Religious Life

Center for Calling & Christian Leadership

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The Center for Calling and Christian Leadership seeks to mentor young persons from the beginnings of discerning a call to ministry and throughout the vocational discernment process to professional church leadership. It will offer programming in a variety of areas, including worship leadership, shadowing, orientation to ministry, spiritual formation, peer support, internships, and service-learning opportunities.

Eva Englert-Jessen smallRev. Eva Englert-Jessen serves as the Center's Program Coordinator, made possible by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas (UMFA). Its mission is to create and support programs for young United Methodists (ages 12 and up) to explore and discern their calls to lay and ordained ministry and church leadership, and to support young clergy in sustaining their calls to ministry through civic engagement retreats and intentional mentoring relationships. The grant also provides funds for events, travel, and additional program support. 

Eva Englert-Jessen (SLTC 131, 450-1459; mailto:

Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, which contains more detailed information about: 

  • our programs and links to applications for upcoming trips
  • reflections from Center participants
  • recent photos of what we've been up to recently
  • things happening around the ARUMC Conference
  • job and internship opportunities. 

Upcoming Events with the Center:

Beginning September 9: Exploring Ministry Together (EMT)! Open for all AR college students discerning a call to ministry. Come be in community with other peers who are discerning a call, hear speakers share about their own experiences, and learn about opportunities for lay and ordained ministry. 

Full Fall 2019 EMT Schedule:
All take place on Mondays in the Hendrix Religious Life Office, either prior to or after Hendrix Chapel services at 6:30pm.

  • Sept. 9, 7:45pm: First gathering and introductions
  • Sept. 16, 7:45pm: Community study/sharing time 
  • Sept. 23, 7:45pm: Rev. David Freeman, guest
  • Sept. 30, 7:45pm: Study night 
  • Oct. 7, 5:30 in Hendrix Caf (exact room TBA): Dinner with Bishop Mueller of ARUMC Conference, followed by Chapel with Bishop preaching
  • Oct. 14: No EMT (Fall Break week)
  • Oct. 21, 5:30pm, location TBA: Faith and justice panel (also open to Hendrix Youth Institute alumni!) Stay tuned for more information.
  • Oct. 28, 7:45pm: Study night
  • Nov. 1-3: Exploration (see application and information below) 
  • Nov. 4: No EMT
  • Nov. 11-12: Perkins School of Theology Visit & Fall Convocation (more info. below)
    The first night will be listening to speakers, including well-known travel writer Rick Steves. The second full day will involve a tour and information about the seminary. We will leave Monday afternoon and be back on campus late Tuesday night.
  • Nov. 18, 7:45pm: Summer plans conversation (come hear about opportunities for summer 2020 internships and experiences!)

September 22-25: First retreat for new 2019-2021 cohort of Hendrix Clergy Institute for Civic Engagement

September 28: Quest: An ARUMC program for 3rd-6th graders to learn about call, Wesleyan theology, and participate in a service project. This year's theme is "Enjoying God," and includes a lot of creation themes. Eva will teach a few class rotations alongside other Arkansas clergy and ministers, and will coordinate a lunchtime service project on composting and reducing food waste as part of our biblical commandment to be stewards of God's creation. Let Eva know if you'd like to volunteer!

October 16-19: Fall seminary group visit to Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Applications are available HERE

November 1-3: UMC Exploration event in Orlando, FL. Applications available here!

November 11-12: Perkins School of Theology Fall Convocation and Seminary Visit           This year's theme is "Mission Through the Back Door," with speakers including Rick Steves (well-known travel writer)! The seminary visit will include a tour, plus opportunities to visit a class, hear from current students, and learn about the application process and financial aid.

On the Radar: Spring Semester 2020

TBA: One-day EMT retreat and possible Orientation to Ministry gathering 

March 21-27: Spring Break Vocation and Service Trip to Denver, with visit to Iliff School of Theology

This year's vocation and service trip theme is faith & environmental justice. We will meet with lay and ordained ministers working in this field, volunteer and visit organizations and churches who are doing this work, and engage in conversation around vocational discernment. We will also visit Iliff School of Theology.

An important note-- please read:

The Center for Calling is only able to pay for one visit for interested students per school year, excluding the Perkins visit OR the vocation & service trip to Denver (which will include a visit to Iliff School of Theology). Students may not apply for both individual funding and attend the group seminary visit to Wesley. 

In other words, students CAN and are encouraged to apply for all of the following:

-Wesley trip

-Exploration trip (Nov. 1-3)

-Perkins trip (Nov. 11-12)

-Denver Vocation & Service Trip, which will include a visit to Iliff School of Theology Trip (March 21-27, 2020)

This does not guarantee that someone who applies for all four will be chosen for all four, so that we can invite as many eligible students across the state as possible. Special consideration will be given to first-time applicants to Center for Calling programs, and/or to students who have not visited a seminary in the last year.

Recent Events:


Grace Rogers (Hendrix ’21), Angela Ramsey (SAU ’21), Rev. Corey Read (Ordained elder and Wesley Foundation Director, SAU), Rachel Shepherd (Hendrix ’20), Emily Autry (University of the Ozarks ’19), Lincoln Reynolds (U of A ’19), Chad Hornsby (Hendrix ’20), Gracie Rymel (U of A ’20), Wendell Smith, Jr. (Philander Smith ’19) at the Museum for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta, during a visit to Candler School of Theology. 


Rev. Eva Englert-Jessen of the Center for Calling & Christian Leadership, Rev. Jonathan Griesse of Elm Springs UMC Springdale, Rev. Teri Daily of All Saints’ Episcopal Church Russellville, and Ginny McMurray, Interim VP of Development at Hendrix, attended this year’s Early Career Pastors Gathering through the Lilly Endowment. The cohorts of early-career clergy across the nation gathered to share ideas and hear speakers reflect theologically on resilience and creativity. 

Epworth Meth Museum

March 16-21, 2019: Vocation & Service Trip to Epworth by the Sea on St. Simon's Island, GA: The trip included two days of service work on St. Simon's, visits to the Methodist museum and other Wesleyan heritage sites, and intentional conversations about vocation and discerning a call to lay and ordained ministry. 

Participants included students Angela Ramsey (SAU '21), Gracie Rymel (U of A '20), Lauren Oury (ASU '20), Lynnley Dodd (ASU '22), Mallory McClure (UCA '22), Harper Purifoy (Hendrix '19), and Lacey Crosby (Hendrix '22). Trip leaders included Eva Englert-Jessen, Revs. Corey & Dan Read, and Miranda Donakey.

June 2019: Lacey Crosby (Hendrix '22) led the Hendrix and Center for Calling table at ARUMC Annual Conference.

July 2019: The Center for Calling hosted an "explore calling"-themed booth at Youth 2019, the national UMC youth gathering, in Kansas City. 

Senior High Assembly: Eva served as a small group leader for ARUMC Conference event Senior High Assembly, supporting high school students who feel called to ministry. The Center also led a session on call for students, and co-led a session for seniors on life after high school with Eva, Rev. J.J. Whitney, Michelle Moore (Developer of Clergy Recruitment for the ARUMC Conference), and three AR college students (Rachel Shepherd, Hendrix '20, Lacey Crosby, Hendrix '22, and Gracie Rymel, U of A '20). 

Ctr Intern Celebration

July 2019: Closing celebration for our first summer of pastoral interns with the Center for Calling, and another summer of interns with the Miller Center. These students and supervisors are amazing, and we are so grateful for all their labors of love, ministry, discernment and service this summer.