‘Joy of Giving’: Alum pastor won’t stop until he’s raised $1 million to fund scholarship endowment

By Pressley Peters

California pastor John Goldstein ’75 M.Div. is encouraging his congregation to support Yale Divinity School students by giving to an endowed fund he and his wife, Judith, created. Inspired to support those who bring their passion and insights to life ministry—especially those least likely to be able to afford the education—Rev. Goldstein hopes the fund will train pastors for generations to come.

John Goldstein is senior pastor of Grace Church of Evergreen in San Jose, Calif. In addition to his YDS degree, he has a B.A. from Case Western Reserve and has pursued advanced clinical pastoral education at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven and Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, Ariz.

What inspired you to raise $1 million from alums and supporters toward YDS scholarships?

Judith and I established an endowed fund to help train pastors because pastors are needed in our world. Pastors are the spiritual leaders who help us build healthier and better lives. Pastors are prophets and preachers, servants and teachers, scholars and entrepreneurial innovators filled with a love and passion for ministry. There is much anger and discontent today, and society needs pastors to help us come together in friendly ways where we can learn from each other.

We chose to endow scholarships because we believe the ministerial commitment and call is where pastors must focus, not on tuition.

Why is the John S. Goldstein ’75 M.Div. & Judith Goldstein Endowed Yale Divinity Scholarship the way to help future church leaders?

First, this is an endowment fund. The principal never gets touched. It’s one gift you can make that gives forever to future generations. Second, Yale Divinity School is at the forefront of pastoral leadership development. YDS has tradition of training from many denominational backgrounds, and they help grow leaders who will serve all people and all traditions.

God is always raising up leaders to be heard, and it’s wonderful to have seminaries that aren’t tied to an autocracy or a political cause. A seminary like Yale gives broader freedom to be creative, and to be open and speak and learn.

What amount are you hoping people will contribute?

I invite all people to support the endowed fund in any amount. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate what churches and ministers do for people. Every gift will edge us toward the $1 million goal.

I also want to challenge 20 individuals or families with greater resources to consider a pledge of $50,000 so YDS will have the funds to support pastoral education and training at the master’s level in perpetuity.

Is it rare for ministers to encourage their flocks to give outside of their congregation?

Pastors have reach far beyond their congregations. In sharing of wealth, people can accomplish more than when they are on their own.

Church stewardship programs are about everyone reaching together to do more than they are currently doing now. The concept is the same with endowment. By funding scholarship endowment, we can help people discover their talents so they can share more with the world. I believe together we can fill this endowed fund to over-flowing.

Individuals may give to the John S. Goldstein ’75 M.Div. & Judith Goldstein Endowed Yale Divinity Scholarship Fund by using this link or by contacting the YDS Development Office at divinity.alumni@yale.edu or (203) 432-8127.

February 14, 2024