Awards Presented to Fernley Scholars (2023)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023

Fernley Scholars for 2023

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

The following people have received funding in 2023.  They have provided their own background to share below. 

Debora K. Brown

Debora is currently a postulant in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.  She is in her second year in pursuing a Master of Divinity at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.  Debora is enrolled in the Latinx Concentration as part of her theological studies at the seminary.  She recently completed Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Ascension Seton in Austin.

In addition to Debora’s 22+ years’ experience in the field of child welfare, she has been recognized for her work as a social worker by receiving The Children’s Crusader Award from the City of Philadelphia. Combined with her professional career, Debora has been active in her community and parish as a lay leader, speaker, teacher, prayer warrior and Eucharistic Minister.

Debora earned her Bachelor of Social Work from Temple University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.


Anne Alexis Harra

Anne Alexis Harra is a postulant to the priesthood and has begun her theological studies at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS)in Alexandria, VA.  She is a lifelong Episcopalian in a strong lineage of women who came before her. Prior to starting at VTS this fall, Anne Alexis worked in full-time lay ministry at her beloved sending parish, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Chestnut Hill, where she served as Minister for Children, Youth & Families. She is exceedingly grateful to her partner, parents and family, sending parish, and diocese for their support as she begins this next chapter. Anne Alexis is passionate about Jesus, the Book of Common Prayer, exercise, travel, and iced lattes. She is a proud cat mom to Laney and Nellie, and an even prouder godmother to Will.


Kathryn Brossa

Kathryn Brossa is a postulant for holy orders to the priesthood in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, a part-time student in the General Theological Seminary’s Hybrid MDiv Program in New York City, and seminarian in residence at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.

Originally from Houston, Kathryn has made Philadelphia her home for the past 14 years. She works full-time as the registrar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The generous award of the Fernley scholarship will help to cover the cost of books, travel, and lodging for in-person weeks on the Close at General and on campus at Virginia Theological Seminary for Kathryn over the next year. These intensive weeks of in-person worship and study provide a foundation for year-round learning at General and are a key part of Kathryn’s formation and well-being as part of General’s first hybrid cohort. Because of this award, Kathryn will be able to continue to form lifelong relationships with classmates and instructors from across the country.

At the heart of Kathryn’s ministry is the Gospel promise of the presence and coming of God’s kingdom and the belovedness and dignity of every human being. Her hopes for her call and continuing ministry are that she can show forth the light and love of Christ Jesus to all those around her and bring healing to the divisions formed by the mistaken belief that some can be unworthy of God’s love. Truly, the Gospel message teaches us that all are made worthy in the Image of God and the redemptive love shown forth in Christ Jesus.


Madeleine Harris

Originally from North Carolina, Madeleine received her BA in Philosophy from Eastern University. She spent three years working in the diocese of Pennsylvania as a member of the Episcopal Service Corps, serving both at St. Mark’s Church, Phila. and St. James School. Madeleine’s sponsoring parish for ordination is St. Christopher’s in Gladwyne. She is gearing up to finish her final year at Yale Divinity School and could not be more thankful for the support she received from the Fernley scholarship. Finally, she and her wife, Annie, are joyfully expecting their first child this coming November.