Peter H. Abdella, CRCDS Trustee, Recipient of the Daily Record's Leaders in Law Award

CRCDS Trustee Peter H. Abdella, Esq., received the Leaders in Law Award at the Rochester, NY Daily Record's  Attorneys of the Year Ceremony on November 5, 2015.

The Leaders in Law Award honors members of the legal community who have shown tremendous dedication to the legal profession and selfless, tireless commitment to the community.

Mr. Abdella is a 10-year partner in the firm Harter Secrest & Emery LLP and has been with the firm since 1987. A member of the litigation group, he specializes in commercial and construction-related litigation.

CRCDS congratulates Peter on this prestigious recognition. Please join us as we give thanks for Peter and for the many gifts he shares with CRCDS and the greater Rochester community.

Read a Daily Record profile about Mr. Abdella here:

PHA Daily Record Leaders in Law Article 11 05 15






CRCDS 2015 Fall Phonathon a success!


Lori Vail

Thank you to all the CRCDS alumni/ae and friends who responded so generously during the 2015 Fall Phonathon!

Our six day effort resulted in over $30,000 of pledged support for The Fund for CRCDS, surpassing last year's total by almost $4,000.

The Phonathon is critical to the success of the annual Fund for CRCDS. Support raised through the Phonathon provides essential resources for our students as they answer God’s call to serve. We sincerely thank everyone in the CRCDS community for their continued generous support of the school and its mission.

You make the CRCDS education possible!

A big “Thank You” to the following Alumni/ae, Students, Staff, Faculty, Trustees and Friends, who volunteered to make calls this year. Their dedication to CRCDS and its mission helped make this year a tremendous success!

Jim Braker (CRDS ’58)
Susan Braun (Staff Member)
Mark Brummitt (Faculty Member)
Polly Bush (Staff Member)
Mark DeVincentis (Staff Member)
Ken Dodgson (CRDS ’49)
Sally Dodgson (CRDS ’84)
GP Dickerson-Hanks
Kenneth Dodgson (CRDS ‘49)
Sally Dodgson (CRDS ‘84)
Michael Ford (CRCDS ’12 and Trustee)
Rebecca Hazard (Spouse of Student)
Jim Heinlein (Staff Member)
Katrina Hebb (Student)
Pete Henderson (Life Trustee)
Doug Hess (CRCDS ’10)
Barbara Hessdoerfer (Staff Member)
Robert Hoggard (Student)
Donald Lawrence (CRDS ’65)
Winston Lewis (Student)
Andrea Mason (Staff Member)
Barbara Moore (CRDS ’89 and Faculty Member)
Melissa Morral (CRCDS ’05 and Staff Member)
Marge Nead (Staff Member)
Mary Ann Obark (Student)
Gail Ricciuti (Faculty Member)
Stephanie Sauvé (CRDS ’95 and Administration)
Doug Tyson (Staff Member)
Lori Vail (Student)
Marsha Wenhold (Student)
Pat Wheelhouse (Student)
Delores Wynn (CRCDS ’03)


Katrina Hebb


Michael Ford


Ken and Sally Dodgson


Robert Hoggard

The Christian Century publishes essay by Gail A. Ricciuti, D.D.

An abbreviated version of an essay by Gail A. Ricciuti, D.D., Associate Professor of Homiletics, was published in the October 19, 2015 edition of The Christian Century. Read Dr. Ricciuti's post here:

The full text of Dr. Ricciuti's essay is available here:

I didn’t expect to be converted all over again by their singing, or struck breathless in spirit by their songs. After more than thirty years of being a quiet house church meeting in various city venues, the small congregation had purchased a vacant lot a few blocks down our street and nestled a new church building there; and as Presbyterian ministers of some forty years, my husband and I walked through their doors one bright Sunday morning to “check out that little Mennonite fellowship.”

In that first moment, we encountered an entirely genuine welcome, even when they– a congregation that eschews a called pastorate in favor of intentionally shared leadership– learned who we are. Ironically, long generations ago our spiritual ancestors were the persecutors of theirs; and yet it was so joyful a welcome that we were never again strangers. It was the singing, and the songs, that helped magnify the hospitality. Songs from around the world, different eras, diverse traditions: soaring four-part harmony, often unaccompanied and as unselfconscious as the tangible sense of community among the singers. “Over my head, I hear music in the air,” we sang; and “Beauty for brokenness, Hope for despair…” From the glad, driving rhythm of “What is this place, where we are meeting? Only a house…Yet it becomes a body that lives when we are gathered here…” to the Swahili “Siyahamba,” we sang, and sing, ourselves into fresh faith.

Compared to our years in churches with practiced choirs and magnificent music programs, this was new for us– the whole congregation itself a choir. “They sing like angels!” I remarked to myself that first Sunday. It has now become our common joke: after my husband’s retirement the month before (my own work having shifted some years ago to teaching on a seminary faculty), I had said “On the weeks I’m not preaching elsewhere, I might occasionally take a leisurely Sunday morning off.” But just twenty minutes into what would become our settled sojourn among the Mennonites, a wry inner voice whispered “Oh, drat. There go my Sundays!” As one whose heart had been reached (“like a bell that is lifted and struck,” in Annie Dillard’s words), I knew that I could not stay away from this fellowship or their songs.

Singing such a wide array, eight or ten every Sunday morning, is a metaphor for our life together. In the way each voice supports the songline of the others, this is real community. With all its expectable quirks and quarks, it is “church” in the best sense: a strong core with permeable boundaries, not only reaching out but gladly gathering in anyone who happens to show up (and often feeding them, as well). They eat together the way they sing!– with gusto and love, around a lavish potluck table that invites and represents the world. While different members plan and lead worship each week, a rotation of volunteer songleaders draws out our best: one week a bright, personable young truck driver who happens to have perfect pitch leads in his energetic style, while the next might find us under the more meditative direction of a newly-minted Ph.D. in musicology, her two-year-old son hugging her left leg. With each service stitched together in song, we pray, proclaim, protest– and are changed. My initially shaky alto has been gradually bolstered and strengthened by all the other voices, as I discover that I’m a better person for being among them: more faith-full, more cognizant of what it means to be the body of Christ. They are converting me again and again by being a singing, serving community. As an anonymous poet wrote generations ago, they are helping “to make…out of the works of my every day not a reproach but a song.”

Gail A. Ricciuti
Rochester, New York

View CRCDS 2015 Fall Lectures online

Thank you to all who attended Fall Lectures, October 5-8, 2015. If you missed them, please visit the CRCDS Media YouTube channel:

Fall Lectures uploaded for viewing include:
“Veterans, Moral Injury & Soul Repair”
Rita N. Brock, Ph.D.

African American Legacy Lecture: “Challenging Disabilities: Theories, Themes and Trials”
Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher, Ph.D.

Christian Faith and LGBT Experience
Chris Hilderbrant & Gregory Girard, co-presenters

The Gene Bartlett Lecture: “We Lived by Not Noticing: Re-Imaging the Text in a Disabled Culture”
Gail Riccuiti, D.D.

The Gene Barlett Lecture: “Knapsack Artistry and the Accessible Text”
Gail Riccuitti, D.D.

To view the Gene Bartlett chapel service with guest preacher, Dr. Gail Ricciuti, please click here:


Save the Date: March 28-31, 2016!

 CRCDS Spring Lectures, "Wisdom is found among the aged: Come Seek Wisdom" 

Highlights include:

  • Class of 1966 50th Reunion Dinner
  • Stanley I. Stuber Lectures with Dr. Leonard Sweet
  • Distinguished Alumni/ae Dinner
  • J.C. Wynn Lecture with Dr. Amy Hanson
  • Christian Faith & LGBT Experience Film and Discussion
  • African American Legacy Lecture with Dr. Dorothy Smith-Ruiz

Details and registration will be available on our website soon.








CRCDS welcomes Rev. Rachel McGuire, Ph.D. to staff

rachelCRCDS is pleased to announce the addition of Rev. Rachel McGuire, Ph.D. to its staff. Dr. McGuire will oversee new online initiatives for the school.

Dr. McGuire, an American Baptist, served for eight years as Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, NY and has served consistently in the denominational life of American Baptist Churches/Rochester Genesee Region, including service on the  ABC/RGR Region Executive Board.

Dr. McGuire is active in the greater Rochester community and is passionate about supporting Rochester youth, including Rochester Neighbors Gardening Together.

Dr. McGuire holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University, a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and a Ph.D. from the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, ON.