Awards Presented to Fernley Scholars (2020)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

T. James Fernley, III (1947-1974) was a seminarian at what is now known as Episcopal Divinity School (“EDS”).  Following his untimely death in 1974, his family and friends established a memorial fund for seminary students.  

Generous contributions allowed the fund to expand its scope of scholarships for this fund that was previously administered by a Board of Trustees which included among them the Rector of St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh. The Board of Trustees transferred the management of the funds of the T. James Fernley, III Memorial Fund (“Fernley Fund”) to The Church Foundation in 2005 and arranged for the scholarships to be administered by the Aid to Theological Students Funds Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Since that transfer as of June 30, 2005, scholarships have been distributed and the fund balance has grown from $227,868.96 to $ $ 478,570.37as of May 31st, 2020. 

John Connor
Emily Given
Chris Micklewright

John Conner, postulant/Seminary: Nashotah House (photo on top)

A lifelong Episcopalian and resident of Newtown,  Pennsylvania, John was encouraged to pursue a vocation to Holy Orders from a fairly formative age. It was during his time as an undergraduate at The Pennsylvania State University though (BA in English Literature, 2016), where he led the  student Episcopal fellowship, that he began to consider his call in earnest. During his vacations home he was active as an altar server and ministry intern at S. Clement’s Church in Center City and became well acquainted with the catholic expression of Anglicanism. Following graduation and a formative internship at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania he began his discernment process at S. Clement’s, eventually being declared a postulant for the priesthood by Bp. Gutierrez in April of 2018. John began his studies for the completion of his Masters of Divinity at Nashotah House in the fall of the same year. It was at this time that he began his relationship with St. Phillip’s in New Hope, Pennsylvania and Fr. Michael Ruk, rector. Following a successful first year at seminary he returned to Newtown to complete his Clinical Pastoral Education program at S. Mary’s Medical Center in the summer of 2019.  Though the latter half of his Middler year at Nashotah (2019-2020) was largely overshadowed by the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, it regardless proved to be a time of growth and important formation. This past year saw John active in the field work component of his studies where at Zion Episcopal Church in Oconomowoc, PA he preached, led classes, served at the altar and provided pastoral care to parishioners. He also serves as a research assistant for a professor at Nashotah. This summer he has opted to remain in Wisconsin in order to further his studies by taking a course in patristic theology as well as working in Nashotah’s chapel and helping the aforementioned professor with her book on the role of law in the work Francisco Suarez. As he looks ahead to his senior year at seminary, he finds myself increasingly grateful for the way God’s providence has provided for his thus far, especially in the support material and spiritual that the Diocese of Pennsylvania has continued to show him. It is his earnest prayer that he will be able to somehow return this gratitude toward his diocesan family in his future ministry by serving her people at her altars.  

Chris Micklewright, postulant/Seminary: Virginia Theological Student (photo right)

Chris Micklewright is a postulant for holy orders in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Chris and his wife, Heather, have been members of the Church of the Good Samaritan for more than 14 years, where they fell in love with the Episcopal liturgy and tradition. During that time, Chris has served as a youth leader, a vestry member, and a small group leader. Chris has also taught the youth confirmation class for several years, to include writing original curriculum which is now being used at other churches. Over the past 8 years, Chris and Heather have been blessed with three beautiful sons, Corin, Elias, and Desmond. In down time, Chris enjoys reading, hiking and biking, home-improvement projects, and playing all manner of games with family and friends.  Professionally, Chris holds a PhD in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College, and he taught for several years at Eastern University. During that time, Chris developed a particular interest in the connections between mathematics and the Christian faith. However, the financial challenges facing so many colleges led to an unexpected layoff in 2018, forcing Chris to wrestle anew with calling and vocation. Through a lot of prayer and discernment, it became clear that God is calling Chris into vocational ministry within the Episcopal priesthood. Starting in the fall of 2020, Chris will be working toward a Masters of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary. He looks forward to serving in the Diocese of Pennsylvania at the conclusion of his formation process. 

Emily Given, postulant /Seminary: Church Divinity School of the Pacific (photo lower left)

Emily Given is a Postulant for Holy Orders to the priesthood and serves as Director of Engagement and Communication at St. Thomas, Whitemarsh. Her background is in social work, professional organizing, and Christian formation. Emily’s work at St. Thomas’ includes welcome ministry, new member incorporation, communication in all forms, stewardship, planned giving, and special projects. Mother of two daughters and one corgi-shepherd mix, Emily is an avid gardener, mixed media artist, beach lover, and live music fan.  She is always ready for an adventure that includes delicious food, interesting people, and uncharted places.  Emily is the author of the Building Faith Brick by Brick series from Church Publishing and travels the country as a retreat leader, conference planner, and speaker. Emily loves having a full house of friends and family, which she carries into her perspective in ministry.  She understands that something sacred happens when the people of God are gathered and seeks to make that happen as much as possible.  Having sensed a call to the ministry in her teens, Emily is grateful to return to her roots in the Diocese of Pennsylvania to live into this call to gather, bless, and send within the very communities who formed her. She is committed to mass incarceration reform and seeks to honor and uphold the beloved-ness of each person within the church and beyond.  Chaplaincy, creative formation across the ages, nontraditional ministry, and the call to create intentional communities sets her heart on fire. 
Emily will begin her seminary studies this fall through distance learning at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. 

Susan Hammer
Bailey Kimmel
Kristen Ostendorff

Kristen Ostendorf, postulant/Seminary: General Theological Seminary (photo top)

Kristen Ostendorf will begin her Master of Divinity studies at General Theological Seminary in New York City this fall. She has worked as an educator, primarily a high school history teacher, for about 15 years, and a newspaper reporter and copy editor for five years before that. Born in St. Louis, Kristen came to the East Coast to follow her career in journalism after she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with dual degrees in journalism and sociology. She earned her master’s degree in social studies education from Rutgers University in 2004 and has taught in a variety of environments. Most recently, she taught American and global history at the William Penn Charter School, a Quaker school in East Falls. She lives in Ambler with her husband, Philip, and two daughters, Abigail and Tessa. While baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, Kristen found her spiritual home in the Episcopal church and began to discern a call to ordained ministry. Kristen has been active in a variety of ministries at her home church, Trinity Ambler, including serving with and coordinating the lay eucharistic ministry and the healing prayers team, and helping coordinate services on Zoom during the pandemic. In addition, she is engaged in anti-racism work and has facilitated workshops for the diocese, her church, and educators on the topic of white privilege. Kristen has regularly engaged in ministry with the most vulnerable in Philadelphia, including in the past as a volunteer at St. Mark’s in Frankford, and most recently working with people who are unsheltered and suffering from substance abuse as part of an outreach effort of the Catholic Worker Clinic and The Clare Project in Kensington. 

Susan Hammer, postulant/Seminary: Moravian Theological Seminary (photo right)

Susan is a lifelong Christian and an Episcopalian and she has been a middle school Social Studies educator for twenty-six years.  This last decade, she was more involved at church and took on various leadership opportunities.  With her family’s support, she seriously discerned a call to serve God.  Her time of discernment culminated with her family’s belief in her which motivated the pursuit of ordination to the priesthood.   She attends Moravian Theological Seminary (MTS) in Bethlehem, PA.  MTS has helped her to grow, explore, and study with people of other faiths and paths.  This ecumenical community is providing a well-rounded education with its diverse courses and forming her as a 21st-century minister who cares for all.  Susan states “this scholarship will ease my financial burden at seminary, allowing us to help with Emily’s senior year at Temple University and the anticipation for Ryan to attend college in 2022.  I hope my continued studies will allow me to learn and share the love of God as a way to honor the memory of T. James Fernley, III.  Thank you for supporting my studies while also easing the financial burden of seminary. I want to express my appreciation as the recipient of the T. James Fernley, III scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year.”

Bailey Kimmel, postulant/Seminary: Virginia Theological Seminary  (photo left)

Bailey was born and raised in Devon, Pennsylvania as an Episcopalian in her home parish of Saint David’s Episcopal Church Radnor. Born and raised an Episcopalian her family immersed her in church activities. After graduating from Rutgers University with a major in Animal Science she felt called to discern a life and role within the Church. She worked for the Episcopal Mission Center in Philadelphia where she was able to explore her passion for youth ministry and mission work as she led youth groups around the city conducting service projects. To then enhance her experience and knowledge of a variety of Episcopal dioceses, she then participated in the Episcopal Service Corps, Seattle ServiceCorps, as a corps member where she worked closely with local Episcopal Churches as a youth minister and advocate for at risk youth. While in Seattle she began early discernment for Holy Orders and became a postulant in the Diocese of Pennsylvania on January 1, 2020. She is now pursing her formation with a Master of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. Outside of the Church her hobbies include horseback riding, hiking, kickboxing and training her dog to become a therapy animal for future ministries. She can usually be found outside or with a four-legged creature closely nearby.