] people are looking for better jobs in the United States…this population in our church is growing. I believe that what I am called to do is to attend to this population in our congregation that needs companionship. To me, that means to love and to feel God’s love.”
The Master of Divinity program at Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico will take Guisti Santaella at least four years to complete. The Weiss scholarship, a three-year, merit-based renewable award for up to $8,000 per academic year, will assist her with the tuition costs.
To be eligible, a student must possess a 3.0 undergraduate grade-point average, be entering an American Baptist-affiliated or other accredited seminary, be a member in good standing at an American Baptist church and remain committed to the growth and sustainability of the denomination.
The award is provided through the Weiss Fund of Excellence, established by the late Rev. Dr. Daniel E. Weiss, who served as general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, 1988-2000. The scholarship is administered by ABHMS’ Office of the Executive Director in collaboration with ABHMS’ Leadership Empowerment team.
Weiss, who died on Aug. 22, 2020, left behind a legacy of Christian leadership. This legacy is now conducted through organizations such as the Weiss Fund, working to help uplift new American Baptist leaders with the help of this scholarship award.
For more information about other scholarship opportunities available through ABHMS, visit abhms.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.