Young Clergy Debt Assistant Program

Young Clergy Debt Assistant Program

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


Dear Friends & Colleagues of the New York Annual Conference,

Grace and peace to you in the name of the risen Christ.

One of the wonderful things that I have discovered in my first few months here in New York is the Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program. As many of you know, the dream for this fund was the creation of the late Bishop Martin D. McLee who had a profound desire to provide financial support to clergy aged 40 years or younger serving in the New York Annual Conference. This fund, to which many have already generously contributed, is intended, in some small way, to relieve the burden of educational debt which many have accumulated.

I am pleased to announce that applications to the Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program are now being received for this year.

To be eligible for a grant, the following four requirements must be met by clergy: 

  1. Candidates must be appointed to a local church as a licensed local pastor or must be ordained or be in the process of becoming an ordained deacon or elder in the United Methodist Church. Clergy must be under appointment or beginning an appointment in the NYAC and agree to provide five years of service for receiving this grant.
  2. Candidates must have academic debt.
  3. Candidates must have current active Student Debt.
  4. The expectation is that clergy participating in this program will develop his or her own long- term financial plan, will use the resources of the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits and specifically help from Sally Truglia, the Human Resources and Benefits  Administrator of the NYAC, in finding programs on clergy financial planning and be considering  resources such as: Ernst and Young Financial Advisory Services, the UMPIP program, IRA or college savings programs for dependent children, and websites such as,  There are Annual Conference and General Church staff who can provide assistance to you in these areas.

These grants will be awarded on a one-time basis. However, clergy with excessive academic debt may reapply in succeeding years.

The application and guidelines for this program are found here: ycdap-application-2018.pdf. All applications will be reviewed by the committee.  Any applications received after July 15, 2018 will not be considered.  Applicants who qualify according to the guidelines will be contacted within 30-45 days after the application deadline.

My prayer is that in some small way this program can relieve some of the pressure placed upon committed servants of Christ so that they may be able to focus more time and energy to the calling God has placed on their lives. 

The Journey Continues, . . .
Peace & Joy,
Thomas J. Bickerton
 Resident Bishop