For the past seven years, St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano hosted two golf tournaments — the Messenger of Hope Tournament and the Charles Stokes Tournament —to raise scholarship funds, one for high school seniors in Plano and the other for seminary students seeking the cloth. 

Then COVID-19 struck. 

Now St. Andrews is combining both tournaments into the St. Andrew Open Golf Tournament at The Clubs of Prestonwood, Creek Course, on Preston Road in Dallas to raise funds for both scholarships. 

The tournament takes place between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, and will follow COVID-19 safety protocols.  

“When the pandemic caused one of the tournaments to be canceled, St. Andrew decided to combine the two great causes into one great tournament,” Rev. Jimmy Decker, associate pastor, connectional ministries, St. Andrew UMC, said in a prepared statement. 

Golfing for a good cause / Courtesy of St. Andrew

The Messenger of Hope scholarship, offered by the United Methodist Men of St. Andrew, helps high school students realize their dreams of higher education. Last year, the Messenger of Hope Tournament raised $80,000 and helped 52 high school seniors from area high schools, including Plano East, Plano Senior, and J.J. Pearce High School. The recipients are attending 25 different colleges such as Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, and the University of Oklahoma. 

Ray Adams, the founder of the Messenger of Hope Scholarship, pointed out that with the average $500 tuition cost at area community colleges, it is easy to understand how a golf tournament can make an impact.

“Too often, students earn good grades and have a true desire for a higher education, but family disruption, health issues, or situations beyond their control make college a financial impossibility,” Adams said. “The Messenger of Hope Scholarship helps fulfill this need with funding and mentorship programming for many deserving students each year.” 

Golfers will need to practice COVID-19 safety protocols at this year’s tournament / Courtesy of St. Andrew

Retired St. Andrew Pastor Charles Stokes and his wife Louise founded The Charles Stokes Seminary Education Scholarship after noticing a need for new pastors. A new partnership with Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University is now offering another opportunity. The Charles Stokes Seminary Education Scholarship Fund will provide two qualified applicants with $15,000 each and provides St. Andrew with the opportunity to mentor them over a three-year period to help develop them into future United Methodist Church leaders. 

Last year, the scholarship funds provided more than $92,000 for seminary students, including some of the current pastors at St. Andrew, according to David Keene, the founder of the Charles Stokes Seminary Education Scholarship Fund.

“It is our belief that by affirming these men and women and supporting them both spiritually and financially, we can continue the mission of the church by ensuring strong leadership for the future,” Keene said. 

St. Andrew offers several testimonies from scholarship recipients on its website: 

Rev. Allison Jean’s community and the Charles Stokes Scholarship supported the call to ministry she expressed in high school
The Messenger of Hope Scholarship offered an answer for Bryna Talamantez after she suffered incredible loss in her family.

To sponsor or play visit standrewumc.org/standrewopen.

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