B u l l e t i n o f t h e C o l g at e R o c h e s t e r C r o z e r D i v i n i t y S c h o o l
Faith. Critically engaged. Inside:
✛ “Be my witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Page 10 ✛ “Master, how many times do I forgive one who hurts me?” Page 4 ✛ Reflecting on the life of Dr. Ronald V. Wells Page 16
P lu s : News and updates
on what CRCDS alumni/ae are doing 2011 Scholarships
awards and important remembrances Baptist Missionary Training School
Scholarship profiles and updates
A new page... You've just opened
...in the story of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. This is a new launch of The Bulletin that aims to bring to our readers engaging writing and thoughtful insight from the many different faces that shape our school and the mission that drives us as a theological seminary. We think this matters at a time when reality presents so many pitfalls and challenges to people throughout the world.
We hope you like it.
On the Cover:
Photo taken from the 2010 Trip to IONA in Scotland. The retreat is sponsored and organized by the Gene L. Bennett Program for Life Long Learning at CRCDS. CRCDS: Faith. Critically engaged. is a quarterly publication of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School 1100 Goodman Street, Rochester, New York, 14620. PUBLISHER: Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) EDITOR: Christopher White DESIGN: MillRace Design PRINTING: St. Vincent Press
Faith. Critically engaged.
oin the conversation online! We’re connecting with alumni/ae, friends old and new, supporters, congregations and communities across the country online. Join us in this journey - follow us on Twitter (@crcds) and connect to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crcds.
A Modest Proposal
Out in the World
BMTS Scholarship Recipients
“Who will be a witness for my Lord?”
Remembering Dr. Ronald V. Wells
Scholarships & Gifts
A Modest Proposal Dr. Stephanie L. Sauvé
ne day recently when I was speaking to our younger son Andrew on the phone he said, “Are you o.k? You seem down to me.”
I said, “I’m fine. Just busy.” “Are you sure?” he pressed. “Is there someone bothering you that I need to beat up?” Not that he would ever “beat up” anyone; he is more likely to crush someone with one of his bear hugs. So it was sweet, but we raised Andrew like that. Yet, he is shaped and honed by other forces and voices. Andrew, like the rest of us, lives in a world where conflict is escalated and not contained. After that phone call, I got to thinking about what our world would look like if conflicts were contained rather than escalated. In my musings, a poster from the 60s came to mind. The poster proclaimed “a modest proposal for peace,” which was simply that all the Christians of the world would stop killing each other. I thought that maybe it is time for another “modest proposal” in this post 9/11 era, in this era of reacting rather than responding, in this era of multiple conflicts (Read: wars!). Maybe it is time for a new modest proposal for all people of faith, in this era of religious pluralism, when we have only begun to appreciate that there are many true faiths, not just one. And maybe this modest proposal could be offered as an alternative spiritual practice. Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book An Altar in the World, invites the reader to claim new ways of being spiritual. In this work, Brown Taylor offers spiritual practices for people who are “longing—for more meaning, more feeling, more connection, more life.” (xvi) Brown Taylor elaborates on our vulnerability to this longing for more and the frantic search to satiate this desire. She asserts: No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is the consent to be where we are. (xvii) For me “being where we are” means holding fast to what is essential to our lives, speaking truth and seeking to be more connected to that which is core to life, which requires that we confront the forces that are keeping us from being connected. I know that, for some, the words “confront” or “confrontation” are scary. We get anxious when we hear them. But isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do in Chapter 18 of Matthew?
We are called to confront the person who has hurt us. We are not to go and beat them up. Or have another do it for us, as my son offered to do for me. We are not to escalate the situation by inflicting some kind of pain. We are not to harm when we have been harmed. As people of faith we are to “go and tell them— and work it out between the two of you.” (Mt:18:15b) If that does not work, we are to engage a process of accountability by inviting another to help us hear each other; another who will witness the interaction to help us to keep it honest and to listen to each other. And if we can’t sort it out, then take it to the community, building in more accountability. Now if that does not work, well then, what will? This teaching attributed to Jesus, challenges us to start again. How many times? Peter was brave enough to raise that question: "Master, how many times do I forgive one who hurts me? Seven?" (Mt 18:21) Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” (Mt 18:22) I would argue that if we engaged in this process of confronting, with an intent to contain as many as seventy times seven times, then we might get pretty good at it. We might just stop spreading the hurt around. Further, we might just stop inflicting more and more pain. So let me suggest that a modest proposal for this season and time, in this post 9/11 era; in this era of reacting rather than responding, in this era of multiple conflicts and wars! Let me suggest a modest proposal that is simply this: May all people of faith come to confront hurt and contain our response by engaging in a process that moves towards forgiveness. The forgiveness that I am inviting is not the kind of forgiveness of our childhoods, where we are told by a well-meaning adult to say we are sorry, kiss and make up, and then go play; although this has its merits. But I am inviting the kind of forgiveness that “seeks not so much to be understood as to understand,” as Reinhold Niebuhr invites in the “The Serenity Prayer.” This is an uncomfortable invitation to confront hurt and contain our response, by engaging in a process that moves towards forgiveness. It’s not easy because it requires us to take a risk: we may be wrong about another person. We may feel hurt by one who never intended to hurt us. What is even scarier is that we might confront someone who does not care, or does not have the capacity to care, that they may have hurt us. There are people who twist information hoping to feed our anxiety.
Therefore, part of embracing this invitation to a process that moves towards forgiveness is to be informed. To seek knowledge and truth before we confront. Finally, we need to invest time, as much time as it will take as we keep engaging the process over and over again, engaging in a practice that Jan Richardson calls “with-craft.” She describes it as the art of organizing one’s life resources around a commitment to be with a person, group, organization, cause, particularly when being with them calls for cleverness, ingenuity, and improvisation in the face of divisive outside forces. […] Being with does not mean being without conflict, without struggle, without pain […]. When conflict, struggle and pain arise, it means moving through them with integrity, with one another, with something deeper, with feeling, with hope, with desire, with dreams, with imagination, with wisdom, with memory, with awareness, with strength, with grace, with compassion and love. (Sacred Journeys, 288) To do what Richardson suggests takes commitment, faith, engaging our intellect and seeking and speaking truth. Further, it requires the sacrifice of some of our most precious commodity: time.
“Master, how many times do I forgive one who hurts me? Seven?” (Mt 18:21) Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” (Mt 18:21-22) I realize that there are easier ways to live. And yet, I know, that we live in a world that shows the stress cracks of our current way of life; pain, bloodshed, fear and ignorance seem to be the norm. Therefore I offer this modest proposal, to people of faith, no matter what your faith may be. In truth, for me this is more than a proposal. It is my prayer. It is my plea. May all the people of faith confront hurt and contain our response, by engaging in a process that moves towards forgiveness. May we do so seventy times seven times. Or as many times as it takes until the hurting and hating stop. And pain is no more.
Out in the World U p d at e s , news and notes from CRCDS a lu m n i / a e Irene J. Magana (BMTS ’39) Still lives at Atherton Baptist Homes, but has moved to assisted living. Everett L. Perry (CRDS ’41) Everett, celebrated his 100th birthday this past June!
Ada P. Walker (BMTS ’61) Ada keeps busy volunteering and teaches children’s church each Sunday. John S. Savage (CRDS ’62) John (first person enrolled in CRCDS D.Min. Classes) has written three books. The most recent one was published by Abingdon Press is titled Your Spiritual IQ. He teaches regularly and has taught in Canada (20 years at Toronto School of Theology) as adjunct professor in their continuing education department. He is also a fulltime consultant/trainer. Dale Robison (CRDS ‘64) Dale served Underwood Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, WI for seven years. He was granted a graduate history fellowship and he earned a Ph.D. from Marquette University in American religious history.
Elena Briones (BMTS ’50) Elena and her husband, Moses, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June.
His dissertation on religious reform "Wisconsin and the Mentally Ill," was published in 1976 by Arno, The New York Times press. He served Unitarian Universalist congregations for 30 years. He lives with his wife, Tara Gray, in Las Cruces, NM where Tara is a well-known faculty developer at New Mexico State University. He was influenced by Winthrop Hudson.
Adeline Kopf (BMTS ’51) Adeline is going on a cruise in January with her sister-in-law, three brothers, sister and her niece. She also recently became a great grandmother to Adam Edward.
Lawrence E. Witmer (CRDS ’63) Larry and his wife, Peg, spent 5 days in London, seeing lots of famous sites. They also took a bus tour through England and Scotland.
Francis E. Stewart (CTS '52) Francis recently published his autobiography, From Iowa Cornfields to Fernwood. The book is available at Amazon.com. Francis gifted copies of his book to the CRCDS library.
Phyllis A. Chaffee (CRDS ‘64) Phyllis Chaffee (Henry CRDS '64) was elected to the Board of Trustees of Bangor Theological Seminary, with campuses in Bangor and Portland, ME. Over the last several years she has co-led the Financial Campaign at Immanuel Baptist Church, Portland, Maine to raise money to restore their stone tower and support their mission.
Kenneth V. Dodgson (CRDS ‘48) Ken received was one of CRCDS’s Distinguished Alum of the Year during the 2011 Alumni/ae Reunion.
Charles Mercer (CRDS ’55) Charles (father of Pat Hernandez CRCDS ’87) is involved in ministry in Moscow, Russia and is interested in refugee resettlement issues. He currently houses a refugee from Sierra Leone and is helping him get refugee status. Susan K. Soria (BMTS ’58) In October, Susan retired from her job as Music Director at Morgan Park Baptist Church in Chicago. She will continue to work as the church secretary for a while longer. “ I am in my 51st year on staff at the church and can't believe it. It has been a wonderful 52 years in several capacities, volunteer plus paid.”
Carrol A. Turner (CRDS ’59) Carroll and his wife Joyce were cast members of the Reader’s Theatre Production “The Cocktail Hour,” written by A.R. Gurney.
Tony M. MacNaughton (CTS ’67) Tony and Jane MacNaughton will celebrate their 40th year of service to Hildale Park Presbyterian Church in Cedar Knolls, NJ. Kelly Grimsley (CTS ’71) Kelly has retired from First Baptist Church in White Plains. Joseph R. Kutter (CTS ’71) Joe and his wife, Peggy, welcomed their granddaughter, Gretchen Ruth Kohl.
Edward L. Wheeler (CRDS ’72) On June 30, 2011, Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) named Edward President Emeritus after 14 years of leadership. CRCDS also recognized Edward as a 2011 Distinguished Alumnus. Larry R. Baird (CRDS ’75) Larry has been appointed as full elder to Grand Island Trinity UMC as of July 1, 2011. Dwight Webster (CRDS ’79) In May of 2011, Dwight completed the requirements for a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. Garth E. Brokaw (CRDS ’80) Garth Brokaw, who has led Fairport Baptist Homes Caring Ministries for the last 21 years, has retired. In December, 2010 the new assisted living community at Fairport Baptist Homes was officially named the "Garth E. Brokaw Assisted Living Community." The wing was named for Garth to honor his dedicated work at Fairport Baptist Homes to bring about the completion of the assisted living wing. Sinnathamby Thevanesan (CRDS ’81) Sinnathamby retired this past May after serving The United Methodist Church for 30 years. Randolph Bracy (CRDS ’82) Randy has announced he will retire in December 2012 from The New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, Florida. K. Wayne Butler (CRDS ’82) Wayne Butler has been appointed to Superintendent of the Niagara Frontier District of the United Methodist Churches. Susan S. Shafer (CRDS ’82) Susan has been appointed Senior Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church of Rochester, NY. Barbara Lacker-Ware (CRDS ’84) Barbara is working at Wilson Commencement Park in Rochester, NY as a Grants Writer. Mary Lynn Gras (CRDS ’85) Mary Lynn retired from pastor at First Presbyterian in Utica, NY. She moved to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to her grandchildren. William A. Mudge (CRDS ’89) William was appointed to the Upper New York Area Cabinet as the Adirondack District Superintendent this past July. Sherri Rood (CRDS ’96) Sherri was officially welcomed as the Cornerstone United Methodist Church District Superintendent during a Service of Welcome on Sept. 17 at the Christ United Methodist Church in Olean, NY.
Wilfredo J. Baez (CRDS ’98) In July, Wilfredo and his wife, Marcia, began serving the United Methodist Church of North Chili, NY.
Bonnie Bates (CRCDS ’05) Bonnie received her Doctor of Ministry this past May from CRCDS. Her dissertation title was “Navigating the River of Grief.”
Natalie Hanson (CRDS ’99) Natalie has completed her years of service as Niagara Frontier District Superintendent. She has been appointed as full elder to Jamestown Christ First United Methodist Church effective July 1, 2011.
Vera E. Miller (CRCDS ’05) Genesee Baptist Church, where Vera has been pastor for over 15 years, is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year.
Rodney D. Mileha (CRDS ’99) In July, Rodney was appointed full elder to East Randolph United Methodist Church. Lawrence Hargrave (CRCDS ’00) Lawrence is Interim Pastor of Outreach Ministries at Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester, NY. Allen P. Weaver III (CRCDS ’00) Allen is producing a novel and film called Speedsuit Powers. George F. Nichols (CRCDS ’01) George is Coordinating Senior Pastor at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Buffalo, NY. Leonard Griffin (CRCDS ’02) Leonard was the facilitator at the Annual Session of the South Carolina Baptist E & M Convention. This year’s topic focused on the challenging issues facing new or young pastors as they seek to serve in efficient and effective pastoral ministry. Adrienne L. Phillips (CRCDS ’04) Adrienne was honored earlier this month as the 2011 National Trends Award recipient of the Rochester Chapter of the The Links, Inc. The award recognized her contributions as a change agent for positive community development and outreach, with special focus on the development of the Friday Night Youth Café at West Avenue UMC. The Links is a national service organization of professional African American women. This past June, Adrienne said goodbye to West Avenue Methodist Church, where she was pastor, to assume the pastorate of Christ United Methodist Church, north of Syracuse, NY.
S AV E T H E D AT E ! Alumni/ae Reunion Days: April 25-26, 2012
Jill Bradway (CRCDS ’06) Jill received her Doctor of Ministry this past May from CRCDS. Her dissertation title was “African American Females and the Imago Dei: Reclaiming God’s Vision of Wholeness.” Melany J. Silas (CRCDS ’06) Melany founded a theatrical company, MJS Productions. She wrote and produced her first original show, "Black Girls Anthem." Her show sold out six shows and then reopened at Nazareth College Arts Center. She is also going to launch her show on an East Coast tour. To learn more visit http://www. black-girlsanthem.com. Ann Kemper (CRCDS ’07) Ann was appointed as full elder to Covenant United Methodist Church in Rochester, NY. Patricia L. Walz (CRCDS ’08) Patricia was ordained at the United Methodist Churches Annual Conference this past June. José A. Claudio (CRCDS ’10) José was ordained this past May as pastor of Iglesia Unida de Cristo el Nueva Camino, believed to be the first "open and affirming" Hispanic congregation in New York State. Beth Shiela Malone (CRCDS ’11) Beth was appointed part-time pastor to Nunda United Methodist Church and West Sparta United Methodist Church this past July. Barbara Zelter (CRCDS ’11) Barbara is working full-time in a faculty position in the graduate program for social work at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is responsible for finding students internships within social justice organizations.
CRCDS alumni/ae are invited to the Hill for this special event to see what’s new at the School, to share recent stories and to remember old ones. It’s a time for the wider CRCDS community to come together and recall the mission and vision they continue to share.
Faculty Preview: An Abstract from Dr. Gay L. Bryon's Forthcoming Paper (Emb)Racing the Bible: Pedagogical Challenges, Curricular Opportunities
Theological educators are now fostering dialogues, projects and practices that are designed to acknowledge the challenges and opportunities resulting from the shifting racial and ethnic demographic climate in the US and Canada. As well-intentioned as these efforts are, most of the scholarship focuses on the contemporary experiences of underrepresented minorities, current institutional concerns or practical classroom scenarios, leaving Scripture courses, which have long been the backbone of theological education, beyond the scope of critical engagement. In this article I argue that the existing scholarship on teaching and learning in general, and among biblical scholars in particular, does not adequately address the specific challenges that arise when questions about race and ethnicity are exposed in Scripture courses. Therefore, based on my own classroom experiences, I develop a pedagogy of (emb)racing the Bible that seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical readings and practical applications of ancient and contemporary discourses about race and ethnicity.
Dr. Gay L. Bryon
The full schedule of events will be available soon. We are looking forward to seeing you again.
he Baptist Missionary Training School Journey Continues... Enabling women for ministry for over 130 years
Greetings to all BMTS Alumnae and BMTS Honorary Alumni! CRCDS is pleased to announce the 2011-12 Baptist Missionary Training School Scholarship Recipients. Bronwyn Evans
Bronwyn, an American Baptist, is in her first year. Her vocational goal is pastoral counseling and spiritual care, having had a career as a psychotherapist. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Cornell University and her Master's Degree in Social Work from Marywood University. Bronwyn is no stranger to the Baptist Missionary Training School. She is the daughter of Grace Norton and David Evans.
Denise Lynn Bell
JaCon Canese Washington
Denise, an American Baptist, is a senior working towards a Master of Divinity degree. Prior to attending CRCDS, she received her degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York with a Master of Business Administration. Her voca-
JaCon is a senior pursuing a Master of Divinity degree; she is on the American Baptist ordination track. She is President of the CRCDS Baptist Student Alliance, and is Vice President of the CRCDS Black Student Caucus, as well as an Associate Minister at Genesee Baptist Church under Rev. Dr. Vera Miller (who received her M.Div. & D.Min. from CRCDS).
tional goal is pastoral counseling. Her former career was college career counseling. Denise is currently in a volunteer position as Pastor of the Rochester Institute of Technology Gospel Fellowship; her congregants lovingly call her “Pastor Dee.”
David Evans ’53, Bronwyn Evans, Grace Norton Evans ’52
Bronwyn writes, “It is with great joy that I have received this scholarship. It feels hard to convey to you the significance of this support from such an outstanding group of women. I know this to be true as I am the daughter of Grace Norton Evans. Over the years I have had the opportunity to attend BMTS gatherings either at biennials or at CRCDS. This allowed me the opportunity to meet many of you. Thank you for supporting me as I embark on my educational journey.”
Denise is also the Founder of SWEET TEA, a new outreach ministry for women in crisis. "This Scholarship will permit me to concentrate on obtaining a high-quality theological education while reducing the financial stress,” she explained. “I am thankful for the generosity and support evident in Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School’s mission of training leaders in ministry, like myself. This scholarship is making it possible for students like me to follow the calling in my life.”
Prior to attending CRCDS, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY with a double concentration in Sociology/ Anthropology and English/Theatre. Her vocational goals include pastoral/evangelistic ministry as well as pastoral counseling. She especially has a passion for engaging the hearts, minds and spirits of children and teens through the creative integration of Christianity and the Arts. Before relocating from Syracuse, NY, JaCon enjoyed a dual career as a radio announcer for a Christian radio station, and as a Youth Program Coordinator for a community-based organization on the south side of Syracuse. JaCon said, “I am appreciative of your generosity and faithful commitment to providing scholarships to students like me. I am a senior now and I am so excited about my ordination, graduation and ministry. Thank you all for your support.”
BMTS Alumnae— keep in touch! Betty Musselman Johnson ’57, Betty Juner Choate Murray ’53, Susan Hall Soria ’58 and Betty Anderson Warren ’53 gathered for lunch in Aurora, Illinois this past June. They were joined also by Paul Johnson, Bill Murray and by Betty’s niece Jane. Betty Warren said, “We had a great, great time chatting and reminiscing.” Do you have something you would like to share with the CRCDS community? Email Lisa Bors at Lbors@crcds.edu or call her at (585) 340-9647 with your news, stories, updates and whatever else you'd like to share with the BMTS/CRCDS community.
The entire CRCDS community is grateful for the Baptist Missionary Training School Scholarship Fund. Scholarships like this are important as they provide direct tuition support to women attending CRCDS.
BMTS graduates at luncheon in Decatur, Illinois this past October. Top row: Nancy Baker Dunbar ’51, Betty Anderson Warren ’53, Dorothy Stoddard Klyn ’53 Seated: Joan Devening Criswell ’51, Zintka (Polly) Smith Bilyeu ’53
"Who will be a witness for my Lord?"
President-elect McMickle's message to the incoming and r e t u r n i n g s t u d e n t s , fa c u lt y a n d s t a f f f o r Fa l l C o n v o c a t i o n 2 0 1 1 at t h e S a m u e l C o l g at e M e m o r i a l C h a p e l
s we stand at the beginning of another academic year this might be a good time to ask ourselves a simple but stubborn question: what is it that any of us views as the goal, the objective or the end result of theological education? What is it that we or any other theological school are set out to pursue or accomplish? Is your work as students limited primarily to classes and papers, and then to grades and graduation? Are those of you on the faculty focused solely on syllabi and on individual scholarly pursuits? Are those of us within the ranks of administration and staff concerned mostly with finances, facilities and the forms that seem to stare at us from our computer screens? Why are we here on this place so affectionately known as “The Hill?” More importantly, what does our being here have to do with the God we love and the church(es) we serve? The very first graduating class of potential preachers faced this very same set of questions. In Acts 1: 6-8 Peter, James, John and the other disciples of Jesus had finished all their course work. School was over and the teacher, the master teacher was about to send them forth into the world to commence their ministries. Three years earlier they had been called from their work as fishermen, tax collectors and other sundry assignments to begin an apprenticeship with Jesus that would equip them to carry his message to the ends of the Earth. In our verse for today their graduation ceremony was wrapping up and it was time, at least in the mind of their teacher, for them to begin the work for which they had been so carefully trained.
Dr. Marvin A. McMickle
However, something quite surprising happens in this passage. The disciples have one more question for Jesus. There is one more thing they want to know and they take advantage of what was meant to be their final moments with Jesus to get the answer. Here is what they asked of their soon departing teacher: Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? That sounds like an innocent question on first hearing. However, everything about that question was wrong from the point of view of Jesus. There are four fatal flaws with this question in Acts 1:6. First, it shifts responsibility for taking action away from themselves to someone else. Rather than asking Jesus what he might want them to do now that their training was over, all they could think to ask was, “Lord, what are you going to do next?”
Their course of study did not result in their feeling any urgency to undertake any ministry of their own and on their own. After three years of involvement in the original Master of Divinity program all they could do was wonder aloud what Jesus was going to do next. It was not as if Jesus had not done enough already. He had already performed one great miracle after another. He had already uttered a string of memorable parables that had comforted his friends and confounded his enemies. He had
already transformed a Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper. He had already died on the cross as the ultimate atonement for the sins of the world. He had already been raised from the dead to become the “first fruits of them that are asleep.” Yet after doing all of that and more the only thing this graduating class could do was ask him what he was going to do next. Second, not only did they wonder what he was going to do next, but secondly they wondered when he was going to do it. “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” It was as if they did not want to wait a moment longer. They wanted him to take the desired action at once. That must resonate with our instantaneous society where everything is expected to be delivered sooner rather than later and where miracles like music are expected “on demand.” We have been made to believe that we can pray for something and then get an answer “at this time.” We actually believe that when we preach sermons people should do exactly what we have said “at this time.” We have no sense of patience or waiting or long suffering. Lord, we want what we want, and we want it now! The third and fourth points merge together. Whatever it was they were expecting of Jesus, it had nothing to do with a fresh vision of the future. The future they envisioned was defined by the past status of Israel under David and Solomon; a kingdom which they hoped would be restored by Jesus. Take us back to the good old days when we were in charge. It reminds me of a woman who was speaking at a
Tea Party convention in the summer of 2010 who said through tears and grief, “I want my America back.” This white woman made her appeal for a return to a more familiar country on the day after an African American president named Barack Obama had nominated a Hispanic woman named Sonia Sotomayor to the United State Supreme Court. That was not her version of America. She wanted something to be restored again. Doubtless, she was more in line with former U.S. Senator Trent Lott who once stated that the golden days of America were best defined by Mississippi in the 1950s. I do not know what Trent Lott had in mind about Mississippi in the 1950s, but all that comes to my mind is a 14-year-old boy from my neighborhood in Chicago named Emmett Till who went to visit his family in Money, Mississippi in 1955. He was accused of whistling at or speaking improperly to a white woman. For that offense he was taken from the home where he was staying in the middle of the night. When he was finally located, he had been beaten and tortured, shot in the head and thrown into a river with the motor of a cotton gin wrapped around his neck with a piece of barbed wire. The men who confessed to his murder were tried by an all-white, all-male jury in Mississippi that found those men not guilty after deliberating for all of twenty minutes. That is the problem in longing for a past that does not include everybody. The disciples asked Jesus if
We have no sense of patience or waiting or longsuffering. Lord, we want what we want, and we want it now! he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. They had no interest in what might happen to Egypt. They showed no concern over the Greeks or the Ethiopians or the Samaritans. They did not have a world view that saw all people and all nations as having equal worth in the eyes of God. They were like the character in the film Head of State that is running for the office of President of the United States against an opponent played by the comedian Chris Rock. This character that is portrayed as a conservative Republican says over and over again, “God bless America and nowhere else.” In response to that mantra, Chris Rock responds, “How about God bless America and everybody else?”
One can only wonder what Jesus must have thought after hearing this question from his disciples. Was that all they had garnered from their theological education; how to ask questions about a future that asked nothing from them and offered something limited only to them? Was that the sum total of their perspective? Just to be sure, Jesus delayed his return to heaven long enough to give one more lecture that would serve as a post-graduate program for his still ill-equipped pupils. Lesson number one from Jesus was profound: “Do not do anything until the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” This must come as a shock to us today, because some of us might actually think that our own intellectual prowess coupled with the refinements of a theological education can fully
“How about God bless America and everybody else?” equip us for the work that awaits us in the Church and in the world. Let me disabuse you of that notion right away. Success in ministry depends upon something more than a degree in theology and the associated skills of hermeneutics, homiletics and exegesis. While those skills are certainly important and necessary, none of those things or all of them taken together will be enough for those engaged in the service of the Church. Success in ministry depends upon being anointed with something more than a degree from CRCDS; as much as we hope you will all achieve that goal. We who have walked this road ahead of you understand all too well that those who would serve in the ministry of the Church need to be strengthened, undergirded and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. It was the Spirit of God that empowered the ministry of Jesus, and Jesus understood that it would be that same Spirit that would be needed by these disciples.
Dr. Barbara Holmes spoke at the 2011 Howard Thurman Lectureship on the CRCDS campus.
Indeed, the Book of the Acts of the Apostles could just as easily be called the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Saul of Tarsus had received a quality theological education in the tradition of his early years, but it was the anointing of the Holy Spirit that transformed him into both an author and an evangelist that extended the gospel throughout great parts of the Roman Empire. Martin Luther had a doctorate in theology, but it was the Holy Spirit that enabled him to say, “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Martin Luther King, Jr. earned one of his degrees at Crozer Theological Seminary; now part of CRCDS. Nevertheless, it was the power of the Holy Spirit that emboldened him to say, “Despite the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream.” We cannot award you the power of the Holy Spirit in the same way that we can award academic degrees. What we can do is remind ourselves like Jesus reminded his disciples that you will not last long in the ministry unless and until the Holy Spirit has come upon you. It is important to say that this is not a call to any Pentecostal religion, whether Assemblies of God or Church of God in Christ. The power of Pentecost does not belong to Pentecostals any more than baptism belongs to Baptists. The power of the Holy Spirit is needed by everyone who would be involved in the service of God. That point being made, Jesus then gave them the assignment for which they had been in training for the last three years: “Be my witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Let that phrase serve as our guide for the balance of this sermon: be my witness. There are at least three ways by which that word could inform us in our work. A person could be a witness in a fairly passive and inactive way by simply witnessing or paying attention to what is going on around them. That is at least a start. There are some Christians that do not even seem to be paying attention. Millions of people in this country are living in poverty, unable to afford medical insurance and choosing every day between paying for heat, food or prescription drugs. This is going on in the richest country in the history of the world, and most people are so caught up in a theology of personal salvation and personal prosperity they are not even paying attention to the suffering of others. The very least we can do as servants of God and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be a witness that pays attention to what is going in the world around us. I agree with Cornel West when he observes that the role of prophetic beings is to stir up in us the courage to care.1 Caring cannot begin until we begin to witness, to see what is really going on in the world today!
There is a second way to understand this phrase “be my witness,” and it involves what it means to be a witness within the context of a court of law. In that setting a witness is someone that has taken an oath and promised to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If we take that understanding of the word then many more possibilities open up for the work you and I have been called to do. Now we can understand a witness to be someone that is willing to tell the truth whether or not people are willing to listen to that truth. That is what the prophets of the Old Testament did; they witnessed to the truth revealed to them by God. They declared God’s desire for justice and righteousness. They spoke their truth to people in power who were the cause of the problems and who had the power to change historical circumstances. Cornel West comes to our aid again when he helps flesh out the full effect of truth-telling by the people of God. West says that “prophetic beings have as their special aim to shatter deliberate ignorance and willful blindness to the sufferings of others and to expose the clever forms of evasion and escape we devise in order to hide and conceal injustice.”2 In other words, our job is not just to see what is going on in the world around us but also to challenge ourselves and others to take whatever steps are required to end the suffering and the injustices that have come to our attention. It is my hope and prayer that when you finish your course of study at CRCDS that you will not only have the courage to care about the people and problems all around you, but that you will be bold enough to shatter deliberate ignorance and willful blindness and shed God’s light on this corrupt and callous world in which we live. That brings us to the third and far more important meaning of being a witness for the Lord. The Greek word for witness is marturia which is the basis for our English word "martyr." Could it be that Jesus was challenging those disciples to be willing to risk something for the sake of the truth they were being sent forth to declare? Could it be that in order to be a witness for the Lord you and I must be willing to lose something we value; a job, a relationship, the friendship of those who profit and benefit from the status quo? Perhaps Jesus was reminding them of what he had just endured himself. He was fresh from the grave with the memory of crucifixion still fresh on their minds. Maybe the reason the disciples wanted to know what Jesus was going to do next is because they did not want to do anything similar to what Jesus had done that might result in their suffering or death.
Who will be a witness for my Lord? Who will risk something for the sake of the gospel? Who is willing to endure any loss, suffer any inconvenience, forego any personal gain or bear any burden of consequence from people in power all in the name of being faithful to the truth as we understand it? Those disciples knew then as surely as we know now that Jesus said, “If any one would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16: 24-25). We have all studied the lives of people who suffered and even died for the cause of God’s reign on earth. We know that Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern. We know that John the Baptist was beheaded. We know that Martin Luther was excommunicated. We know that John Bunyan was imprisoned in a jail in Bedford in England. We know that many of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Christian Church, from the Protestant Reformation to the modern civil rights movement were written in the blood of those who suffered and sometimes were martyred for their faith and their faithfulness. We admire what they endured, but are we willing to walk in their footsteps and take to the extreme what it means to be a witness for the Lord?
...be bold enough to shatter deliberate ignorance and willful blindness and shed God’s light on this corrupt and callous world in which we live. The last thing Jesus told his disciples was where he expected their witnessing to take place: in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Jesus seemed to be operating with a sense that God’s interests were not limited to one community, or one nation, or one group of people. God was challenging those disciples to have a sense of vocation that left them open to serving wherever God’s sovereign reign extended. I remember my last week in Seminary when a few of my classmates gathered in a student lounge where we began to talk openly about what we hoped would happen after graduation. Some said they wanted to serve churches in Texas or Georgia or Illinois. Others hoped to earn a Ph.D. and teach at Harvard or Yale or come right back to Union
Cornel West, Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, Penguin Press: New York, 2004, p. 114.
West, p. 114.
Seminary in New York. Finally, one student said he was willing to go wherever God sent him. After hearing that statement, the rest of us felt ashamed for having given God such specific instructions about our career plans. We were impressed by the willingness of our classmate to go wherever he was sent. That is until we realized that he was not really through talking. After a very long pause he continued by saying, “So long as it is no farther south than Baltimore and no farther west than Pittsburgh.” Since we were at that moment seated in New York City that preacher was actually giving God as many restrictions as everybody else. Who will be a witness for the Lord wherever the Lord sends us? Are any of us prepared to go wherever the Lord sends us, or are we determined to conduct our ministries within a cocoon of self-imposed comfort? Jesus told them to be his witness in Jerusalem, which represents the community and the city in which our church or
There are more than two million people crammed into prisons in this country at a cost of $25,000 per year, per prisoner. What could we do as a nation in terms of drug rehabilitation, public education, repairing the national infrastructure, affordable housing and work-force development if we could find a better way to solve our social problems than simply locking people up that might be better served by out-patient drug treatment programs at onefourth the cost of incarceration? At the same time, we have been spending $15 billion per month on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last nine years. This nation would not have a budget deficit if we were not throwing our money away into wars we can never win at the cost of human lives we did not have to lose. These are just some of the issues in our nation for which God needs somebody to be a witness. Much to their surprise, Jesus then told them to be his witness in Samaria. That is where “those people live.” It does not matter where you go in this world; there are always some people within the community that are viewed pejoratively as “those people.” Maybe they are defined by their ethnicity, their social class, their sexual orientation, their social and/or political views or the neighborhood in which they live. There always seem to be “those people.” Some of us may have a recent history of treating others as if they were nothing more to us than “those people.” Some of us have had a recent history of being treated as if we were nothing more than “those people.”
She said that I had a vote because it was my life and she was telling me that I was voting yes. She said that God had a vote and that God had already told her that God’s vote was yes. ministry is located. It may be true about our own seminary that we spend too much time in the splendid isolation of this high hill on which our buildings are standing, and not spend nearly enough time engaging with the people and problems just beyond our walls. Too many Christians, like too many seminaries and divinity schools, do all of their work inside of their own walls and with little real interest in what is going on in the very communities in which they are located. Notice that no sooner had Jesus challenged them to engage with their local community in Jerusalem then he pointed them beyond their local settings, and called upon them to be his witness in Judea. This was a call to be a prophet to the nation. There are some people who will be assigned to ministry settings where prosperity and stability are the order of the day. During my 24-year ministry in Cleveland, Ohio, I was always amazed by people who lived in the prosperous suburbs that showed no interest in suffering going on just 15 minutes or 5 miles away. However, there are also some serious problems in our nation, and Jesus wants us to lift up our heads from our local pre-occupations long enough to focus on the larger, national agenda.
I recall my junior year in high school when I had one of my more memorable experiences of being treated like a Samaritan, like one of “those people.” I was going to see my high school guidance counselor concerning for my plans after graduation. How surprised I was when she told me that I should not aspire to going to college because, in her mind, I did not have the brain that would make me successful in higher education. I went home, believing what she had told me, and told my mother that she could stop saving for my college fund, because the guidance counselor had already told me that I did not have the brain for college-level work. My mother was not easily dissuaded, and so she just shrugged off what I had just said. She told in no uncertain terms that only three people could determine whether or not I would go to college and that the guidance counselor was not one of them. She said that she had a vote because she was my mother and she was voting yes. She said that I had
a vote because it was my life and she was telling me that I was voting yes. She said that God had a vote and that God had already told her that God’s vote was yes. Therefore, on the strength of that unanimous vote I should go on to college despite the guidance counselor. Somehow and without a brain I finished college in four years. I finished my theological training in three years; all with no brain. Then I earned two doctoral degrees: a D. Min. and a Ph.D. On the day I was awarded the D. Min. from Princeton my mother walked up to me and said, “Where is the guidance counselor who told us that we do not have a brain for college level work?” All that my guidance counselor saw was a black male, from a broken home, living in an inner-city neighborhood. All she saw was one of “those people.” She wrote me off and reached conclusions about my life based solely on who I was and not what I could become. She could not imagine that I would be standing here as the president of a divinity school with a Ph.D. behind my name. The sad thing is that all of us are guilty of looking upon some group of people as “those people.” All they have to do is be sufficiently different from us, always using ourselves as the standard of what is normal and acceptable, and we look down upon them as “those people.” The Samaritans were certainly “those people” in the eyes of Jews in the first century; and yet here is Jesus sending his disciples to be witness in Samaria. The goal of theological education is to make us all sensitive to and responsive to those in our society that others are willing to pass by, overlook and ignore. Even if it costs us the friendship of some people whose support or endorsement we would like to have, our challenge is to be God’s witness in Samaria. Notice finally that Jesus challenges us to be his witnesses unto the ends of the earth. We cannot limit our focus to the people and problems that are within our immediate vicinity. Nor can we be so nationalistic that we cannot or will not think about global issues and global problems. One of the things we hope you learn in seminary is that God is sovereign over the whole of Creation. God is not the private property of any one nation, and God has no regard for one nation above any others. As much as we in this country talk about “American exceptionalism,” God is unimpressed. God does not smile from heaven or nod in consent when we sing “God Bless America.” That might make sense for a Russian immigrant named Irving Berlin who fled oppression in one country and found opportunity in another. The song that makes more sense is the one that says, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
In a world divided by Muslims and Christians and Jews battling for power and preeminence we are called upon to be God’s witness. At a time when terrorists are strapping on suicide bombs and NATO forces are dropping “smart bombs,” we are called upon to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth.
One of the things we hope you learn in seminary is that God is sovereign over the whole of Creation. God is not the private property of any one nation, and God has no regard for one nation above any others. While U.S. corporations out-source jobs from this country so they can maximize profits, all the while paying foreign workers less and by lowering environmental protection rules as well, we are called upon to be God’s witnesses in the whole world. Understand that it may not always be popular to be God’s witnesses. Someone in the government might rebuke you. Someone in your own congregation may condemn you. Someone in your denomination might oppose you as you seek to pursue a career in ministry. I cannot guarantee that any of those things may not happen. All I can do is assure you that if you and I are willing to stand up and speak up and be God’s witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the ends of the earth, we may be blessed someday to hear our God say about our service, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As we begin another academic year, let us keep clear what we believe is the true goal of this enterprise. It is not about grades and graduation. It is not about books published and articles written. It is about being a witness for the Lord throughout the whole of God’s creation in the blessed hope that the God who sends us will one day review our service in God’s name and say, “Well done.” With that challenge and that promise looming before us let our work for this academic year begin.
Want to watch Dr. McMickle's sermon at the 2011 Opening Convocation? Use your smartphone to scan this code, or type http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNncHV2BBNQ directly into your browser.
Remembering Dr. Ronald V. Wells A l u m n u s a n d Pa s t P r e s i d e n t o f C r o z e r T h e o l o g i c a l S c h o o l
n November of last year, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School lost a treasured member of its family when Dr. Ronald V. Wells died at the age of 95 in Schenectady, New York. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913, Dr. Wells initially prepared for a career in farming at Iowa State University. Early on in his studies, however, he experienced a call to ministry and after two years, transferred to Denison University, graduating in the Class of 1935. While at Denison, Dr. Wells had a fortuitous meeting with the president of Crozer Theological Seminary and decided then and there he would attend Crozer. Soon after arriving on the Chester campus in 1935, he met his future wife, Patricia Woodburne, daughter of the late Crozer faculty member A. Stewart Woodburne. The two were married in 1938 in the same house they would later occupy upon their return to Chester in 1962. A pastor, academic and activist
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School remains ever grateful for Dr. Wellsâ€™s leadership, guidance, friendship and steadfast support of the CRCDS mission.
During his studies at Crozer, Dr. Wells served as a student pastor to a small church north of Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he was called to his first full time pastorate at First Baptist Church in Somerville, New Jersey where he simultaneously completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Columbia University. In 1942, he moved his family to Bridgeport, Connecticut where he served at First Baptist Church for five years. His time in Bridgeport was marked by his efforts to sponsor Japanese-Americans, allowing them to move out of the internment camps in the West to find work in the Bridgeport area. Dr. Wells also played an integral role in the founding of the Greater Bridgeport Council of Churches. Leader in the Colgate Rochester-Crozer merger
In 1947, Dr. Wells was called to pastor First Baptist Church of Ames, Iowa, where he oversaw the building of a new church facility while also serving on the faculty of Iowa State University. In 1952, he left Ames to become the Associate Director of the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication, where he raised over $7.5 million for American Baptist colleges. In 1962, Dr. Wells returned to his beloved Crozer as President, serving the school at a critical time in its history. He was instrumental in creating a college of nursing at Crozer and worked tirelessly to chart the course of Crozer for the future. Responding to the challenge of declining seminary enrollment and mounting costs, Dr. Wells led the initiative to secure the Crozer legacy through the 1970 merger with Colgate Rochester Divinity School, bringing each schoolâ€™s rich tradition of scholarship and commitment to social justice together into one new school in Rochester, New York.
In Memoriam Rocelia Christenson Motley
Doris Terry Schwab
Ronald V. Wells
Dr. Wells and wife Patricia
"Blessed with vision to see the opportunities for innovation"
Dr. Wells served as president of Sioux Falls College in South Dakota and as a fundraiser for Marts and Lundy where he raised $150 million for the Presbyterian Major Mission Fund. He is the author of two books, Three Christian Transcendentalists and Spiritual Disciplines for Every Day Living, which sold almost 10,000 copies. He is predeceased by his wife, Patricia, in 2009. Upon his death, his son Robert wrote, “He was a tall, handsome man whose hair remained dark until the end. He was blessed with vision to see the opportunities for innovation his work brought him. Fortunately his energy and enthusiasm matched his vision, a fact demonstrated not only by his innovations, but also by five honorary degrees from Brown and Colby, among others. He was a man of few hobbies, satisfied by his work and his family. He died well-beloved by family and friends.” Today, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) remains ever grateful for Dr. Wells’s leadership, guidance, friendship and steadfast support of the CRCDS mission. We continue to thank God for the life of this remarkable servant and for his lasting impression on the Colgate Rochester Crozer legacy.
Sadie McCallum Aldrin
Beth Whisman Christiansen
Dorothy Taylor Ellmore
John R. Schroeder
Franklin W. Young
Paul O. Madsen
Mae Samples Roeder
Hugh B. Chittenden
Douglas W. Passage
Elizabeth Montomayor Mascarenas
Mary Ailes Miles
Robert C. Hathaway
Edward H. Rybnicek
Lloyd H. Yost
Laurel L. Malcomson
Howard C. Adams
Jerry C. Freiert
G. Todd Roberts
Richard D. Crooks
Dorothy Woodard Randall
Norman W. Schanck
Dennis E. Norris
Raymond L. Graves
Thomas E. Diamond
James A. Flurer
Melba C. Meyer
Kenneth A. Dodd
Agnes Jurima Morrison
Scholarships &Gifts First Rev. George and Doris Haddad Scholarship Announced
olgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School is proud to announce the first recipients of the Rev. George and Doris Haddad Scholarship.
R aym o n d H. A llen Raymond is a first year student enrolled in the Master of Divinity program with a goal of becoming a full-time pastor. He also hopes to one day teach theology at the college/university level. Raymond currently serves Bethany Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, NY as a part-time minister.
Shelley Lynn Peters Shelley is a first year student at CRCDS, working toward her Master of Divinity degree. She is a member of the United Methodist Church and is currently focused on pre-paring for ordained ministry with a particular interest in chaplaincy work. Before arriving on the Hill, Shelley was employed as a registered nurse.
About the Rev. George and Doris Haddad Scholarship The Scholarship was established in 2010 through a generous gift from the estate of George and Doris Haddad. Rev. Haddad was a member of CRDS Class of â€™38 who recalled his
days on The Hill as some of the best of his life. Through their generous gift, George and Doris will enable current and future CRCDS students, like Raymond and Shelley, answer the call to ministry while decreasing the load they carry from educational debt. All of us in the CRCDS community offer our congratulations to Raymond and Shelley and our sincere and heartfelt thanks to George and Doris Haddad for their generosity in providing support for the future generations of church and community leaders.
First CRCDS Annual Walk-a-thon Rev. Gordon Webster, Chairperson for the Interfaith Forum of Greater Rochester, and Marango Muyubira, a member of Lake Avenue Baptist Church, chat with President-elect McMickle at the First CRCDS Annual Walk-a-thon this past September.
Rocelia and Brunson Motley Make Generous Gift to Horizon Society
RCDS gratefully acknowledges a gift from the estate of our beloved Baptist Missionary Training School Class of '32 alumna and Horizon Society member, Rocelia Motley and her husband, Brunson.
2012 D i s t i n g u i s hed A lu m n i / a e Award: Call for S u b m i s s i o ns Do you know a CRCDS alumnus or alumna whose pastoral work, ministry, impact on his or her community or life achievements ought to be recognized by our larger community? Please consider submitting a nomination for the 2012 Distinguished Alumni/ae Award.
Rocelia and Brunson were unwavering supporters of the Baptist Missionary Training School (BMTS) and CRCDS. In 1983, they established the Rocelia and Brunson Motley Scholarship Fund of the BMTS to provide support for CRCDS students, particularly Baptist women pursuing theological degrees. They also provided significant financial support for both the BMTS Chair and the BMTS Scholarship. Now, by remembering the School in their estate plans, Rocelia and Brunson have provided a generous gift of $190,000 in general support of the mission of CRCDS. We thank God for the lives of Rocelia and Brunson and continue to give thanks for their generosity in support of the CRCDS mission and the legacy of the BMTS.
Your Gift Would you like to make a gift to CRCDS through your estate? If you would like more information on this important opportunity or if you would like to speak with someone about the possibility of including CRCDS in your estate, please contact Tom McDade Clay, Director of Development and Alumni/ae & Church Relations at (585) 340-9648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Horizon Society is the planned giving society of CRCDS. Society members have chosen to include the school in their estate planning, providing future support for CRCDS. Remembering the school in your estate plans is an important way of providing for the CRCDS mission and the legacy of the schools it represents. Through estate planning, Horizon members are able to provide for loved ones while also providing essential financial resources that enable a promising and thriving future for CRCDS and its mission of providing intelligent, learned and socially conscious leaders who transform the communities they serve.
Submissions can be made to Tom McDade Clay (phone: (585) 340-9648 email: email@example.com). Please include your candidateâ€™s full name and an up-to-date means of contact.
Non-Profit Org. US Postage
Rochester, NY Permit No. 1588
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School 1100 Goodman Street Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 271-1320 www.crcds.edu Follow us: @crcds Like us: facebook.com/crcds
“...we are called upon to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth.”