Chaunté McClure, an Erskine Theological Seminary (ETS) student from Britton’s Neck, S.C., has been chosen as the first recipient of the newly established Emanuel AME Church Scholarship at ETS, established in honor of Mother Emanuel AME Church.
So far, McClure’s seminary experience has been “a constant juggle,” she said. “Seminary is demanding, and having responsibilities and expectations as a wife, professional, and minister makes it all the more challenging.”
In fact, she came close to passing up the opportunity to apply for the scholarship because she was so busy.
“The application was due near the end of the semester,” she said, when she was also facing deadlines for “an exegesis assignment, a final exam, and two systematic theology papers.”
During the week of the application deadline, she managed to complete her essay and comply with other requirements.
Shortly before Christmas, she received the letter notifying her that she had received the first Emanuel AME Scholarship. “I was elated! I considered that an early Christmas gift, one I almost missed out on,” McClure said.
McClure is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast journalism, and works as a Web communications strategist at Columbia International University. She is married to Staff Sergeant Stanley McClure, a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve.
An ordained preacher and member of Bethel AME Church, she leads college ministry, teaching a weekly Bible study for college students and young adults. “I also lead the risk-taking mission and service efforts where we get involved in community outreach efforts,” she said.
McClure recalls that after preaching her first sermon, she wanted to “know more” and “become a better preacher.”
“After looking into a few seminaries, I decided to apply to Erskine based on the organization’s beliefs, degree programs, cost, and location.”
McClure is now enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at ETS. “Earning my M.Div. will satisfy one of the requirements to receive the ordination to become an itinerant elder in the AME Church,” she said.
In the midst of her juggling act, she finds that “One of the greatest rewards of being a seminary student is gleaning from the ministry experience and academic and biblical knowledge of the professors.”
Once she earns her degree, what’s next for Chaunté McClure?
“I am actually seeking God’s direction for what’s next,” she said. “I have an interest in chaplaincy, but I want to be certain I’m doing what He wants. I am certain of my calling to preach the Gospel, and that I love, and will continue to do.”
The Emanuel AME Church Scholarship was established following the presentation of a $10,000 gift to Erskine Seminary by IBelieveSC.net, which sponsors a South Carolina license plate of the same name. With the reception of the initial gift, the seminary began the process of establishing the scholarship, which is to be given to AME students in memory of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight members of Emanuel AME slain during a shooting at the church June 17, 2015. See more about the scholarship here.