NTS faculty, staff, family, colleagues and friends gathered on Saturday, April 28 for a special dinner to acknowledge the retirement of Dr. Joseph Coleson and Dr. Harold Raser. The event struck a celebratory tone as those present celebrated God’s grace through the faithfulness of forty one years of teaching for both Coleson and Raser.
Dr. Coleson and Dr. Raser each began their teaching careers in 1977. Of their eighty two years of combined teaching, over sixty of those years have been at NTS. Combined, the statistics of their teaching ministry (just at NTS) are something to celebrate:
- Roughly 360 courses – 1,100 credit hours
- Approximately 5,400 students
- Graded somewhere around 162,000 pages of student papers
Tributes were given to Dr. Coleson via video from Bob Moore, a former student of Dr. Coleson’s from Western Evangelical Seminary. Bob Moore went on to start Bob’s Red Mill, and to this day cites Dr. Coleson as his mentor and friend. Dr. Judi Schwanz, a long-time colleague of Dr. Coleson, spoke of her connection to Portland, OR and Western Evangelical Seminary where Dr. Coleson and Dr. Salter were first colleagues. She praised Coleson’s personal investment in her and his advocacy for women in ministry. A touching personal tribute was also given by Dr. Sarah Coleson Derck, Joseph’s daughter and Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Houghton College.
Dr. Stan Ingersol, Historian and Archivist of the Church of the Nazarene, offered a tribute to Dr. Raser. Ingersol is a longtime friend of Dr. Raser and someone who knows intimately the impact of Dr. Raser’s scholarship for the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and beyond. Dr. Roger Hahn, longtime colleague and former dean of the faculty spoke of Raser’s sacrificial contributions to the students and faculty at NTS. Finally, Derren Raser, Dr. Raser’s son performed an original song to honor his father.
The event ended with a prayer of blessing from Dr. Jesse Middendorf and the singing of the doxology.
NTS celebrates the faithful and effective ministry of these two servants of Christ. The seminary, scores of students and alumni, and the Church expresses gratitude for their ministry.