There is always lots going on at Nazarene Theological College
…and more than meets the eye too! Not only do we have our classes but we often host conferences or public lectures. There’s also regular community groups and events that meet here at the College. So stop on by these pages for all the latest goings on!
Psalm 91 and Pandemic Faith
“For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence. . .
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.”
Do you agree to these words from Psalm 91? Are they true in the world today? The virus is here and many of us know people, yes, even people of faith, whom the plague has reached, for whom the deadly pestilence has become their reality. But Psalm 91 and other such promises in the Bible are no naive comfort. They are, after all, texts written by and for communities who did not enjoy the security of medical care, who knew first-hand what a disease can do to a people, how it fractures families, how it spreads with invisible force. Like them, we today cannot (or can no longer) read Psalm 91 as an easy promise of perfect health and we can read this text even less as a magic formula in the way it has survived on many ancient amulets. In this form and worse, as the pious incantation on the lips of Jesus’ tempter (Matt 4:5-6), these words will hurt more than heal.
From working in the oil industry to being a Pastor in Germany
Eric Smith NTC Graduate and City-Pastor in Darmstadt, Germany
Growing up in a very secular part of Germany, I had limited connection to any local church community. The times I remember being at a church on Sundays, were times spent with my grandparents while my mom was at home or at work.
Q and A with third year Practical Theology student, Angelique Umugiraneza.
Why did you chose to study theology?
I was born into a Christian family, from my birth my Father was a Minister in the Presbyterian church and studied Theology. I think God called me to study Theology after I met a pastor in a church in Bordeaux, France called Eglise Protestante Unie who encouraged me to remain in the Protestant Church family because since 2009 when I came to live in the UK, it was difficult for me to find a place of worship that was more or less like my church’s tradition. Through NTC I got information on where to worship after all the years I had been in the UK. But I am really happy to be a part of this study.
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And all at once, it’s spring.
This week has been full! Conversations, meetings by zoom, emails reproducing at a rate of knots! Concerns, confusion, chaos could have reigned I suppose.
Instead, on the whole I’ve found it a week of muscle-memory kicking in: the sense that time moves, seasons change, ‘this too shall pass’, creative spaces for thinking about new things, new ways… rekindling relationships and kindling others. Supporting and being supported. There have been inspiring moments of seeing the best in people – I’ve been privileged to be part of conversations with people working (still) with the homeless, food-provision, caring for the vulnerable; I’ve heard some incredibly stories of the least privileged people going out of their way to care for others. It’s been moving and inspiring. I’ve seen the church kick into response-mode and join others – of faith and none – who are caring for the least in the world around us. It’s been quite the week! I’ve participated in more things on line than ever. and I’m still trying to figure out what it feels like – I swing between thinking ‘wow, this works’ to being desperate for non-screen time! I’ve been reading (with others) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned, and trying to join some of the lessons he teaches. Rigorous exercise, reading and meditating on Scripture, contemplating the nature of the world, observing others carefully. He’s a good isolation companion!
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A couple of years ago I travelled to Norway (when it was permissible!), and I visited the house where the artist Edvard Munch lived.
If his name does not ring any bells, maybe one of his paintings will. “The Scream” (1893) is one of the most iconic images of world art, often dubbed “the Mona Lisa of the twentieth century.” The Scream was composed following a walk along the fjord, when Munch heard “the enormous, infinite scream of nature.” The harrowing Scream reflects Munch’s struggles with mental illness, addiction, loneliness, anxiety and bereavement.
With the introduction of Covid–19 into our world, I cannot help but recall this work of art. This odd dystopic image seems to partly reflect the “brave new world” we now inhabit. Like some, maybe you are sat at home with a similar scream bellowing up inside. You could be self–employed, already financially stretched. You could be one of many people who started a business just last month, now forced to watch years of dreams vanish, or a seasoned business owner watching it crumble. You might be newly made redundant with a heavily pregnant wife. You might be a parent of restless children who just desperately want to play outside! You might be on your own, a solo parent or carer, without additional support, or an isolated vulnerable person, perhaps you’re screaming.
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Junior intercultural studies major Allie Tooley (yellow jacket) had the opportunity to put her knowledge to work this past academic year. Tooley spent the fall semester studying abroad at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, England. While there, Tooley studied social justice, sociology and biblical studies.
“The way they do classes there is really different,” Tooley said. “You only meet once a week … The classes are longer, and the lectures are really different. It was a lot of straight-up lecturing. I really enjoyed that I wasn’t in class as often because I had more time to do independent research. … It was kind of intimidating and helped me to refocus everything I was doing. The structure gave me space to read more for my own benefit.”