CRCDS supports unity, diversity at Interfaith Prayer Service

Hundreds of people attended a standing-room only Interfaith prayer service, “Welcoming the Stranger” at Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester, NY on Sunday, February 5, 2017, including many members of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School family. The event was in direct response to President Trump’s recent immigration ban.

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle presided over the lighting of a sacred candle alongside CRCDS Trustee and Presbytery of the Genesee Valley Leader, Amy Williams Fowler. The prayer service, led by Rabbi Alan Katz of Temple Sinai, included readings from the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Book of Mormon and the reading of Hindu prose. Others participating from the CRCDS family were Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and current CRCDS Trustee, Rabbi Peter Stein, Senior Rabbi at Temple B’rith Kodesh (currently teaching in the CRCDS Doctor of Ministry program), Muhammed Shafiq, Executive Director of the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies at Nazareth College (also currently teaching in the CRCDS Doctor of Ministry program), and CRCDS Professor Emeritus, Dr. Gail Ricciuti.

Rabbi Katz summarized the service, saying, "It's important to come together and show the community that though we may vary in our approach to belief, we stand together on the important issues.”

Rt. Rev. Prince Singh reads from Scripture

Dr. Marvin McMickle, Rev. Amy Williams Fowler and Rabbi Peter Stein

Rev. Alan Dailey, Rev. Amy Williams Fowler, Dr. Marvin McMickle and Rev. Gordon Webster

CRCDS student Rev. Myra Brown ordained a priest at Spiritus Christi Church

Rev. Myra Brown, Master of Divinity student at CRCDS and a deacon at Spiritus Christi Church, was ordained as a priest on Saturday, February 4, 2017. Rev. Brown is the third African American woman in the United States to be ordained as a priest in the Catholic church. Although the Vatican doesn't recognize women priests, Rev. Brown is undaunted. She says, “Who is in charge of ordination? Are we in charge or is God? I believe God chose me to do this work.” In her role at Spiritus Christi, she welcomes new parishoners, leads a racial justice ministry and leads weekend liturgies. She says, "It is a place where all are welcomed and all are called to live out the unconditional love of Jesus."

To read more news coverage about Rev. Brown's ordination, see:

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!”


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

CRCDS students, alumnus present award at 32nd MLK Day Community-Wide Celebration

CRCDS  Black Student Caucus president and Master of Divinity student Stefan Weathers, Rev. Frederick Dicks (CRCDS '16), and CRCDS Master of Divinity student Ethan Banister presented the Raymond L. Graves Community Service Social Justice Award to two distinguished pastors at the MLK Day Celebration on January 16, 2017. The 32nd annual community-wide celebration was held at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York.

Rev. Dr. Iris Banister, a leader in the field of family growth and development, Christian counseling and anti-violence initiatives, was presented the award by Ethan Banister, her son.

Stefan Weathers presented the award to Rev. Weldon Thomas, pastor of New Bethel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Rochester, NY and Advisory Board member of the CRCDS Black Church Studies Program.

Bishop Gregory Parris was awarded the Robert Corbett award, given posthumously to an individual who exemplified a life committed to social justice, multicultural education and community involvement.

The Greater Rochester MLK Jr. Commission serves to educate the community to the ideals and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. (CTS '51), working to secure human and civil rights through non violent social change, and to transform these ideals into actions and programs that improve life for residents of Rochester, NY. The planning committee for the Commission holds its meetings at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.


CRCDS alumnus Rev. Rodney E. Williams (CRCDS '12) elected to lead Kansas City branch of NAACP

Rev. Rodney E. Williams (CRCDS '12), has been elected as president of the Kansas City branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rev. Williams, a member of the NAACP since he was eight years old, is a longtime civil rights activist and the pastor of Swope Parkway United Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Williams previously served as vice president of the local branch of the NAACP, which hosted the 2010 national convention featuring Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker. Organized in 1913, the Kansas City chapter has the largest membership in the surrounding10-state area, including Missouri.

Rev. Williams lives in Kansas City, MO with his wife Lorianne and their three children, Danielle, Rodney and Courtney.