Your Participation Matters! Help Make a Difference


Each and every gift you make to The Fund for CRCDS counts twice!

First, it helps provide students with the transformative education they need to make a difference in our world.

Secondly, each gift helps strengthen our participation, a key measure for attracting support from other donors

NOW, more than ever, CRDCS needs the school's graduates.

Mail your donation to:
1100 S. Goodman Street 
Rochester, New York 14620


click here to make your gift online

For more information, please call (585) 340-9647.

Thank you for making a difference!

RECOLLECTIONS Reminder to Class of 1964


We need your memories!

Deadline for submission has been extended to April 1st!

Memories, photos and highlights of your seminary days will be preserved and bound in a special "Recollections" publication. Each fifty-year class member will receive a complimentary copy.

Join your classmates who have sent in their recollections:

Phyllis Chaffee
James Marvin
Carol Maxwell Kolsti
John Lake
David Durham
Eldon Ernst
Mary Anna Geib
Nape Baker


 Please send your "Recollections" along with a current photo of yourself and any photos you may have from your seminary days by April 1st to:


Mail them to:

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620-2589

CRCDS Alumnus Appointed Director of Vital Congregations

The Upper New York Conference is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens (M.Div., '03) will begin serving full-time as the Conference Director of Vital Congregations.

Rev. Bouwens, 38, has led the Conference's church revitalization efforts since the position was created in July 2012; until now it has been a half-time appointment. Rev. Bouwens also serves as co-pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Liverpool.

“Aaron has been doing some great work in the area of congregational revitalization. Going full-time will enable him to expand what we’re able to offer local churches seeking renewal,” said Conference Director of Connectional Ministries the Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding. “It’s another step in our continuing quest to align Conference resources around the needs of our local congregations.”

Rev. Bouwens

Rev. Bouwens said he's looking forward to having the opportunity to focus exclusively on helping congregations revitalize.

"I am excited to have a primary focus; to be able to pick one piece and really look at it," Rev. Bouwens said. "This will give me more time to resource more local churches and to find greater ways to enhance Hand to Plow and the come-along-side strategies of Hand to Plow."

Bishop Mark J. Webb said making this a full-time appointment speaks to the importance of keeping congregations equipped to meet the Church's larger mission.

"Helping congregations continue to be effective and grow in their vitality is essential to living the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," said Bishop Webb. "Rev. Bouwens has provided leadership to this task, and I am grateful for his continuing call to this work. I hope you will join me in praying for Aaron and his family during this time of transition."

As Director of Vital Congregations, Rev. Bouwens has led Hand to Plow, a multi-year process aimed at assisting churches in increasing discipleship.

Hand to Plow, he said, will continue to be a strong focus, but now he will also be able to work on other projects and explore "all the possible strategies to help local churches."

"I want to emphasize that we are not going to push Hand to Plow out of the way," Rev. Bouwens said. "But Hand to Plow takes a good amount of time, and we recognize that it might not fit everyone's needs."

Rev. Bouwens will be based in the Conference office in Syracuse and, he said, "Wherever my little blue car is."

"I talked about that with my family; I'll be on the road a little more," he said, "but that just means a different rhythm."

He and his wife, Sarah, have three daughters Rachel, 10; Leah, 8, and Hannah, 6. His mother is the Rev. Beth Bouwens, pastor of the Caton UMC.

Before Liverpool UMC, Rev. Bouwens served as pastor of First UMC in Cortland and Faith UMC in Wolcott. He has a BS from Houghton College and earned his MDiv. from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He completed his Doctor of Ministry with a concentration in leadership in the 21st century in 2013 at Drew University in New Jersey.

Rev. Bouwens said the past 17 months has reinforced an important factor that should inspire and encourage Upper New York members.

We have a lot of people, laity, who are really excited and passionate about the possibility of what the Church could be," he said. "There's a lot of energy from our lay folks."

That energy will be needed, he said, because another lesson reinforced by the work he's been doing is that "changing a church requires a system change, not just a few activity changes."

Rev. Bouwens encourages church leaders and others who want to get involved or learn more about the Conference's church revitalization efforts to contact him at the Conference office at (315) 424-7878 ext. 338 or by email at


Graduates in Action: Barbara Zelter Puts Social Justice Training into Action

Every Friday night, a downtown church in Raleigh, North Carolina, fills with more people ZELTERthan it can hold. The diverse group meets to discuss the logistics of the direct action events that have, since late April, taken place each Monday at the North Carolina State Capitol. The movement is known as "Moral Monday."

A mix of progressive Christian leaders, college students, minimum wage workers, social workers and many others, the broad coalition of protestors are united in their concern about recent policies by the North Carolina legislature that they believe are a concerted effort to limit the civil and economic rights of ethnic minorities and those living below the poverty line. These policies include a move to make Christianity the official religion of the state, remove extended benefits for over 70,000 people, the decision to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision (which would cover an additional 500,000 people) and the repeal of the state’s earned income credit.

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“The Holy Land and Its Peoples” 2013: A Pilgrimage for Peace

In 2010, Dr. Melanie Duguid May, the John Price Crozer Professor of Theology, published Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008.

PALESTINE-GRAFFITTI-1The book introduces the experiences of Palestinian Christians living in the Israeli-occupied territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank through public documents, statements and accounts of Palestinian pastors. Through this work, Dr. Duguid May has become increasingly involved in the work to find a practical resolution to the ongoing violence in that region.

The pilgrims who took part in “The Holy Land and Its Peoples” 2013 pilgrimage are continuing to share insights and thoughts about the Israel/Palestine conflict through a blog. Access it to join the conversation online by visiting 2013/

In early 2012, Dr. Duguid May began working with Dr. Mark Brummitt (Associate Professor
of Old Testament Interpretation), who has first-hand experience of Israel and Palestine, on plans for bringing CRCDS students, alumni/ae and friends directly to the region. The fruit of this work was “The Holy Land and Its Peoples,” an organized pilgrimage to the region to learn more about the conflict and the peoples—Christians, Jews and Muslims—it most impacts. Drs. Duguid May and Brummitt sought to incorporate a series of lectures and opportunities for spiritual reflection at the key Christian pilgrimage sites in the area.

The following two reflections were originally published in the Summer/Fall issue of The CRCDS Bulletin. The first is from Dr. Duguid May and it describes her relationship with the conflict in Israel/Palestine, the reasons she organized the pilgrimage and what she hoped the participants would gain from the experience. The second reflection is by Deborah Allen, a CRCDS student.

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