HERALDING NEWS FROM NORTHEASTERN SEMINARY
“THE CONNECTION IS MADE, often in the absence of words, through a gentle touch, a long and loving exchange of truly seeing each other, holding a frail hand, reading a Psalm, or simply sitting and meditating by the sound of the laboring breath of the dying. It is a deep connection that I highly value and am honored to experience.” This is fulfillment for Stergios Skatharoudis, (C25, MA/ MSW) who is called to hospice care. With increasing numbers of people ending their life journey in a hospice facility there is a growing need for this ministry. Yet many take other directions as the challenges are significant. Harold Scott, adjunct professor for Ministry to the Dying and Bereaved and pastor of community care at Pearce Memorial Church in North Chili, N.Y., notes, “People who are dying are often depressed and struggling with their pending death. Many encounters result in conversations about how unfair life is and questions about why God didn’t heal them. There is often an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness. Unresolved issues and broken relationships often come to the surface.” The challenge for Skatharoudis is in the cycle of making deep connections with the dying and their loved ones, followed by the need to detach once they have died, and then to form another connection that serves a new person and their needs and desires. He reflects, “In this ministry of loss, grief, joy, and celebration—all mingled into one—the challenge is to be present in all the moments.” So of all the contexts for ministry why would someone commit to hospice care? Rev. Brenda
VOL. 10, NO. 2 ■ MARCH 2013
Sherman (M.Div. ‘09), chaplain at Hospice and Palliative Care in Cheektowaga, N.Y., recalls that sense of “giving something back” during the bedside care that was part of her field education placements. Her subsequent work with cancer patients was, she shares, “divine preparation for something I didn’t even know was in my future.” She discovered how spiritually serene death could be as she facilitated family members in their bedside reminiscing of cherished memories and how that led to a room filled with laughter, a perceived response by the patient, and resulting joy for loved ones. At those moments of transition she has seen family bonds strengthened as they become united in their support of each other. Skatharoudis had a different starting point noting, “I was compelled to serve in a hospice setting due to my own fear of death and so I started training to become a full-time volunteer.” In the midst of this fear he dealt with his own emotional issues, learning how to love being at the bedside of a dying client, and learning to honor and respect the mourning of friends and families. “I am fulfilled by sharing my humanity and humility with the dying,” he said. “This is a ministry where God's presence is felt deeply. After years of ministry Scott continues to find joy in helping people to discover meaning and hope even as they are dying. “It is a gift to assist people in finding grace and forgiveness and in completing some of their final life’s tasks,” he says. “The knowledge that we have assisted in bringing closure to their earthly
Hospice Ministry Biblical Scholar Named to Faculty Presidential Transition Successful Accreditation Upcoming Events Community News
Continued on page 2
journey and prayerfully guiding them as they face eternity is very fulfilling.”
On Monday, Feb. 11, at a campus-wide meeting for staff and faculty, Dr. John A. Martin, president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary, announced that he will finish his service following the 2013-14 school year. “The College is moving into its next critical phase of development, and I feel that the timing of this transition makes sense from a strategic perspective,” Martin said. “I am proud of all we have accomplished together, and I feel confident that the community will continue to thrive.” The College and Seminary board of trustees has begun the process to determine a successor. Vice President and Dean Doug Cullum serves on the search committee.
The cornerstones for hospice ministry are clear. Each person approaches death uniquely—some with a deep sense of peace, others with anger, depression and fear, while still others are withdrawn and quiet. The focus is on meeting them at each moment in the process and letting their needs, emotions and concerns guide the conversation and the care—allowing them the freedom to connect in any way they can for their spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing as they transition. Sherman particularly appreciates her own setting in which the collaboration of a nurse, social worker, chaplain, and physician bring their expertise together for respect-filled care that minimizes suffering and ensures a sense of worth. Those inclined to hospice ministry are as different as those they serve but a few common qualities exist. They exhibit a large reservoir of compassion born out of mercy, encouragement, and a servant’s heart. The reality of death is handled in ways that maintain their own perspectives and beliefs while not imposing them on others. They become skillful at extended listening without trying to “fix” things and are accepting of the raw emotion of crying and anger. They see death as a stage of growth to be explored and are not afraid to talk about it. Beyond the Seminary class on the dying and bereaved, Sherman finds the spiritual formation disciplines she developed at Northeastern useful for analyzing both her visits and herself as a hospice chaplain. Addressing the spiritually formative events in the lives of those she serves has been meaningful for them. For Skatharoudis the seminary experience has helped him more
closely examine the words of Jesus and how they apply in his ministry. The multidenominational classroom prepared them both to serve across religious traditions. Scott’s resolve as he pastors and teaches is to see “ministers who are called and who have a deep desire to bring the comfort and peace of Christ to people who will soon end their earthly journey.” NOTE: Ministry to the Dying and Bereaved is being offered May 28 to June 25, 2013. Request information or register .
Northeastern Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nijay K. Gupta as assistant professor of biblical theology and exegesis starting July 1, 2013. His expertise in Pauline theology and Greek, along with his experience and commitment to ministry in our culture, will contribute to the Seminary’s mission to prepare men and women for service to the church and world.
Check out the ever-changing list of job opportunities at the career services website . Positions include pastor, residential staff, associate pastor, and more. Also view a list of recent postings around upstate N.Y. here . See if they are a good fit for you. PAGE 2
Gupta, who holds degrees from the University of Durham (Ph.D.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Th. and M.Div.), has taught at Durham, Ashland Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University/Seminary, and Eastern University in biblical studies. He is recognized for his scholarship through multiple awards and is active in the Institute for Biblical Research as a program co-chair and board member. Among a broad scope of publications are his books Worship That Makes Sense to Paul: A New Approach to the Theology of Paul’s Cultic Metaphors (2010) and Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Beyond (2011), and a new commentary on Colossians as part of the Smyth and Helwys Commentary Series. “I have dreamt of teaching at a thriving seminary, working with pastors, missionaries, and other Christian leaders – a place just like NES,” notes Gupta in his blog CRUX SOLA . “I will have outstanding colleagues, wonderful students, and [live in] a quaint city (Rochester). I can honestly say that, from the first interview I had with NES, I knew that this was an ideal place for my teaching and scholarship. The leadership is exemplary, the staff exceptionally warm, and the campus itself (of Roberts Wesleyan College) is impressive. Gupta’s appointment comes at the retirement of founding faculty member and professor of biblical and systematic theology, Dr. Paul Livermore, who has served at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary for 33 years.
Many churches experience anxiety in these days as attendance declines, budgets tighten, and the younger generation heads for the exits. The church has faced anxious days before, and Jason Vickers then, as now, responses among its people have varied, ranging from respiration and preservation to innovation and expansion. However, Jason E. Vickers, Ph.D., featured speaker at the Church Renewal Conference hosted by Northeastern Seminary in March, recommends that before we respond we must be theologically rooted in the holiness of God. Although not a new thought to me, the following charge by Vickers has dominated my thoughts: if people can’t experience God in the church and be undone by him, then we’re missing it. The question, he says, we must ask ourselves is: “Whether visitors believe us or not, if they came to our church, would they know that we believe the power and presence (i.e., the holiness) of God is in this place?” Typically, we respond in the affirmative. But are we truly cultivating a people who expect and experience the holiness of God? Or are we simply providing fellowship, inclusivity, good music, practical teaching, and hospitality?
We are in the midst of our spring Phonathon, raising money for the Northeastern Seminary Fund. This fund helps make the Northeastern education possible for the next generation of students. Now in our 15th year, Northeastern already has a rich legacy of committed individuals who support the mission to prepare Christ-centered men and women for faithful, effective ministry. So when a student calls (or leaves a message in your voice mailbox) please know that your generosity will assist others in their preparation for service to the church and world. If you would like to give electronically , visit our online site. Every gift, of any amount, makes a difference. Thank you for considering a gift, and for the role you play in our community at Northeastern Seminary.
Missio Alliance Conference April 11-13 Alexandria, Va. Ministers Institute of the Northeast April 23-25 North East, Penn. Elim Fellowship Leadership Conference May 22-25 Lima, N.Y. Genesee Free Methodist Annual Conference May 23-24 Endicott, N.Y. United Methodist Upper New York Conference May 28-June 1 Syracuse, N.Y.
Not that we shouldn’t do those other things. It’s just that apart from the holiness of God, the church doesn’t exist. We’re just another political caucus, another charity organization. People can find those things anywhere. What they cannot find anywhere else is reconciliation to God, to be made whole by him, to be reunited with him. Therefore, our mission is twofold: 1) faithfully worship our holy God—the one altogether unlike any other—and 2) witness in word and deed to his salvific work in Jesus Christ. Fulfilling this mission will renew our churches, but its implementation depends on the leading of the Spirit within our local contexts. May we take the time necessary to prayerfully consider the answers to what, where, when and how.
to the extension site of Northeastern Seminary in Williamsville, N.Y. affirmed course offerings up to 2/3 of each degree program (the maximum amount of non-residency allowable by the Standards for professional master’s degrees). In our commitment to fostering a community of learners the Seminary will continue to enhance the informal and educational interactions with distance students through staff support, training and preparation for study, and library services. The reports of the two focused evaluation teams will be presented at the August meeting of the Commission on Accrediting, where the commission will take formal action on the teams’ recommendations.
—Ray Hammond (M.Div. ‘0 8) Family Ministries Pastor, Brockport Free Methodist Church, Brockport, N.Y.
In March Northeastern Seminary hosted two focused evaluation teams from Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. Northeastern Seminary is grateful for two excellent teams of peer evaluators. The team for governance, strategic planning, and finance was favorably impressed with the role of governing groups and determined that seminary interests are well served and protected by the existing board structures and its members. The Seminary was encouraged to continue to strengthen institutional planning and progress toward sustainable financial equilibrium in its relationship with Roberts Wesleyan College. The outcome of the focused evaluation visit
April 15 to June 28 Landscapes as metaphors for the inner life— painter Aleta Wynn Yarrow of Elmira, N.Y. has long been drawn to natural elements of transition: autumn, spring, and evening. In human emotional life, transitions are the points of greatest vulnerability, but they also bring a potential for transformation and for deep hope. Inspired by auditory, tactile, or introspective experiences, the exhibit features 26 paintings created in what the artist describes as the shadowland between technique and vision; emotion and intellect; the physical realm and the spiritual one.
Wynn’s work has been exhibited in the RePresenting Representation biennial at the Arnot Art Museum, and is represented by West End Gallery, Corning, N.Y., and the Creative Center, New York, N.Y. View full resume . The exhibit is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Northeastern Seminary, 2265 Westside Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14624. For information call 585.594.6800 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
April 16, 2013 You can actually feel it—the tension between contextual, age-specific ministry for our students and the value of engaging the whole faith community in their formation. ■
■ ■ ■
June 18, 2013 Getting your bearings in the ever shifting church of the 21st century can be tricky. Final assessments and absolute pronouncements are elusive as we experience constant reconfiguration. Phyllis Tickle, one of the keenest observers of Christianity in America brings clarity to where we currently stand and where we may be going relative to other parts of God’s church. This one-day conference invites us to join the investigation and conversation as openminded explorers. Tickle leads a discovery of fascinating insights into concerns, organizational patterns, theology, and the most pressing questions facing emergence Christianity.
Are the student ministry silos that have emerged the desired goal or the unintentional result of our efforts? Are we contributing to the generational disconnect by maintaining silos? Does the drive to celebrate distinction inhibit our ability to be a community? How do we balance age-appropriate messages so they don’t succumb to the cultural norms that focus on self rather than on a Holy God?
Tickle is founding editor of the Religion Department of Publisher’s Weekly, a frequent resource on religion in America for USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and New York Times. She is author of The Great Emergence and Emergence Christianity and over two dozen additional books on religion and spirituality. Watch for conference details at www.nes.edu/phyllis-tickle-emergencechristianity.
Join other youth leaders for breakfast to discuss key issues facing student ministries. Register here.
Monday, April 15 Thursday, April 25
4:30—6 p.m. 4:30—6 p.m.
Thursday, May 2
6500 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville Onondaga Community College, Mawhinney Hall, Room 103, Syracuse 2265 Westside Drive, Rochester
Wesley, Neuroscience, and Human Flourishing with David Hogue & Diane Stephens September 23, 2013
The trip to the Holy Land originally scheduled for 2013 has been rescheduled for June 30 to July 15, 2014. Students, alumni, faculty and community members will be alerted when details and registration information become available. In the meantime, if you have any questions please direct them to email@example.com.
Kathrine Page (C3) presented a lecture series on ancient, medieval, and renaissance art at 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, N.Y. The lectures demystify art history for students, artists, or art collectors, with an emphasis on artists’ personal vision and contextual narratives. Page directs the Spencer Hill Gallery and writes for Christians in the Visual Arts . Her latest essay, “Quest for Wonder,” appears in xii:2, 2012, CIVA Seen Journal.
Many thanks to Brian Babcock, former assistant dean and director of the D.Min. program, for his leadership in recruitment from October to December 2012 during staff transitions in the admissions office.
Shane Smith (C15) spoke at the Roberts Wesleyan College Chapel in February. His message was titled “Grace Works.” Sheritta Williams (C22) presented “Let Her Preach! The Pedagogy of Women Preachers from the Feminist, Womanist and Mujerista Points of View” at New York Theological Seminary’s Certificate in Urban Christian Ministry’s site in Buffalo, N.Y. in March. The Preachers’ Platform, a ministry led by NES graduate Desjamebra Robinson (C23), hosted a Quarterly Prayer Platform for Rochester area clergy in February. Michael Traylor (C23) presented “The Power of Our Words” at the Roberts Wesleyan College Chapel in February.
Student News: Tunya Griffin (C22) will be one of the speakers at the Permission Granted Empowerment Seminar in May in Rochester, N.Y. Her message is titled “Power Moms Making Power Moves.” Glen Dornsife (C23) spoke on "Overcoming Failure" at the Roberts Wesleyan College Chapel in March.
Diana Brunson joins the staff as admissions administrative assistant. She brings expertise in ministry, admissions, and financial aid. She is the First Lady at Higher Heights Church of God in Rochester, N.Y., and most recently served as graduate admissions counselor in Roberts’ education department. Nelson Grimm, director of field education, preached on John 4 at Grace Church of the Nazarene in Rochester, N.Y. on March 17. Peter Englert, director of admissions, spoke at Browncroft Community Church for their graduates and professionals gathering on March 15. Dr. Barry Hamilton, theological librarian, presented a lecture “The Importance of Richard Watson’s Institutes for Methodist History” at the Fifth Annual Wesley Studies Symposium at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ont. His paper was based on his upcoming book, The Strategic Importance of Richard Watson’s Theological Institutes for Methodist History. J. Richard Middleton, professor of biblical worldview and exegesis, joins a team of ten Christian scholars for a communal research program on evolution, the Fall, and original sin. The project, “Beyond Galileo—to Chalcedon: Re-imagining the Intersection of Evolution and the Fall,” has received funding by the Biologos Foundation and will begin this summer. It is sponsored by the Colossian Forum on Faith, Science, and Culture.
I have often mused that it would be great to have a sound-track version of the Bible. But today I find myself wishing for the MyersBriggs personality types of the disciples. In Johnâ€™s account of the Easter story, three disciples with very different personalities encounter the empty tomb (John 20:1-18). Thereâ€™s Peter: detective, analyzer, quick decision maker, somewhat impulsive, and given to an excess of enthusiasm. There is the beloved disciple: earnest, intuitive, reflective, somewhat timid, and cautious. And, there is Mary Magdalene: self-starter, initiative-taker, caring, loyal, and relational. Three very different people; three very different personalities with one life-changing similarity: their encounter with the Risen Lord infused their lives in such a way that they became faithful servants of Christ and the church. Peter became the central spokesperson of the earliest church; the beloved disciple became the author of the most unique Gospel in our four-fold collection; and Mary Magdalene became the first disciple to proclaim the good news of Easter.
backgrounds and include every possible personality type. Yet, in their continued encounter with the Risen Lord through theological education, their lives are transformed. They go from here to serve God and the world with their own unique gifts, personalities, and passions infused with the presence of the Christ. Thanks be to God! The mission of theological education is to participate in the life-changing mission of God in and for the world. At Northeastern Seminary, lives are being formed and transformed through study, prayer, and the communal life of theological education. Thank you for your support and continued prayers for the work of Northeastern Seminary. Christ is risen. Alleluia!
At Northeastern Seminary, we are privileged to see this story play out anew and afresh every day. Our seminarians come from diverse
Northeastern Seminary 2265 Westside Drive Rochester, N.Y. 14624 585.594.6800 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nes.edu