Each year, Oklahoma City University presents the Bishop’s Scholar Award to deserving new high school graduates as a part of its effort to identify and support academically advanced United Methodist young people who are committed to careers in Christian service to the Church. We are very proud to announce the Bishop’s Scholars for 2010.
From the age of 14, Molly Kate Been has acknowledged the call of God upon her to full-time ministry. This comes as no surprise to those who know her well.
Her family has been active in Pocola-First UMC for generations. She has followed this tradition by participating in Vacation Bible Schools and nursing home visitation and volunteering at church camps for children with special needs. Her pastor, Darin McCarty, credits her leadership in restarting a dormant youth program at that church.
Muskogee District Superintendent Linda Harker first met Molly at Pocola UMC, and conversations followed at church camp. She said Molly "is well respected wherever she goes."
Kaleb Oakleaf is a young man of many talents. In high school he was a member of the baseball team and Future Farmers of America. He served two years as a Student Council representative, played alto saxophone in two bands, and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
When he sensed God’s call upon him for ordained ministry, he pursued that calling with the same energy and passion.
At Pond Creek-First UMC, Pastor Sonja Tobey guided him through the initial stages of discerning his call. Rev. Tobey wrote, "He is in every Bible study I teach, and he is active in Sunday school, worship, and youth group."
Kaleb attended the recent Annual Conference session in Tulsa as a youth delegate from the Enid District. He also already has had many opportunities to preach; he is trained as a Certified Lay Speaker.
Nathan Dunn is eager to begin his journey toward a degree in youth ministry at OCU. At his home church, Klein UMC in Spring, Texas, he is known as a respected leader among the young people and an active participant in mission trips, including one to Belize.
His high school teachers noted that Nathan does not settle for merely acceptable work; he strives for excellence. This has enabled his success in extracurricular activities, such as Speech & Debate Team and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, while maintaining good grades and working part-time.
It is when speaking about his faith that Nathan’s passion for ministry becomes evident. He is intentional about learning from positive role models at the church and following the example of Jesus.
Pastor Mark Young wrote, "Nathan loves the church. He exemplifies what all pastors are looking for: people who desire to be in discipleship and grow in their faith."
Maggie Ball, vice-president for University-Church Relations, notes that all applicants for this award often are eligible for other scholarship assistance. We encourage all clergy and laypersons to identify youths in your congregations who express interest and ability in ministry. Encourage them to apply to become a Bishop’s Scholar and for other OCU scholarships as well.