By Pressley Peters
Ademuyiwa Bamiduro ’13 M.Div. had two reasons for starting a fund to help YDS students pay for their divinity education, both learned through personal experience. First, theological training is powerful preparation for congregational leadership. And a scholarship is often essential for aspiring pastors who seek that theological preparation.
Grateful for the scholarship he received and the education it helped him access, Rev. Bamiduro is helping YDS reach its goal of providing full-tuition scholarships for all students with demonstrated financial need.
“My time at Yale deepened my understanding of the word of God and how to apply it,” says Rev. Bamiduro, Senior Pastor at the historic Walker Memorial Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. “To those who have a call to lead God’s people, financial support to theological education is crucial. Concerns about student loan debt and how you’re going to live can be distracting. We can help students defray the cost of education so they can focus on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether called to church-planting or serving in an already-established ministry, reducing financial hardship will help students transition from seminary to serving and applying their theological education in a congregational setting.”
In honor of Bamiduro, his church has committed an annual gift to his scholarship fund in recognition of his continued service at Walker Memorial. Buoyed by those and other gifts, the fund recently surpassed the $50,000 mark.
Bamiduro, who is a member of the YDS Dean’s Advisory Council, hopes the fund will continue to grow, creating an ever-widening pipeline of support for future pastors studying at YDS. The fund, like other funds at YDS, is open to donations.
Before divinity school, Bamiduro attended the University of Detroit Mercy, where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. In addition to his divinity degree, he has a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and served for a time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
He established The Margaret Bamiduro and Rev. Keith A. King Scholarship in 2014 with preference to students from the Baptist tradition, particularly African American students and students from other underrepresented ethnic groups.
“We are grateful to Rev. Bamiduro and the Walker Memorial Baptist Church for their continued generosity toward supporting our students,” YDS Dean Sterling said. “Increasing the amount of aid available to students is our top financial priority, and we will not stop until we reach our goal to funding 100 percent of scholarship for students with demonstrated need.”
Bamiduro was inspired to co-name the fund in honor of his mother and his mentor. “My mother was a single parent after my father died at a young age in a car accident,” he says. “My earliest memory of God and the Spirit is through my mom. She has walked the way of Jesus Christ all her life. It is fitting to honor her.”
Bamiduro sees his mentor, the Rev. Keith King ’20 S.T.M. of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hamden, Conn., as a Godsend. Like Bamiduro, King is a onetime Assistant U.S. attorney.
“YDS was the only seminary I applied to, and at the time I was working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Only God could have me apply to probably the one seminary in the world in New Haven where I would get a chance to intern in supervised ministry for a Black Baptist church led by a Black minister who at the time was also serving as an Assistant U.S. attorney,” Bamiduro says. “The synergy was unmistakable. Rev. King helped me translate what I learned in seminary into practical living.”
Gifts to The Margaret Bamiduro and Rev. Keith A. King Scholarship may be made here. For more information on giving to YDS, email Barbara Sabia, Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Development, at email@example.com.
Pressley Peters is an award-winning writer specializing in philanthropy and marketing. She has 25 years of experience in content production, public relations, project management, and fundraising. She is a graduate of Rhodes College and lives in Dallas, Texas.