It’s good to be home. NTS was first a home for my father’s ministry, and then became a home for my own calling. It’s the home through which I joined the Nazarene family, a home that gained me entry into other homes throughout the broader Wesleyan family and around the world.

As they say, Dear Reader, “you can’t go home again,” and I anticipated that reality in my new role as Dean of the Faculty. Almost everything and everyone in this place has changed since my student days. However, the faculty and staff have welcomed me into the very good work which they do so wholeheartedly and faithfully. As I’m getting to know the students, I’m discovering they are nothing short of inspiring; the rising generation of our NTS household gives me so much hope.

None who know me well would be surprised by my ‘home’ analogy, since I take great pleasure in hosting people, whether in our living room, in my comfy office chairs, on our deck or around our table. Before I wear out your patience with the metaphor, let me take it just a bit further, with one observation and one question.

Our home has strong foundations, home to over 75 years of learning with our Teacher. (I am routinely humbled by the reminder that the gospels describe Jesus’ followers as μᾰθητής, which translates to ‘student’ or ‘pupil’ as appropriately as ‘disciple’ or ‘follower’.) Foundations often need attention after so many decades, and especially when the ground has shifted so drastically beneath them. In this era of seismic shifts in society and education, I’m discovering how profoundly the people of NTS remain compelled by and committed to the foundations of holy love and learning. In this place, learning empowers “love [to] abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Phil. 1:9, NIV). Students of Jesus are invited here to learn “more and more” of God and God’s work, and to join that work with all the “heart, soul, mind, and strength” we’ve been given.

Here’s the question emerging from my bent to hospitality: how can our home welcome all who enter into learning with our Teacher, and offer all they need for that learning? Not all in our family feel equally at home: a painful thing to acknowledge, and a difficult reality to change.  But, as the sticker on my water bottle reminds me every day, “We can do hard things.”

We Wesleyans are people of hope. With the help of the Holy Spirit, in the work of learning from our Teacher and from each other, we have the hope of being a healthy home: deeply formed in the “family likeness” of Christ, following our Teacher in the Wesleyan way, warm to all who enter our doors, strengthening all as they leave to serve and glorify God.

Dear Reader, we welcome your calls and visits home. We need your prayers and your support, and offer the same to you. We thank you for sharing our home.

 

Rev. Sarah B. Coleson-Derck, Ph.D.
Dean of the Faculty; Professor of Biblical and Near Eastern Studies

 

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