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 President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Making Rochester White Again in Pittsford and Brighton"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle addressed the distribution of racist literature in two affluent Rochester, NY suburbs in his most recent Democrat and Chronicle Unite Rochester blog post. Read the post here:

"It has been two weeks since a group of white supremacists began passing out leaflets in the middle of the night in Pittsford and then in Brighton announcing their desire to make Rochester great again. When you go to their web site you find out how they plan to make their wish come true; they will make Rochester great again by making Rochester white again. There can be little doubt that this group is a local expression of the sentiments unleashed in the broader American society by Donald Trump’s announced intention to Make America Great Again. I will leave until another time the absolutely unfocused nature of what Trump means by make America great again. The assumption is that the greatness he has in mind resides somewhere in a past where women and minorities had not yet achieved the opportunities they now enjoy.. It is amazing how some people’s glorious past was somebody else’s terrible memory of oppression, exploitation, and suffering. I don’t want to make America great again as much as I hope to see America finally become the land of equal opportunity that has been its promise since its founding in 1776. Meanwhile, here in Rochester I am intrigued by the fact that the leaflets about making Rochester white again are being passed out in two predominantly white suburban communities. One would think that if there was some concern about making Rochester white again that those leaflets would be passed out somewhere in Rochester where most of the African Americans reside. Of course, that is the problem isn’t it? If those midnight messengers came into Rochester they might actually run into some Acrican Americans who might take great offense at the message on those leaflets. To the credit of the people of Pittsford and Brighton, they have expressed outrage over someone targeting their communities for this kind of message. I wonder why those who advocate this idea of making Rochester white again are only willing to spread their message in the middle of the night when there is less chance of them being identified? That was the practice of such hate groups as the KKK who did most of their hate-mongering in the dead of night. It is probably because, like most bigots, their ignorance is exceeded only by their cowardice. My address is 1100 S. Goodman Street in Rochester. Let’s see if the people behind these leaflets has the nerve to come to Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School at any time of day with their message of hate and intolerance. I will let the whole community know about it if they do."

Click here to view the blog online:



Local news reporter interviews CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle regarding distribution of racist flyers

Rochester, NY WHEC-10TV reporter Rachel Spotts interviewed CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle last week after the discovery of racist fliers in a nearby neighborhood. The flyers utilized the tagline, "Make (Rochester) Great Again" and directed people to a white supremacy website.

Dr. McMickle was asked about the movement's motives and possible outcome. He said,  "We're not going back to anything. We're not going back to the 50s. We're not going back to the 60s. We're not going back anywhere. So, you'll just have to get used to the fact that the world has changed and neither Donald Trump nor [the racist website] can turn back the clock."

See the televised interview here:

Important Message from CRCDS President Marvin A. McMickle

Dear Alumni/ae and Friends of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS),

The world around us is changing and it is now time for CRCDS to consider in a new way how to best carry out its mission in the rapidly changing landscape of the church and the world in the 21st Century.

The Pew Research Center has presented the Christian community with some data that must inform every move we make going forward. For the last decade, the number of persons that self-declare as Christian has gone down by 1% each year. That has implications not only for church attendance and membership, but also for persons that are seeking careers in ministry, for churches that want to hire full-time clergy, for donors who choose to support the church and the seminary, for alumni/ae who care deeply about our mission and for our current and future students who struggle to afford the ever-rising cost of higher education. CRCDS must re-envision how to live out its vitally important mission in this new day. I am pleased to report to you we are already well on our way.

The first thing that struck me when I arrived as president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 2011 was the richness and the complexity of the school’s legacy. I knew, of course, about the school’s excellent reputation for putting forth progressive leaders, some of whom were my own mentors. What I had not fully realized, however, were the numerous past iterations of what we have come to know as “CRCDS” and the multitude of locations where its mission has been carried out. It soon occurred to me that CRCDS really has been much more like the tabernacle of ancient Israel, moving with God from place to place, rather than a Temple complex where the school’s identity and physical location are inseparable from its mission and purpose.

CRCDS has experienced a multitude of changes throughout its almost 200 years with each change driven by one central concern: what is the best way to serve God and to live out the school’s mission in this day and at this time? From its early beginnings in Hamilton, NY, to its subsequent mergers with Rochester Theological, the Baptist Missionary Training School and Crozer Theological, to its numerous partnerships- Bexley Hall, St. Bernard’s, Ithaca College, the American Cancer Society and the Veterans Outreach Center – CRCDS has maintained its focus on the core mission of preparing students who are pastoral, prophetic and learned. Keeping its heart grounded on mission and its eyes focused on the here and the now, CRCDS has remained relevant and effective in meeting the needs of the church and the world as they unfold in each age.

CRCDS is once again tackling the challenges of our time head-on as evidenced by the school’s strategic plan. This new plan calls for significant investment in our traditional graduate degree programs, with an emphasis on recruitment, in order to make sure we are getting the most – and the best – students we can. It also calls for an investment in new programming with alternative models and structures, including investment in online initiatives and the development of new learning communities that will engage broader audiences in unique and enriching ways. Finally, the plan calls us to a heightened sense of stewardship focused on building a strong foundation for future growth and success based not only philanthropic initiatives, but also a continued focus on effective stewardship of all the school’s assets.

This last emphasis led me and the school’s Trustees to once again engage in a vitally important conversation about the best physical environment and location for the school going forward. This is by no means a new conversation – the school has wrestled with questions about the suitability and sustainability of its current South Goodman Street campus for the better part of 20 years. What is new, however, is that our present discussions are driven primarily by our concerns over the ability of the current setting to meet the changing needs of our students. Coupled with our awareness of the ever-increasing costs of maintaining the current campus and the overwhelming costs of deferred maintenance, it is clear to all of us that we need to seriously re-think how CRCDS will meet the needs of all those we serve going forward.

More and more of our students are using fewer and fewer of the campus resources we provide – and pay for. The number of students who commute to campus continues to rise and these students have no need for our dorms, do not eat meals in the refectory, do not require a physical library, do not need a campus bookstore and do not have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful campus grounds, given the significant demands on their time. When taken together, these factors lead to an unavoidable conclusion: our campus was built for a time and style of theological education that no longer exists.Remaining here will not meet our needs going forward and will not help us further the mission.

Over the years, we have received numerous offers to purchase the current campus, but none of these offers made sense, then or now. None of them provided us with the financial resources necessary to establish ourselves in a new location where we could provide a 21st century model of theological education and thus, none of them served the interests of our students or the mission. That, however, has now changed.

I am pleased to share with you the news that we have received an offer that will, in fact, provide us with the resources necessary to establish CRCDS in a new location that will meet our needs and the needs of our strategic plan going forward.The offer provides us a generous time frame for identifying a suitable site for our next campus as well as the assurance that the beauty of the current facility will remain intact for people to enjoy after we leave. The Trustees have accepted my recommendation to accept this offer and our intention is to establish a new campus location in the greater Rochester area by the 2018 academic year – the year of the school’s bi-centennial celebration. How appropriate that as we look back on the 200 years of mission and ministry that are behind us, we are poised to look ahead to the next 200 years of mission that lie before us!

Great care will be given to the discussion of exactly where the school will be located in the future and just what kind of facility will best meet the needs of its mission. Should we build a new campus? Can a renovated existing structure meet our needs? Should we commit to remaining within the city limits of Rochester or explore opportunities in the surrounding suburbs? What is the best physical space for delivering the type of education CRCDS has come to exemplify over the years and what are the opportunities for utilizing space to meet new needs in our community and beyond?

The answers to these questions and to questions still to be discovered are yet to be determined, and I promise you they will not be made behind closed doors. Alumni/ae, donors, current students and staff, present and former faculty, and other friends who hold dear our beloved CRCDS will be invited to weigh in on this discussion over the next 6 months and I look forward to sharing the details of this process as it unfolds in the very near future. We have dedicated the next edition of the Bulletin to exploring the questions facing CRCDS and theological education as a whole in this new era and I hope you will take the time to read it and to engage this moment in our history along with us. I also ask for your continued prayers during this process as we live into our strategic vision for a renewed and vibrant CRCDS. God has presented us with a great opportunity to lay the foundation for a new period in the history of our school and I am eager to begin our important work together.

The future of CRCDS is bright. The need for our school and its graduates is urgent. I invite you to come with us as we begin this new journey, this new chapter, and this next move in the life of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

To share your thoughts, prayers or comments, please email:


Your servant in Christ,

Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D.

6th Annual "Bells on the Hill" brings hundreds to CRCDS

On Sunday, December 13, 2015, several hundred visitors filled the Samuel Colgate Memorial Chapel for the 6th Annual CRCDS "Bells on the Hill."

One of the most popular events at CRCDS brought new and old friends together and included the singing of Christmas carols, ringing of the Tower Bells, and a special moment of silence and tolling of the bells, dedicated to victims of violence in our world. Rev. Diane Bogues, Student Recruiter at CRCDS, recited the poem, "For Our World" by 11-year old Mattie Stepanek.

Click here to read the poem:

Many families and young children were in attendance and several "took to the stage" to participate in the festivities. Click here to watch a video recording of this beautiful evening: