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VOL. 9, NO. 2 ■ MARCH 2012


Doug Cullum Academic Vice President and Dean, Professor of Historical and Pastoral Theology

It is a joy to introduce this issue of ResOund. Here we highlight various expressions of Northeastern Seminary’s commitment to be a community of imagination. The year 2040 is the projected point at which North America will no longer have a single racial/ethnic group as the majority population. At the Seminary, we celebrate this new reality as a precious gift of God. By God’s grace, we are learning today what it means to move beyond narrow monoculturalism. We embrace the broad array of gifts that are ours as a multi-racial/ethnic community. We are learning it’s not “us-them,” or “host and guest,” but that we are all one as we live out our common humanity in Christ. At Northeastern Seminary, we seek to live the future today. We are making every effort here and now to be a sign of God’s new creation in a respect-filled community where we “affirm and learn from each person in our richlydiverse community of faith, regardless of such distinctives as denominational affiliation, ethnicity, gender, or age” (NES Core Affirmations). We are preparing women and men today to serve the world at our doorstep for years to come. As you read these pages, thank you for celebrating the wonder and beauty of God’s work among us. And, especially, thank you for being part of this community of imagination.

Tom Worth M.Div., C4, D.Min., C1

I have been making trips to Bulgaria and Eastern Europe for the last 20 years. When I enter a home in Bulgaria, the first thing I do is take off my shoes. My host will say, “Please, please, leave your shoes on,” as a sign of respect to me. But it is necessary for me to trump that with my insistence in taking them off. In this way I show respect to them and their home. Having fulfilled this ritual, they usually offer me some house slippers. And when someone trusts you enough to allow you into their home, you really are on holy ground. It’s not enough to be the man or woman of God and stay in the local hotel and have good meetings. Since we are friends and equals, the Bulgarians want to share their living spaces with us. Only when you are on a person’s home turf do you truly get to know them. And only then do they get to know you. While we tend to be task oriented in the West, the most important factor in missions to Eastern Europe is relationship. I suspect this holds true in much of the rest of the world. Some of the most important ministry takes place in informal situations, for instance around the supper Continued on page 2

A Community of Imagination ■ Holy Ground ■ Unity in Diversity Babcock Scholarship for Ethnic Diversity ■ Spring Events ■ Community News

Heart For Lebanon In February the Seminary hosted founder and director of Heart for Lebanon, Dr. Camille Melki, for an informal gathering with seminary and Roberts Wesleyan College students who are studying multicultural perspectives. Dr. Melki shared his calling to be an integral part in building up Christ’s community and for empowering youth to become leaders in the church. Relief efforts, leadership training, and community development are all part of the vision that launched this nongovernment organization dedicated to changing lives and transforming indigenous, refugee, and gypsy communities in Lebanon. Dr. Melki also spoke in Dr. Elizabeth Gerhardt’s Women in Church History class, and Dr. Nelson Grimm’s Transformational Leadership class. This visit was inspired by Duffy Smith’s (C23) 2011 field education experience in which he traveled to Lebanon and worked with Dr. Melki and members of Heart for Lebanon.

(Holy Ground continued) table. Luke’s Gospel indicates that much of Jesus’ ministry took place the same way. Embracing the centrality of relationships, I have also drawn from the values learned at NES to minister in Eastern Europe: ■ ■

■ ■

Faith-sharing showed me the value of listening The NES Core of theology and devotion embedded in our study of Church history has given me perspective, balance and context in our mission My study of women’s issues at NES has equipped me to help the Bulgarian church with these matters The pastoral emphasis at NES has helped me help pastors there Most of all, I have been encouraged to maintain and increase my focus on the Person of the Lord Jesus; when I draw people’s attention to Jesus, I find that he is trans-cultural

in Hebrew. But now they heard these unlearned Galileans, using all the languages from Rome to Parthia to praise the God of Israel. It was a sign that at the cross, Jesus had drawn all to himself, had drawn each human language and culture to himself and had sanctified it and now had given it back as an instrument of his praise and glory. Now any culture can be holy ground. Will we take our shoes off when we enter another culture? It is there that the mystery of friendship occurs. I was preaching in Silistra, Bulgaria from the text in Exodus 3 where Moses took off his shoes because he was in the presence of the Lord. These Bulgarians were already familiar with the practice. But how powerful it was when I could take their cultural affinity with stocking feet and use it to proclaim to them that because of Jesus’ work on the cross, they were meant for the presence of God. It was where they belonged. They could take their shoes off there because they had come home. This is true reconciliation, marked by homecoming and friendship.

But all these things would be to no avail, if I had not taken the trouble to become friends with those to whom I minister. That is the bridge across the cultural divide. When the church began, it was multicultural. With the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2, God established multiculturalism as a primary feature of the church. The disciples found themselves praising God in the languages of all the nations of the known world. Jewish pilgrims coming for the Feast of Pentecost could hear them praising God in those foreign pagan languages that they thought they had left behind. They were looking forward to praising God in the Temple, singing the Psalms


The Native American sits next to the Congolese man to discuss the Pan-African/Swahili group. The Nigerian man greets the Anglo woman while the Myanmar-Burmese man speaks with the African American woman. The Rwandan and Eritean men take their seats and prepare to meet. This is not the opening of a United Nations session. This is the leadership team at RiverRock Church in Buffalo N.Y. sitting down together to ask the questions that will guide and shape their ministries.

Some may find it curious and even disorienting to sit in a service punctuated by shouts of “Amen” and excited warbles (or ululations) of African women in worship. What illuminates understanding is that many have lived their entire lives with racial disadvantage and/or in poverty or have come to America and Inner-city Buffalo as refugees—having survived extended and bloody civil wars, imprisonment, ethnic, tribal and interreligious conflicts, genocide, or other atrocities. To say their praise is heartfelt is an understatement. Prayer time at RiverRock includes a chorus of languages spoken by congregants who pray in their native language for the person sitting next to them. While the Lord’s Supper affords the diverse body the opportunity to review its common redemption through and in Christ—and in many ways models and announces the future. Bob Tice, 2012 doctor of ministry graduate and lead pastor at RiverRock, explains the climate that engenders such diversity: “Today we are facing epoch-like changes in terms of worldwide and multidirectional globalization. Culture and their peoples are interfacing and becoming interconnected geographically and relationally at a level never experienced before.” At RiverRock 17 different people groups are represented among the 200 who attend. But, Tice points out, unity in diversity demands more than a mere aggregate experience since this does not automatically

produce authentic community. Diversity must be openly acknowledged and addressed and it must be celebrated as an intrinsic and explicit part of the very Gospel if authentic biblical community is hoped for. So how does a church build true community and meaningful communication across racial, cultural, linguistic, socio-cultural and gender lines? How do they approach worship, spirituality and outreach? What concrete ways can it address conflict and reconciliation? It’s an ongoing process that permeates all aspects of the church. ■ Develop meaningful relationships across leadership and members in ways that “flesh out authentically the DNA of Ephesians and the rest of the New Testament” ■ Lead others in the ministry of inclusion at the church wide level—modeling genuine multicultural relationships ■ Intentionally work at cross-cultural musicality: combining instruments indigenous to different cultures, and assembling teams from across the spectrum of stylistic orientation (tempo, beat, rhythm) ■ Make the effort to find a distinctive music style above and beyond the individual components of the cultures in a sort of synergy through combination ■ Experiment with singing songs whose melodies may be familiar, yet sung in various native languages Continued on page 4

Zip-front fleece sweatshirts $40 ▪ Ball caps $15 ▪ T-shirts $12 ▪ Mugs $5 ▪ Window decals $2 To order contact Sarah Champignon at 585.594.6800 or . Give your name, email or phone number, quantity, and size, as needed. Pick up and pay for your order at the reception desk at the Seminary (Rochester campus) or inquire about shipping.


Scholarship for Ethnic Diversity Grows Thanks to the generous response of several donors in recent months, the value of the Babcock Scholarship for Ethnic Diversity increased to nearly $40,000. This growth in endowed funds increases annual scholarships to $2,000 for students of African American or Hispanic descent. The scholarship is named for retired assistant dean, Brian Babcock, a strong advocate of ethnic diversity at Northeastern Seminary. If you are interested in supporting the Babcock Scholarship, please send your gift to Northeastern Seminary, 2265 Westside Dr., Rochester, NY 14264 or give online at .

(Unity in Diversity continued) ■

April 16, 2012 8:30-11 a.m. Garlock Dining Commons Ellen Stowe Room Roberts Wesleyan College 2301 Westside Drive Rochester, NY 14624

It’s occurring in all sorts of churches—that exodus away from the faith as young people become adults.

So how do you create a climate that anchors youth in their faith for the long haul? Network with other ministry leaders and discuss how to stop the fade away from faith that is all too common. Take a look at the current landscape and pursue a hope for beyond the fade. Register online for this FREE breakfast gathering.

Pair an English-speaking believer with someone who is learning English and read, reflect, and share about a Bible passage; then read the passage in the language of the person learning English Record and circulate interviews that capture the astounding stories of the refugees and other church members Offer both corporate worship experiences alongside services for specific language groups Coordinate youth events (including sports teams) that bring together diverse races and peoples, including those who have been in historic conflict with each other Sponsor a summer concert that includes a unique “fusion” sound as well as the cultural styles and languages of African nations who have experienced inter-tribal conflicts and violence Partner with a medical practice engaged in the ministry of social compassion, advocacy and justice and extend that medical practice back into the communities of origin in native countries

By taking a “gift-driven” approach that esteems every believer as highly valued in their calling to share in the mission of God, RiverRock is positioned to embrace the challenges of pursuing unity in diversity.


More than 80 pastors, students, and community members gathered on Monday, March 5 to learn what is meant by the term “missional preaching.” During the NES-sponsored half-day event Dr. Al Tizon, author, professor, and ordained minister, challenged his audience to embrace the missio Dei, or mission of God, engage churches in that mission, and transform lives in local communities and Al Tizon around the world. The Seminary also hosted author and professor, Theresa Latini, to address the issue of conflict within church communities on March 28. Latini revealed positive opportunities in the midst of conflict and encouraged listeners to reflect on the deeply-seeded needs residing in themselves and others. Through skills rooted in honesty and reflection, leaders in the church can establish empathetic dialogue that leads to true understanding. A graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College, Latini is Theresa Latini associate professor of congregational and community care leadership at Luther Seminary and is parish associate at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. She authored The Church and the Crisis of Community: A Practical Theology of Small-Group Ministry (2011) and co-authored an upcoming

book Transforming Church Conflict: Compassionate Leadership in Action.

April 2—June 30, 2012 Death can become almost unreal in a civilization where people live longer and fewer children die at infancy. Through an exploration of the power of death, Athesia Benjamin, professor of fine arts at Monroe Community College, reveals the fragility of life and reality of death in her thought-provoking installation. Benjamin’s work is inspired by the scripture text from James 4:14, “Whereas you don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”

April 27-28, 2012 Students, alumni, and spouses are invited to come away and relax at a unique, natural setting and participate in small group sessions led by Dr. Elizabeth Gerhardt and others. Details about the women’s retreat are available here . To register please contact Sarah Champignon at or 585.594.6420.

Wednesday, April 4 Thursday, April 12 Wednesday, May 2 Monday, May 21

6—7:30 p.m. 6—7:30 p.m. 12—1 p.m. 6—7:30 p.m.

May 12, 2012 This year’s commencement will celebrate the accomplishments of 24 masters and doctoral program graduates and features speaker Dr. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary. Also being recognized are graduates of three certificate in Christian ministry programs: the Center for Theological Studies and the Hispanic Center for Theological Studies at Northeastern Seminary, the Sound of the Genuine Biblical Institute at Elim Christian Fellowship, and the Rochester Institute for Christian Education.

May 22-24, 2012 This workshop affords working preachers the opportunity to engage in conversation with two of our country’s leading experts in homiletics and biblical preaching. David Lose and Karoline Lewis, two pillars of the weekly podcast “Sermon Brainwave” and the website will be conducting a hands-on workshop for preachers. Come talk about the challenges of contemporary preaching, engage in small group conversation around the texts for Pentecost Sunday, and have the opportunity to preach and receive critique from the presenters and your peers. The workshop occurs at the Notre Dame Retreat Center, 5151 Foster Road, Canandaigua, N.Y. For more information, contact Denise Yarbrough at 585.340.9540 or .

800 4th Street, Liverpool, N.Y. 2265 Westside Drive, Rochester, N.Y. Online Webinar 6500 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville, N.Y.


Come See Us At These Events CUE Free Methodist Longing Forward Apr. 15-17 Rochester, N.Y. CMS at The Chapel May 4-5 Buffalo, N.Y. Building a Faith that Lasts May 5 Syracuse, N.Y. CMA Annual District Conference May 7-9 Gates-Chili, N.Y. Genesis Free Methodist Annual Conference May 11 Batavia, N.Y. Ontario Free Methodist Pastors Gathering May 14-15 Wesley Acres, ON Assemblies of God NY District Council May 15-17 Williamsville, N.Y. United Methodist Upper New York Annual Conference Session May 30-Jun. 1 Syracuse, N.Y.

Youth Ministry Seminars at Kingdom Bound August 5—8, 2012

June 12-13, 2012

For the second year the Rock Talk Pavilion at Kingdom Bound Festival will be the home base for youth ministry seminars presented by Northeastern Seminary.

“When we separate the kingdom of God from the church, then the church becomes some kind of ideology, a sort of programme…,” according to Christian theologian Leslie Newbigin. Have we too often formed ourselves around what we are against rather than who we are and what we are for? How does one lead a congregation into the fullness of life with God in His Mission of the Kingdom? And how are Christian communities formed in Christ for God’s Mission in the world?

Designed to equip pastors and lay leaders serving young people, seminars will be led by members of the seminary community and will be offered daily at 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. Later at the pavilion youth workers can receive counsel and resources from festival artists. As an event sponsor the Seminary enables several underprivileged and special needs children and families to attend the festival. Register for the festival, including the seminars, online at: .

Drawing on experiences in leading an urbanbased intentional community, planting a missional church, establishing leadership collaboration in the post-modern context, and teaching Evangelical theology at Northern Seminary, David Fitch serves as keynote speaker. His encouraging style and convictions around renewal, reinvigoration, and transformation for the future shapes this conference’s examination of the Missio Dei, the Incarnation, and David Fitch witness as central for discerning the way forward. Specific practices that foster congregational formation will be explored.


Plenary sessions: ■ Ways In Which We Form: Empty Politic Versus Politic of Fullness ■ Ideological Church: How It Works Against the Kingdom and Why It Has Run Its Course ■ Missio Dei and Incarnation: How Sentness Extends Authority ■ 5 Practices for Communal Formation: What Happened and Where We Go Now ■ The Future for the Church: Emerging, Neo Reformed, Missional? Workshops: ■ Exploring the Effectiveness of Low-cost Church Models ■ The Mennonite Perspective for The Church in Post-Christendom ■ Responding to the Disenfranchised—A Sense of Healing ■ Linking the Social and Systemic Hope of the Gospel: A Cutting Edge for Transformation More information can be found at in April.

June 16-17, 2012 Northeastern Seminary and Roberts Wesleyan College will serve as platinum sponsors for this music festival created by the Billy Graham Association. Designed for young adults and families the free event is open to the public and incorporates concerts by contemporary musical artists and messages by Franklin Graham. For information on volunteering or attending visit index.aspx?cid=42 .

Summer Courses Alumni News: Master of Divinity (C15) alumnus and D.Min. student (C12), Anthony Harris, was honored in an installation service on March 25 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Erie, Penn. Tracy Johnson (C4) will be running the Buffalo Marathon/Half-Marathon & Marathon Relay on May 27.

Student News: Providence Crowder (C24) is the chief editor of the new Minority Republican Magazine. The publication’s first issue will be complete early April. Providence is also a board member and active member of the Frederick Douglass Foundation. Glen Dornsife (C23) partnered with students in the Roberts Wesleyan College SIFE team to create the elev8 Project, where RWC students worked with local teens to come up with community service projects. After presenting them to a board of judges, the top three teams were awarded funds to carry out the projects. Captain Michelle Law-Gordon (D.Min. C11) was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service from 2008-2011. She has also been selected to attend Squadron Officer School inresidence with the U.S. Air Force this year. She serves as an IMA Chaplain for the Michelle Law-Gordon 20th Figher Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

Doctor of Ministry student, Bob Tice (C4), wrote an article entitled "Harvest Eyes" for Unite magazine’s February/March 2012 issue. The two-part piece is based on Matthew 9:35 10:5.

Faculty News: Dr. Rebecca Letterman presented a talk on February 16 in Sandra Brzoza’s Graduate Leadership course for Nursing on the topic of “Compassion Fatigue.” She also presented on developing ways of extending hospitality to students through active listening at an RWC Faculty and Staff Development workshop on March 15. On February 3 Dr. J. Richard Middleton presented “The Subversive Spirituality of Reggae: ‘Resisting against the System’ in the Music of Bob Marley & the Wailers” at the Baobab Cultural Center in Rochester, N.Y. Using lyrics from several songs performed and recorded by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Livingstone, Dr. Middleton uncovered strategies used in reggae music to resist the status quo and foster alternative identities rooted in a spiritual vision of creation. This lecture was co-sponsored by the Rochester Jamaican Organization, The Program of Black Church Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and the Frederick Douglass Institute at the University of Rochester commemorating Jamaican independence.

Check out the ever-changing list of job opportunities at the career services website . Positions include children’s 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 7

Biblical Greek May 22—June 19 Tuesdays, 6-10 p.m. I & II Kings May 22—June 19 Tuesdays, 6-10 p.m. Multi-Cultural Worship May 22—June 19 Tuesdays, 6-8:35 p.m. Biblical Hebrew May 24—June 21 Thursdays, 6-10 p.m. Social Policy, Leadership, & Community Change May 24—June 21 Thursdays, 6-10 p.m. Navigating the Minefield of Conflict May 24—June 21 Thursdays, 6-8:35 p.m. Information on auditing these classes can be found at: Programs/ PartTimeAuditing.aspx

Northeastern Seminary 2265 Westside Drive Rochester, N.Y. 14624 585.594.6800

March 2012 Issue of ResOund, Northeastern Seminary's enewsletter  

This issue of ResOund, Northeastern Seminary's enewsletter, spotlights: -A Community of Imagination from academic vice president and dean, D...