In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Reverend Christopher A. Mickel T’88 T’02 received generous financial aid as a Master of Divinity student at the Drew Theological School, including the C. Maxwell Brown Scholarship, Carl Michalson Scholarship, and Reverend Dr. Howard B. Warren Scholarship. Each of these endowed funds was created by donations from alumni who preceded Chris at the Theological School.
“Without scholarship help I would not have gotten through the seminary,” Mickel reflected in a 2000 interview with the United Methodist News Service. “I’d like to be able to help other students in the same way.”
When he retired as pastor of the Rock City Falls/Middle Grove United Methodist Church, Chris established the Mickel Scholarship in Town and Country Ministry to help current and future M.Div. students with an abiding interest in rural ministry. Each year Chris donated the amount needed for an annual award to students. Those close to Drew knew that Chris supplemented his gift by selling home-grown and hand-canned pickles from his sprawling garden in upstate New York.
Before Chris passed away in April 2012, he made sure that the Mickel Scholarship in Town and Country Ministry would continue on even when he wasn’t around to make pickles anymore. He had established several charitable gift annuities with Drew which both provided him with income during his lifetime and now have permanently endowed his scholarship.
Ninabeth Metcalf is the current recipient of the Mickel Scholarship. In addition to her work as a Masters of Divinity student at Drew she is also serving at the Nolton United Methodist Church in northwestern New Jersey. “This is the time when strong, balanced, and skilled church leadership is needed. Drew has given me the tools with which to respond to the unique gifts and challenges found in small, rural parishes,” says Ninabeth. “I feel privileged to receive this scholarship which not only allows me to pursue my studies full-time, but also inspires and affirms my ministry calling.”
Chris Mickel could not express his gratitude directly to those whose gifts had funded his theological studies. But recipients of the Mickel Scholarship, like Ninabeth and all those in the years to come, make it plain that Chris has rendered the benefit he received, deed for deed.