CRCDS Responds to Actions of President Trump

We at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School declare our strong opposition to the Executive Order on refugees and immigration recently signed by President Donald Trump. His decision to restrict the ability of refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries allowing them to escape violence and death sends a message that is contrary to the founding principles of the United States, and that violates a core value of our faith as Christians to care for the strangers– the immigrants – the refugees who need shelter and protection. This action by President Trump sends a message to the rest of the world that the United States is now more interested in fear mongering and the targeting of a particular religious group than we are on formulating a compassionate and welcoming immigration policy. In this land where the Statue of Liberty declares, “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” we dare not shut the door to those looking to us for refuge and a new life.

We call upon President Trump to rescind his Executive Order and to work with Congress and the various agencies of the federal government to fashion an immigration policy that focuses on our values as a nation, and not on the fears and prejudices that are the basis of his present plan.

As concerned as we are about the Executive Order on immigration which is a clear Muslim ban, we do not want to lose focus on an equally egregious issue being pursued by our President: the false claims of voter fraud that can quickly become the basis for voter suppression. His repeated claim that 3 to 5 million persons voted illegally in the November 2016 election becomes the grounds for the introduction of various voter suppression practices that have been underway in this country since portions of the Voting Rights Act were declared unconstitutional in 2015. States across the country have begun to employ practices that limit access to the voting booth to more and more citizens through the requirement of government issued IDs, the limiting of days for early voting, the reduced number of voting machines in certain polling places, and the President’s own invitation for one citizen to challenge the right of another citizen to vote based upon non-existent guidelines.

Our Christian faith demands of us that we advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. That would certainly include those who are fleeing from war and violence in search of asylum, and those whose rights as citizens are being attacked and denied through practices of voter suppression. Here at CRCDS we are committed to training women and men for ministry in the local church and beyond who are learned, pastoral, and prophetic. We challenge our students and ourselves to take seriously the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-44 to stand with “the least of these.” It is in that spirit, informed by our faith in Jesus Christ and by his teachings and his example, that we speak out against the policies and proclamations of Donald Trump that are a blatant affront to our national values and our Christian beliefs.

We invite all persons who believe in and are working for a society based upon inclusion, diversity, and the inherent value of all persons to join with us in vocal opposition to the Executive Order of Donald Trump and to his false claims about voter fraud that fuel the fires of voter suppression. Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with his actions. Let your voices be heard alongside of ours in a call for “liberty and justice for all!”

Signed,

Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, President
Stephanie A. Sauve, Vice President for Academic Life and Dean of the Faculty
Mark Brummitt, Associate Professor of Old Testament Studies
Jin Young Choi, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins
Winifred Collin, Director of Anglican Studies
Melanie Duguid-May, John Price Crozer Professor of Theology
James H. Evans, Faculty Emeritus, President Emeritus
David Kim, Arthur J. Gosnell Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics
Barbara Moore, Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology
Melissa Morral, Vice President for Enrollment Services
Gail Ricciuti, Professor Emeritus
John Tyson, Professor of Church History

DEVOTED CRCDS FRIEND, JEAN BARTLETT, PASSES AWAY

Ms. Jean Bartlett, devoted friend of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and wife of former CRCDS president Rev. Gene E. Bartlett, passed away suddenly on Friday, March 27th at the age of 97.

Jean was a presence at CRCDS for over 50 years, first arriving on the Hill with her late husband in 1960. In addition to the invaluable contributions she made to the CRCDS community and its students during her husband’s tenure, Jean was a faithful presence at all CRCDS gatherings, so much so that no gathering was complete unless Jean was there. Her life, grace and spirit are intertwined with the school and its long legacy and we continue to thank God for the gift of her life and friendship.

A memorial service for Jean will be held on April 18th at 10:00 a.m. at Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Rochester, New York.

Gifts in Jean’s memory may be made to the Bartlett Scholarship Fund at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School or the Refugee Outreach Program at Lake Avenue Baptist Church. To donate to the Bartlett Scholarship Fund, click here or contact Lisa Bors at 585-340-9647 or lbors@crcds.edu. To donate to the Refugee Outreach Program, contact the Outreach Coordinator at 585-458-5765, ext. 304.

Please join us in our prayers for the Bartlett family and in our prayers of thanksgiving for the life of Jean Bartlett.

DR. MARVIN A. MCMICKLE'S Reflections on Fraternity Life in America and the incident in Oklahoma

Following is an essay by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, published on March 11th in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog.

I am a proud Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity which is one of the four major African American college fraternities in this country. The others are Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, and Phi Beta Sigma. There are also four major black sororities; Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta (my wife’s sorority), Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta. All of these organizations of African American college educated men and women were formed between 1906 and 1925. Those were the years that the historian Rayford Logan referred to as “the nadir” or the darkest and most dangerous years to be Black in America. Those were the years when lynch-mob justice against black men and women was a common occurrence. The singer Billie Holiday referred to lynchings in her famous song Strange Fruit where she talked about black bodies hanging from trees. The link between black Greek letter organizations and the cruelty of lynch mob justice came rushing to my mind when I heard the chant being invoked by members of a white fraternity at the University of Oklahoma. They seemed to rejoice over the fact that there would never be a n…….in their fraternity. They went on to sing, “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n………in SAE.” In point of fact, the primary reason for the existence of my fraternity that was founded in 1911 on the campus of the University of Indiana is that some whites on that campus had the same sentiment if not the same song. African Americans were not allowed to pledge or join any of the white fraternities or sororities on that campus. Alpha Phi Alpha was the first black fraternity to be founded in 1906 on the campus of Cornell University where the very same policy prevailed; whites only! The recent events at the University of Oklahoma are a reminder of how systemic and far reaching racism, segregation, and discrimination have been in this country. It has not been a story that was .limited to sharecroppers, domestic workers, and Pullman porters. The story reached to kill off the American Dream that lived within those men and women even if it was never to be true for them and for their generation. Surely, they thought, if they could work hard enough to get their children accepted to a first-rate college or university the cycle of racism could be broken. Then their children arrive on the campuses of America’s premier places of higher education only to find the “Whites Only” signs hanging on the doors and in the hearts of so many of their classmates, teachers, and administrators. Members of black fraternities and sororities exist today because of the policies that stand behind that chant from Oklahoma. We decided that since there would never be a n…….in their fraternities, we would form our own. We are proud members of our Greek letter organizations. Our friendships and networks last throughout our lives. We seek each other out when our jobs move us from one town to another. I will always boast and brag about Kappa Alpha Psi, and I will always celebrate the unique contributions that members of black Greek letter organizations have made to this country. To list the men and women who have belonged to these fraternities and sororities would be to list a Who’s Who of many of the leading figures in African American history.

To view or comment on this essay online, please click here:
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/unite/2015/03/12/some-reflections-on-fraternity-life-in-america/70209956/

Dr. Gail Ricciuti on Sabbatical

RICCIUTI-150x150Dr. Gail Ricciuti, Associate Professor of Homiletics, is on sabbatical beginning with the Spring 2015 term. While away, she will be working on her book that looks at what preachers stand to learn about the creative/interpretive process from visual artists. Dr. Ricciuti has also been invited to write three articles for the forthcoming Common English Bible (CEB) Women’s Bible, to be published in 2016. On March 8th, she spoke to the Adult Forum of the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY on the topic "Co-Creators with God."