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The Ziegler Family Seminary Endowed Scholarship Fund

The Ziegler Family Seminary Endowed Scholarship Fund

Although they did not meet until later in life, Steve and Christy Ziegler both grew up in the United Methodist Church. Christy was active in Sunday School as a teenager at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, MI. Steve served as an acolyte at First United Methodist Church in Phoenix, AZ. They have many memories as life-long United Methodists, including the union of the Methodists and Evangelical United Brethren in 1968.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Genetics, Christy pursued an alternate career in aviation. She flew for Northwest Airlines for nearly 30 years until retiring as a DC-10 captain in 2003 for medical reasons. Having been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia (CLL), which nearly took her life, Christy had time to reflect on the past as well as the future. While the CLL is still present, she has continued to live a normal life and remains in good health and believes she has been truly blessed by God in many ways.

After serving in the United States Air Force, Steve graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Civil Engineering. For 25 years he traveled around the world managing large-scale hydroelectric projects, primarily in third-world countries - until he realized he was being called by God to full-time ministry. He left the engineering world and entered seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. Steve was subsequently ordained an elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church and went on to serve three churches in the Chicago suburbs before retiring in 2010.

Christy and Steve married in 2009 while Steve was pastor of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago. As they began sharing a life together, they soon realized that they had both been generously blessed by God. Steve's journey through the call to ministry, seminary and the ordination process made him realize the many burdens placed on clergy. The one burden that became apparent was the financial challenges, particularly for second-career pastors. Fortunately, Steve's former career allowed him to avoid the financial burdens, leaving him space to pursue ministry without those attendant concerns.

Sharing stories of the path to ministry with Christy soon made them both aware of the critical needs of the many who are called by God, particularly those who have not been so blessed with financial resources. In response to that specific need, they decided to establish a scholarship program for ministry students in the Desert Southwest Conference. The DSC United Methodist Foundation provided the appropriate investment opportunity to grow an endowed fund that will provide a legacy for the Ziegler Family well into the future while, hopefully, enabling the continued growth of ministry under the Cross and Flame here in Arizona.


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