The 96th Diocesan Convention approved a standing resolution that one Sunday annually would be considered “Bena Dial Sunday,” and that the loose offering from that Sunday would be sent to the Bena Dial fund. The 2019 suggested Bena Dial Sunday is August 25, 2019.
“The time had come; all was in readiness. Ladies converged on Grace Church, Anderson, from every quarter of the newly created Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. Churchwomen from the churches in Greenville, Greenwood, Glenn Springs, Edgefield, Union, Ridgeway, Lancaster, Columbia, Graniteville, Rock Hill, York, Chester, Winnsboro, Aiken, Camden, Laurens and Spartanburg came to Anderson on October 17, 1922, to formalize their status as the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.”
“Mrs. George I. (Bena) Dial of Columbia was a chairman of a sub-committee of the Auxiliary’s Department od Education. Part of her responsibility was college work. She rapidly moved beyond the keeping-in-touch-with-your-own-college-students approach. She realized that many young people who could benefit from further education needed help. She began collecting and sharing information about colleges and whatever financial assistance was available for worthy students.
It was from her interest that the Auxiliary in 1926 established a fund to “help worthy girls in the Diocese secure an education.” While the rules governing this fund have changed over the years to meet changing circumstances, the fund still assists several students each year with post-high school education. The fund was named the Bena Dial Student Loan and Scholarship Fund in honor of Mrs. Dial.”
From A Celebration of Saints
A Tribute to the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina 1922-1986
Today, the Bena Dial Scholarship is offered annually to full-time students, male and female, who are active participants and members of parishes of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. Selection is based upon criteria including academic excellence, church and diocesan involvement, and financial need. The award must be used for full-time study at an accredited 2-year or 4-year college, vocational, graduate, or professional school. The candidate must have a “B” average, be an Episcopalian, and their home church must be in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.
The fund is supported solely through contributions from ECW branches and individuals. The Bena Dial Committee, which sits within the ECW Diocesan Board, decides the number and amount of scholarships awarded each year based on contributions received.
Applications are available on the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina website by January 1 of each year, but are usually posted earlier, and the deadline is always March 1st.
Some of the past recipients are Janie Howland from St. Simon & St. Jude in Irmo, Allie Stubbs from St. John’s in Columbia, Nicole Rauppius from the Church of Our Savior in Rock Hill, Lillian Hardaway from Grace Church in Anderson, Mary Evelyn Melton from Christ Church in Greenville, Jamie Holodak from St. Batholomew’s in North Augusta, Lamar Buchanan from St. Peter’s in Greenville, Jack Fleischer* from St. John’s in Columbia, and the 2019 recipient, Mary Camilla Kennedy from Christ Church in Greenville.
A few Bena Dial Scholarship recipients have shared some thoughts/updates, so watch this blog, Facebook, and Twitter for them!
For more information on the Bena Dial Scholarship, you can contact the chair of the Bena Dial Fund and College work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to donate to the Bena Dial Fund directly, please make checks payable to ECW-EDUSC with a notation to the Bena Dial Fund, and mail to the treasurer of the ECW Diocesan Board at Cody Fuller, 35 Oak Crest Court, Greenville, SC 29605.
*Jack Fleischer died shortly after he was awarded a Bena Dial Scholarship in 2018. The Jack Fleischer Memorial Fund (JFMF) was established by his family with the purpose of financially supporting the youth of St. John’s and the community so that they may experience the areas of Jack’s life that he loved. The JFMF supports the following activities: Diocesan Events, Home Works, Community, and Faith Formation Experiences.