Rev. Dr. Gail Ricciuti profiled in new book

The Rev. Gail Ricciuti, CRCDS Associate Professor of Homiletics, is featured in a new volume by the Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, PhD., entitled She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World (Skylight Paths Publishing, Woodstock, VT). Published in October,RICCIUTI-150x150 the book profiles forty religious leaders with this introduction: “Through their work, [these] theological trailblazers … reveal how expansive images of the Divine affect justice in human relationships– in gender equality, racial equality, marriage equality, economic justice, care of creation, nonviolence, interfaith collaboration and expanding spiritual experience.”

Part 4's "Wisdom's Work of Economic Justice" includes the chapter,  "Rev. Dr. Gail Anderson Ricciuti: Bearing Her Life in the World”, which outlines Gail’s lifelong spiritual development as a feminist pastor and professor. The chapter explores her sermon, “A Quotidian Faith: Stories Sacred, Subversive, and Small” on two of Jesus’ parables imaging God as a poor woman and a baker of bread that is not “status-quo bread” but “justice bread.”

Author Jann Aldredge-Clanton, a Baptist minister, creative liturgist, poet and hymn writer, maintains that language and social justice are intimately connected. She writes that the stories of these diverse ministers, both lay and clergy, “demonstrate that social justice changes flow from the foundational theological change of including multicultural female divine names and imagery in worship.”

Education and the African American Experience by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

Dr. Marvin A. McMickle submitted a Unite Rochester blog post which was recently published in the Democrat and Chronicle.  The full text of his article appears here:

After reading Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia: 1880-2012 by Martin Kilson of Harvard, I feel challenged to say a few words about test scores and graduation rates especially among African American males students in the Rochester City School District.

The book reminded the reader that from the end of the slave era in 1865, education was universally viewed by African Americans as one of the primary pathways to success in American society. Learning how to read was the first thing our ancestors did when they were finally able to shake off the shackles of slavery. They flooded into schools run by the Freedman's Bureau, and they enrolled in the dozens of church-sponsored black colleges that sprung up across the South.

Within two generations of slavery, African Americans were becoming physicians, lawyers, college presidents, political officeholders, authors, artists, religious leaders, and scholars of every type. They gave birth to such persons as W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Horace Mann Bond, Howard Thurman, Madame C.J. Walker, and Mordecai Johnson. African Americans at the turn of the 20th century did not simply view education as a means toward getting a job, they viewed education as a virtue to be aspired toward and achieved as part of their human formation.

How has it happened that this legacy of academic success and aspiration has been turned on its head by so many of their descendants that today are devaluing education and dropping out of school altogether? Too many of today's African American students are scorning the opportunity their great grandparents could only dream about. We cannot allow this present pattern to go on unchallenged.

In an increasingly high-tech world, there will soon be no opportunities for persons who do not value and achieve the highest level of education available to them.

If the problem is with the curriculum or the classroom context then we need to fix that. If the problem is with teachers that do not value or wish the best for the students before them, then we need to stop that. If the problem is inequitable funding within and between school districts we need to correct that. If the problem is in the homes and hearts of the students themselves then we need to address that. What we cannot do is simply sit on the sidelines and bemoan the current statistics.

It is to the advantage of everyone in the Greater Rochester area to be sure that all of our children are receiving a quality education no matter in what postal Zip Code they may live. We need to start laying the foundations now for the black intelligentsia of the future. Those who came before us and who worked so hard to achieve an education under conditions and restrictions we can hardly imagine, expect nothing less from their descendants. Very little awaits a high school dropout except the underground economy of illegal activities and the increased risk of any early grave that comes as a consequence of that lifestyle.

This is not the first generation of African Americans to contend with single-parent households, poverty, racism, violent streets, or underfunded schools. That is exactly the environment in which I and most of my generation pursued our education. My mother was the academic valedictorian of her high school class in Chicago, but she was not allowed to give the valedictory speech at her graduation, as was the custom in 1932, because she was an African American. It is time to stop making excuses and start making progress!

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CRCDS Students Sara Campbell and Brae Adams provide pastoral leadership at Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church

Sara Campbell and Brae Adams, Masters of Divinity students at CRCDS, were recently highlighted in the November 2014 edition of The Empty Closet, a monthly publication of the Gay Alliance. Both say they are thrilled with the opportunity to talk about the church, their mission and their goals.
Sara, who will obtain her M.Div. in May 2015, says, “We at Open Arms are trying to talk openly about these issues and how we are called to act on them. Not just LGBTQ issues but gun violence, systemic poverty, homelessness, racial issues, the school to prison pipeline, border issues . . . these are the issues the gospel wants us to talk about and create change around.”

Brae, who is on track to receive her M.Div. in May 2016, works in other types of community outreach and also has a holistic view of ministry. In addition to starting a limited food cupboard, Brae helps people access community resources such as housing.

Both students say the diversity of their skills is the best thing for making connections in the community. Brae says, "Sara does outreach to college-age through 30's people, who maybe aren't that interested in a traditional service. The service has a modern feel to it, encouraging participants to interact with the preacher, both through their smart phones and direct questions.  I lead the Sunday morning service and hold the monthly Agape Potluck on Sunday evenings."

Above all, they say, Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church is completely inclusive and not just 'affirming'. Sara says, "OAMCC has gotten beyond what people think of us and is focusing on how to serve others . . . it doesn't matter what our opinions are, only that we are serving others.  That's 'Radical Hospitality'.  We show our hospitality to all."

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Director of Library Services and Bookstore, Marge Nead, Celebrates 25 years at CRCDS

laura and margeCongratulations to Marge Nead, Director of Library Services at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School's Ambrose Swasey Library and Bookstore. Marge began working at CRCDS in October, 1989 and is celebrating her 25th year at the school.
Marge, a former book buyer for the Village Toy Shop in Fairport, says the greatest part of her job is, and always has been, the students. She says, “I knew this place was here but didn’t know much about it until I began working here. I fell in love with the people and the values it (CRCDS) stood for. I absolutely love working with the students.”
When Marge accepted a Bookstore Manager position in 1989, 200 students were enrolled. “It was really something,” she says. “Lots of life, lots of activity, lots of foot traffic. Winters were always fun. I remember students building snowmen right outside the window and sliding down Trevor Hill on cafeteria trays. It was a blast.”
The bookstore itself has undergone several key transformations. “Years ago,” Marge says, “It was a bowling alley.” To illustrate her point, she takes out a prized black and white picture of students in bobby sox and loafers, lining up on polished lanes. She shakes her head and smiles. “The bookstore was two lanes wide.”
In 2004, the bookstore moved to its current location, and in 2005, the University of Rochester Rush Rhees Library and the Ambrose Swasey Library formed a collaboration, allowing for reciprocal access of books and materials. Circulation went up 50%, as did digital access.


Although the library and bookstore get less foot traffic these days, Marge says these beautiful spaces are no less welcoming. Her door is always open to students who want to talk, and with over 30,000 titles at their disposal, many find the library to be a wonderful haven in a hectic world. The bookstore has an impressive selection of books written by faculty, required textbooks and CRCDS-themed apparel.
If you have any questions about the library or bookstore, or would simply like to congratulate Marge, she can be reached at (585) 340-9602.


School of Christian Leadership and the Thurman King School: Upcoming Sessions

Please join us for day long sessions on the first Saturday of the month from 8:30am-6:00pm for informative, inspiring and thought-provoking discussions.

Our upcoming sessions are:
December 6, 2014, Gail Ricciuti: Introduction to Liturgy
January 3, 2015, Barbara Moore: Preaching-the Liturgical Year
February 7, 2015, Stephanie Sauve: Pastoral Care, the Art of Listening
March 7, 2015, David Kim: The Church Encounters the World: Applied Ethics and Moral Theology
April 12, 2015, Professor Orr: Education, Discipleship and Spiritual Formation

Cost is $200 per session.

Please contact Charlyn Elliott, Assistant to the Dean for Academic Life, at (585) 340-9588 for more information