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Seminary Course Studies Mission Near and Far

Linford Stutzman

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Eastern Mennonite Seminary is offering a new "hybrid" course, online and in-person, to help people better understand the missionary movement in the New Testament.

"Christian Movement in the Mediterranean" will help students get a feel for the way the Apostle Paul and other New Testament missionaries spread the gospel. The course will begin May 5 and run for 15 weeks.

Some students will sail with Stutzman

Linford L. Stutzman, associate professor of culture and mission at EMS, will take five students in his sailboat, Sailing Acts, to various sites of Paul's missionary journeys along the southern Turkish coast. Another group of students will join the conversation through online interaction.

In 2004-05 Dr. Stutzman, with his wife Janet, spent a 15-month sabbatical aboard their sailboat in the Mediterranean. This voyage took them to all 37 harbors, 54 cities, and nine islands mentioned in Acts that Paul visited. The Stutzmans returned with a deep appreciation for Paul's creativity, stamina, passion and faith and a commitment to exposing students to Paul and his world.

Online interaction through video, photos and journals

Stutzman has various videos and photographs of early church sites which he will post online to help students understand the context and setting of these early churches. This online group will interact with the five students who are traveling with Stutzman. They will describe their experiences to those taking the class online.

The student groups will work together on a major project, applying what they’ve learned about mission from the first Christian missionaries. The group studying with Stutzman on-site will bring insights into the context of the early church, and the group studying online will offer insights from their own setting and experience.

“The early Christian movement crossed cultural boundaries all the time. I want students to be able to understand, experience and apply that in our world today,” Stutzman said.

Part of a new BLESS program

This course is part of a new program being developed by Eastern Mennonite Seminary in cooperation with Mennonite mission agencies, called Biblical Lands Educational Seminars and Service (BLESS). BLESS will offer young adults and others a variety of options to combine online, hybrid and short, intensive seminary courses with a service assignment in the biblical lands or other places in the world.

Interested persons can contact the office of seminary admissions at 540-432-4257 or send an email to semadmiss@emu.edu. More information on this and other online courses at EMS is available at www.emu.edu/seminary/distancelearning or by contacting Stutzman at stutzmal@emu.edu.

- Laura Lehman Amstutz
- posted 3/26/09