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VOL. 10, NO. 6 ■ NOVEMBER 2013

by Doug Cullum, vice president and dean

Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

THERE ARE MANY ADVANTAGES OF MAKING A JOURNEY TO THE HOLY LAND. An on-locationimmersion in the history and geography of the biblical narrative makes the Bible come alive in a fresh way. The stories are no longer distant, flat, or abstract. The stories of the Bible become multi-dimensional and packed with new insight. Having the opportunity to see the sights Jesus saw, walk the streets he walked, and breathe the air he breathed can transform the way we think about the extraordinary measures God took to invest in humanity. But there’s more: Going to the Holy Land can be dangerously disruptive to the way one worships God. It has the potential to transform one’s practice of worship by renewing one’s sense of place. Philip Sheldrake points to this potential transformation when he reminds us that “the concept of place refers not simply to a geographical location but to a dialectical relationship between environment and human narrative. Place is a space that has the capacity

to be remembered and to evoke what is most precious” (Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory, and Identity, 1). In the Holy Land, whether following the wanderings of the Hebrew people, the footsteps of Jesus, or the journeys of the Apostle Paul, one cannot help but come faceto-face with the multiple connections between place, memory, and our identity as human beings. And this, in turn, can be a powerful force in shaping the way we think about the vocation of guiding the people of God in worship. Immersion in the Holy Land—as holy ground and holy place—challenges my thinking and practice of worship. That is, a theology of place takes seriously the incarnational, historical, and spatial aspects of worship. A trip to the Holy Land is a forceful reminder that our faith is not merely, or even primarily, a collection of religious affirmations. The Bible is not a book of systematic theology that dispenses theoretical truth. Rather, it is (continued)

A Theology of Place In Context, In Israel Theology Symposium Spring Classes Consortium for Theological Schools Upcoming Events Community News

the story of the eternal God’s intersection with the temporal, historical, embodied world of space, place, geography, and culture. The story of the Scriptures pulsates with God’s unflagging determination to engage creation with selfgiving grace. From God’s walking in the cool of the garden with the first humans to the burning bush, Mt. Sinai, and the Exodus; from the symbolic actions of the prophets, the birth of Jesus, and the anticipation of a new heaven and a new earth—the story of the Bible is a story of engagement, embodiment, and incarnation. The implications for worship are vast. If these things are true then authentic worship cannot merely involve the impartation of some information—even if it’s true and good. Rather, worship will involve remembering God’s great acts in the past in ways that make them present in our own place and time. Authentic worship will take seriously the people, place, and culture of the worshipers—precisely because it is in the very nature of God to be known in and through the things of place, time, and history. Authentic worship will involve the fully embodied participation of the worshipers in action, proclamation, and response. Authentic worship will incarnate the very presence of God in a particular geographical place, an actual physical space, among flesh and blood people. It will resist any expression of worship that is merely cognitive, ideological, or even spiritual. So, going to the Holy Land is dangerous business. It may completely change the way you do church. Doug Cullum visited the Holy Land in summer 2012 in preparation for the trip he will lead for Northeastern Seminary from June 29—July 15, 2014.

I w us t a g Je a co

by Chris Kelley, M.Div. ‘04

IMAGINE STANDING ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES OR WALKING AROUND THE RUINS OF JERICHO. Envision yourself sitting on the ancient steps to the Temple, wading through the dark waters of Hezekiah’s tunnel, standing atop Mt. Nebo (Jordan), and surveying the land of Israel as Moses did in ancient days. Consider what it would be like to swim in the Dead Sea and get refreshed in the streams of En Gedi where David fled from (and encountered) Saul; or to view the wilderness of Maktesh Ramon and walk the

Zip-front fleece sweatshirts $40 ▪ Polos $20 ▪ Ball caps $15 ▪ T-shirts $12 Ceramic Mugs $12 ▪ Note Cubes $3 ▪ Window decals $2 To order contact Sarah Beckler 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 Seminary reception desk (Rochester campus) or arrange for delivery options.


I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD. Psalm 122:1122:1-4

Judean wilderness. That is only a fraction of what I experienced in the Holy Land and what has been built into the Northeastern Seminary study tour in Israel coming up in July 2014. My Bible study and devotions have never been the same and messages from the pulpit have come alive whether preaching or listening to others.

Ever since my first trip to Israel in 1997 I found ways to return again and again—now four times. In a recent trip I studied at Jerusalem University College (JUC), the premiere location to study in Israel. Early in the morning I would wake up and sit on the Old City walls for personal devotions or walk through the Old City before the shops opened and the tourists invaded. With every trip, I found blessing and further confidence and understanding in my study of God’s word. It’s an investment but the experience is unforgettable: ■ ■

Bible in hand, the field becomes your classroom Some of the best scholars on Ancient Israel are the instructors

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There is no “licensed” canned instruction—JUC is the only Christian organization allowed by the Israeli government to provide direct “tours” and education in the land Jewish and Christian perspectives offer insight Traditional vs. biblical and archaeological evidence provide the real story! College/Seminary/continuing education credits can be earned

This is not a trip comprised of the basics. When you get to study the biblical text from the places it unfolded the learning goes deep. You see and hear the sounds of the Old City and walk through the city gates. You walk where Jesus and his disciples walked. You stand where Goliath confronted Israel. You cross the Sea of Galilee by boat and come to understand the historical and geographical settings of the Bible. God is not more present in Israel … but the context of his word is. Immersing yourself in the wonder of the land of the Bible comes with a warning! You will want to return, again and again. Chris Kelley is a National Instructor with Walk Thru the Bible, has led medical mission trips to Africa, and has provided interim pastor support to a number of area churches. He is the vice president of ANKOM Technology and travels extensively around the world.


June 29—July 15, 2014

Follow the footsteps of Jesus Study the Bible from the shores of Galilee Enjoy meals at the Kibbutz Examine archaeological evidence Spend time at Petra, Mount Nebo and Jeresh. Take a 14-day trip with Northeastern Seminary in association with Jerusalem University College. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and institutional leadership can earn two graduate level credits or audit the course. The cost of $4700* includes travel, lodging, meals, entrance fees, tips, class materials/ maps and instruction.

*Costs may be adjusted based on final airfare and trip insurance.

Over 100 people attended the inaugural theology symposium, which will be held biennially.

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College and the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (CETA) co-sponsored an interdisciplinary theology conference on the theme New Creation. Over 100 people gathered on October 19 to hear 45 scholarly papers and join keynote speaker, J. Richard Middleton, Ph.D., professor of biblical worldview and exegesis at Northeastern Seminary. Middleton’s keynote address, titled The Bible’s Best Kept Secret, drew from his most recent book on eschatology, A New Heaven and a New Earth, due for release in spring 2014.

Dr. Middleton with the Jack and Phyllis Middleton Memorial Award winner Andrew Van’t Land

Dr. Middleton presents his keynote address, “The Bible’s Best Kept Secret.”

The conference also featured the presentation of the Jack and Phyllis Middleton Memorial Award for Excellence in Theology to Andrew Van’t Land. The award is given in memory of Jack and Phyllis Middleton, parents of Dr. J. Richard Middleton. Andrew's essay, "Impeccability Amid the Principalities: Christ’s Sinlessness in a Culture of Sinful Systems" will be published in the Canadian Theological Review. The Northeastern Seminary blog featured guest posts from a number of conference presenters in October. These posts can be found here.

Ministry leaders and graduates can join current students in 16 courses this spring. Classes can assist in meeting professional development requirements, enriching vocations, or for completing degrees. Graduates enjoy the alumni benefit of auditing a class for only $50. Classes occur one night a week on Mondays. Courses and their faculty include: ■

Pastoral Formation

Lectionary Preaching

Women in Church History Elizabeth Gerhardt

Suffering, Pain and Evil


Fundamentals of Transformational Leadership Nelson Grimm The Use of Scripture in Meditation and Prayer Robert Searle

Wally Fleming Kenneth James David Basinger Nijay Gupta

See full course listings here.For credit: $454 per credit. For audit: $150 per course ($50 for alumni). To inquire, contact 585.594.6802 or

The presidents and deans of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School join the vision presented by Dean Doug Cullum and President John Martin to establish the Rochester Consortium of Theological Schools (RCTS).

Check out the ever-changing list of job opportunities at the career services website . Positions include worship leader, senior pastor, chaplain, and more. Also view a list of recent postings around upstate N.Y. here . See if they are a good fit for you. PAGE 4


The RCTS is a collaborative effort of the three theological schools in Rochester, N.Y. whose aim is to invite open dialogue and faithful responses to the challenging questions facing the church and its leaders in the 21st century. They commit to seek collaborative ways for benefiting each school individually as well as collectively through stewardship of resources, an ecumenical witness in the church and world, and theological discussion across traditions. The presidents and deans of the three RCTS institutions will meet regularly to envision and evaluate collaborative events and programs with the following commitments already in place—cross-registration among the three schools and a preaching conference to be held each May. Northeastern Seminary hosts the first such conference and Dr. Marvin McMickle of CRCDS will be keynote speaker.

February 1, 2014 What would your youth ministry look like with every person working together toward the same purpose? Imagine a group where youth pastors, adult leaders, and student leaders were all aligned and moving in the same direction. What does it take for the youth leadership to cast a compelling ministry vision for students? What are the attributes of a student leader? Discuss these questions with seasoned youth ministry leaders and Christian counselors at the Youth Ministry Summit. Use this one-day event as a development opportunity for your key adult and student leaders. Find more information at

December 7, 2013

February 27—28, 2014

In celebration of Advent and the Christmas season, alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of Northeastern Seminary are invited to a dessert reception and musical celebration on Saturday, December 7, 2013. This special event begins with the reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring the RWC Chorale, Women's Choir, and Orchestra, performing Handel's Messiah. The concert also includes congregational singing of timeless Christmas carols. Both events are in the Roberts Cultural Life Center. Tickets are free, but you must RSVP by emailing the NES Alumni Office at by Wednesday, December 4.

The third annual Barnes Symposium on Faith and Science Symposium features speaker Dr. Warren Brown of Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Brown serves as director of the Travis Research Institute and professor of psychology. He is most actively involved in neuroscience research related to the cognitive and psychosocial disabilities in a congenital brain malformation called agenesis of the corpus callosum. Most recently, Brown and colleagues from other institutions have been involved in research into the psychology and neuroscience of exemplars of the virtues of compassion and generosity. This two-day symposium includes lectures, roundtable discussions with students, and chapel service. Watch for details at

Thursday, December 5

4:30—6 p.m.

Tuesday, December 10 6—7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 30 6—7:30 p.m.

Hudson Valley Community College, Bulmer Telecommunications Center 2265 Westside Drive, Rochester 6500 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville


Sessions with Cherith Fee Nordling available at

From top: Students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered to hear Dr. Cherith Fee Nordling; attendees during small group discussion; praying for one another during the communion service.

House and volunteer hospice chaplain at Lifetime Care, both in Rochester, N.Y.

Alumni News:

Advent Greeting

Marlena Graves (C11) is releasing a book with Brazos Press in June 2014 titled, “A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness.” Marlena shares her experiences growing up poor in a house plagued with mental illnesses as a means to explore the forces God uses to shape us into beautiful people in the midst of brokenness. Wilfredo Irizarry (C14) spoke at an annual business meeting for Millwood Inc., a top 500 company, where he is employed as a chaplain.


ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing; Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King! Let no tongue on earth be silent, Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore. Aurelius Clemens Prudentius


Northeastern Seminary

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

Rev. Peter McCurdy (D9) and his wife, Sarah have been endorsed by American Baptist International Ministries to serve as missionaries in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They will provide support and encouragement to pastors and pastors' families, and extend their ministry into Cuba. As endorsed missionaries the McCurdys build their Mission Partnership Network by inviting others to share the spiritual, relational, and financial support. More information can be found here. Lida Merrill (C12) served as facilitator for an ecumenical forum titled “Jesus: Message on Social Justice” in October in Rochester, N.Y. The forum discussed how to promote social justice and serve the common good. Jean O’Brien (C18) has been working as a chaplain for Catholic Health for the last three years and, in June, received her Board Certification in Chaplaincy through the Association of Professional Chaplains. Lisette (Maginn) Russell (C9) earned an MSW degree from the Greater Rochester Collaborative MSW Program at Nazareth College and SUNY Brockport and is now volunteer caregiver at Isaiah

Rev. Dr. Michael Traylor (C23), pastor of New Hope Free Methodist Church, spoke on "The Confrontation of Calling" at the Roberts Wesleyan College chapel in November.

Student News: Zachary Ashley (C30) was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in the Charismatic Episcopal Church in November at Trinity Communion Church in Rochester, N.Y. Eric McHugh (C31) has started leading worship at the Legacy Senior Community in Churchville, N.Y.

Faculty/Staff News: Dr. Nelson Grimm, director of field education and professor of applied theology, attended the Seminary Stewardship Alliance Gathering in October. Under the theme of caring for God’s creation, 19 seminaries from 12 different streams of the Church explored campus sustainability, development, curriculum, and the creation and implementation of a stewardship program. Dr. Nijay Gupta, assistant professor of biblical theology and exegesis, was published in the Canadian Theological Review with an article titled “Beholding the Word of Christ: A Theological Reading of Colossians.” Dr. J. Richard Middleton, professor of biblical worldview and exegesis, had his article “The Role of Human Beings in the Cosmic Temple: The Intersection of Worldviews in Psalms 8 and 104” published in the Canadian Theological Review. He also co-edited A Kairos Moment for Caribbean Theology: Ecumenical Voices in Dialogue, a collection of essays that address the gospel in the Caribbean context. His essay “Islands in the Sun: Overtures to a Caribbean Creation Theology” was included.

Enjoy a collection of short readings by Northeastern Seminary alumni as they reflect on and rejoice in the gifts of God's grace and the signs of Christ present during this Advent season. PAGE 6

Nov 13 issue