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
  • photos of recent events
  • things happening around the ARUMC Conference
  • job and internship opportunities. 

Upcoming Events with the Center

Exploring Ministry Together (EMT) Gatherings: Winter/Spring 2020

Unless otherwise noted, all take place on Mondays in the Hendrix Religious Life Office (RLO) at 7:45pm. 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.

January 25- Orientation to Ministry at the Conference Office: Center will treat students who attend to ice cream afterwards!

February 3- First EMT, 7:45 pm in Hendrix RLO

February 10- Amanda Moore, guest (Hendrix Career Services, MDiv, spiritual director)

February 17- Study Night (President’s Day)

February 24- Rev. Kate Alexander (ecotheology adjunct at Hendrix, Episcopal priest)

March 2- No EMT (Steel Hendrix)

March 9- "Faith And" Panel: Faith & Mental Health (dinner served; time & speakers TBA)

March 16- Study Night

March 23- No EMT (Spring Break)

March 30— Speaker TBA

April 6- Vocational discernment through spiritual practice: bread-baking, time & location TBA

April 13- Vocational discernment through practice: journaling, RLO @ 7:45pm

April 20- Senior Night, 7:45pm at ZaZa's

Saturday, January 25, 9:00-4:00pm at the ARUMC Conference office: Orientation to Ministry gathering, followed by ice cream or dinner on us! 

  • Thinking about ordination? 
  • Not sure if you are, but curious to hear more about the process in the UMC?

Come to the Arkansas Conference Orientation to Ministry!
You'll learn all about the process, including the fundamental aspects of call in the Bible, what it means to tell a call story, and about the many pathways to ministry that the UMC offers. We'll also do some singing and close with Communion. Lunch is provided. If you decide to move forward with the process, you will have completed the first step! 

March 21-27: Spring Break Vocation and Service Trip to Denver, with visit to Iliff School of Theology (applications available here!) 

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. All students are welcome to apply, even if you're not sure if eco-related work is your thing! Our exploration of this topic will be broad, with intentional connections made to other topics and theologies, as well as some practical ways that churches can do creation care-work whatever their context is.

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 vocation & service trip to Denver (which will include a visit to Iliff School of Theology). Students who attended the Wesley seminary visit and the Exploration event are welcome to also apply for this trip.

Announcing Center for Calling 
Summer 2020 Pastoral Internships!

  • Are you a UMC pastor in Arkansas who loves to mentor college students? Would you be interested in hosting an intern in summer 2020? It's not too early to start thinking about it! 
  • Are you a college student who is discerning a call to ministry and want an opportunity to gain some leadership and ministry experiences in a church? 
    • Do you want to not only gain skills and experience in a church, but be intentionally supported and mentored along the way?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out the CCCL Summer 2020 Internship Interest Form and Application Here! It contains everything you need to know about what this internship program is, including nuts and bolts of hours and pay, mentoring expectations, and more.  This form is applicable for both prospective interns and church hosts. 
The "please complete" section of the form is not due until December 13, but we're putting it out now so you can begin thinking about it if you're a student, and thinking about it and talking to your congregation if you're a pastor. Please reach out ( if you have any questions or concerns.  

Recent 2019-2020 Program Year Events

picture1Arkansas college students, seminarians and clergy at UMC Exploration in Orlando. 

picture2ARUMC college students visit Wesley Theological Seminary with Miranda Donakey (Hendrix Chaplain Intern) and Rev. Chase Green.


Exploring Ministry Together presents a special faith and justice panel, featuring a variety of UMC elders, deacons, and laypeople (Rev. Paul Atkins, Rev. Haley Jones, Rev. Will Choate, Samantha Black, Rev. Brittany Richardson Watson, Malik Saafir).

picture4First gathering of the 2019-2021 ecumenical Clergy Institute for Civic Engagement cohort.

picture5A class for 3rd-6th graders on call & creation care at ARUMC Conference "Quest" event.

Older Events

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. 

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). 

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

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.