Alumna Desires to Start Scholarship

Alumna Desires to Start Scholarship

August 6, 2007

"Cared for and loved," is how Deb Sherburn-Larson Mack passionately describes the time she and her three minor children spent at Sioux Falls Seminary in the late '80's. With overwhelmingly resolute encouragement from her family, friends, church, and home community of Britton, South Dakota, Deb, a single parent of four, enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at what was then North American Baptist Seminary in the fall of 1986.

Reflecting upon their time at seminary, Deb feels blessed not only by the quality of equipping she received, but also by the fact that her children were very much a part of that journey. Out of her gratitude for what Sioux Falls Seminary meant and continues to mean to her, Deb intends to one day establish a scholarship at the seminary to assist other single parents with their families' seminary experience.

Even as a young child, Deb felt God's call and, as she'll assure you, he didn't give up. With aspirations of serving God in the mission field, Deb enrolled in college as a social work major. Marriage found her transferring colleges, switching majors, and temporarily shifting her career path. Graduating with a teaching degree, she began teaching English classes at Britton, South Dakota. A series of life-changing interruptions prompted Deb to resign from teaching to answer God's call to ministry. Uncertain about the path to take or the steps to make, Deb put her trust in the Lord and, true to his promises, the Lord worked out each of the minor and major details.

A planned trip to Sioux Falls for a family event happened to coincide with one of the seminary's scheduled Decision Conferences. After the event, her children returned to Britton with alternate transportation and supervision, enabling Deb to attend the Decision Conference. Her experience there confirmed in her heart and mind that Sioux Falls Seminary is where God wanted her to be. With her oldest child beginning college, Deb and her three younger children moved to Sioux Falls to begin their journey through seminary. The seminary community opened their arms to care for, love, support, and encourage Deb and her children, helping them recognize and celebrate the family unit they represented.

Deb earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1989 and since that time has served United Methodist congregations in Alexandria and Fulton, Yankton and Gayville-Volin, Selby and Mobridge, Rapid City (South Maple), and, beginning this month, Tulare, South Dakota. Grateful for the care and love she and her family received during a difficult and impressionable period in their lives, Deb celebrates how the impact their time at seminary is continually reflected in each of their lives. She credits the seminary community's role modeling with shaping the self confidence, attitude, and career paths of herself and her children.

As she joins her new church community in Tulare, Deb celebrates a renewed commitment to establishing a scholarship for other single parents following God's call to Sioux Falls Seminary. She notes that her children are well aware of her aspirations to do so and wholeheartedly support her decision.

Have you considered endowing a scholarship at Sioux Falls Seminary? Scholarships are a great legacy gift to honor your family or loved ones and keep giving for years to come.

When establishing a scholarship, it is helpful to consider what you would like to accomplish--what type of student you would like to benefit from your scholarship. In order to start a fully endowed scholarship, a minimum gift of $10,000 is needed.

To learn more, contact the Leadership Foundation by calling 800.440.6227.