November 30, 2020
The featured scholarship for this year’s Giving Tuesday initiative is the Nazarenes United for Peace Scholarship for Black Students. In the summer of 2020, NTS Doctor of Ministry student Rev. Rich Shockey sensed a call to start this scholarship. Rich shares the heart behind this effort in the essay below:
2020 seems like the year the world caught on fire. In the midst of a global pandemic, stories of the killings of black people by police in the US seemed to scroll nonstop in the news ticker. This wasn’t new to 2020, of course, but the social consciousness of the fruit of America’s original sin has been heightened and our conscience has been pricked. And this isn’t just a national conversation–it has found its way deep into the church.
Pastors have worked hard to find ways to have articulate and coherent theological reflection on racial justice. In a world that seems more polarized than ever, clergy have needed to draw deeply from wells of theological imagination to find a kingdom narrative that transcends partisan ones.
This scholarship is meant to give hope, both to black students and to the Church of the Nazarene. It is both an actual help for black students and a tangible way for the church to participate in racial equity. Despite the shortcomings of our institutions, this gives us a way to firmly articulate that black lives do, in fact, matter to us, and that we are committed to this equity. It is part of our desire to live out the admonition in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene which says, “We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized.”
We know we have a long way to go toward racial reconciliation, but we know that our educational institutions play a very important role in the Church of the Nazarene. And, critically, Nazarene Theological Seminary is positioned to equip our pastors to further this aim. They help us to train our pastors to recognize the ways that justice is not external to the Gospel–it is integral to it.
Thank you for supporting students called to ministry!
Rev. Rich Shockey
Doctor of Ministry student and founder, Nazarenes United for Peace