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Jerre and Mary Joy Stead

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead invest $1,000,000 in theological education for the central conferences


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June 28, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jerre and Mary Joy Stead of Scottsdale, Ariz., have committed $1,000,000 to The United Methodist Church’s efforts to increase and strengthen opportunities for theological education for church leaders in regions outside the United States. These regions are referred to by the denomination as central conferences.

In the central conferences, which include seven areas of Africa, Europe, and the Philippines, obtaining a theological education can be challenging. Seminaries are too far away or too expensive, seminaries struggle to find well-trained professors and to provide library resources in essential languages, courses of study for initial and continuing education need to be developed, and scholarships are needed for initial and post-graduate studies.

The philanthropic investment from the Stead family will help fund a long-term solution to these challenges through the Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences (Endow F-TECC). Established by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church in 2014, Endow F-TECC will provide sustainable, long-term support for theological education for clergy outside of the U.S.

The Steads consider their charitable gifts as investments and focus on organizations and programs that they expect to succeed. Jerre Stead, who is a lifelong United Methodist and currently serves as Board Chair of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., said, “Mary Joy and I are pleased to make this investment, we believe that forming trusted leaders is one of the most transformative impacts we can have on the world. We are delighted to participate in the future of The United Methodist Church through Endow F-TECC and excited to see its success.“

Further extending the impact of their investment, the Stead family has issued a challenge to other United Methodists. To encourage additional support for Endow F-TECC, the Steads will fulfill their commitment on a one to four basis as others come forward with support. For example, each $400,000 secured from other sources will unlock $100,000 of the Stead family pledge. Once complete, the Stead Challenge will result in a minimum of $5,000,000 to this critical ministry.

Offering gratitude on behalf of the Endow F-TECC Board, Chairperson Bishop Patrick Streiff of the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area stated, “Through their investment and the Stead Challenge, the Steads will inspire new support and bring Endow F-TECC much closer to realizing our mission of providing education rooted in the Wesleyan tradition. As the Bishop in an area of more than a dozen major languages with no United Methodist seminaries except for German, I well understand the importance of this ministry and extend my heartfelt thanks to the Stead family.”

One of the priorities for Endow F-TECC is using technology to provide e-learning opportunities to students and to better connect United Methodist schools and faculty. This is already being done successfully in Europe through the Methodist e-Academy. Endow F-TECC hopes to establish similar networks and programs, under the umbrella of “New Avenues in Theological Education,” in Africa and the Philippines. The other key program areas of Endow F-TECC will focus on providing scholarships, supporting human capacity through faculty development and expanding access to resource materials in a variety of languages.

A minimum of $25,000,000, and support from all United Methodists, is needed in order for Endow F-TECC to accomplish its goals.


About the Stead Family – Jerre Stead currently serves as chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of IHS Markit, a global information company offering expertise in the areas of energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply-chain management. He has served as a trustee at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary since 1991 and currently serves as chair of the board of trustees. Jerre and Mary Joy have a history of supporting theological education, including endowed gifts for the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values and the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Chair of Christian Social Ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Endow F-TECC is grateful to be counted as a partner to the Steads as they do great work in the world.

About the Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences – Endow F-TECC was created by the Council of Bishops to bring long-term, sustainable support for theological education. Endow F-TECC works in partnership with the Commission on Central Conference Theological Education, which will determine how funds are allocated and provide oversight of how funds are being used once the endowment goal has been met. To learn more, visit our website:  

Media Contact:
Laura Buchanan