Urban Cohort Students Receive Aid for Israel Trip
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary’s Urban Cohort program secured a grant from the Zondervan Foundation as well as additional gifts to aid in sending students on the Israel, Palestine and Jordan trip at a reduced rate. The grant meets a necessary need for these students who want to continue their learning abroad. In the past, it has been difficult for Urban Cohort students to attend the trip due to cost and a limited number of scholarship spots.
“The Israel trip was designed as an incentive for M.Div students, but we discovered that it had inadvertently excluded Urban Cohort students,” Rev. Dr. Royce Evans, director of the Urban Cohort Program, said of the program. He says that these gifts address the disparity in funding.
The grant was proposed by Evans with the support and encouragement of Dr. Jonathan Greer. This provides scholarship opportunities for participants of the program so they experience the trip at a reduced cost. Dr. Greer along with his wife, Professor Jennifer Greer, lead the 11-day study trip each January, which explores the culture, architecture and geography of the Holy Land from a biblical perspective.
While the students are abroad, they will take a course that is encouraged for three of the significant degree programs at GRTS: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership. The trip provides a more hands-on context than what they would experience in the classroom. Evans, who has been on the trip, has seen students spiritually transformed by this trip and their “a-ha” moments as they explore the places Jesus walked.
“Students serving in marginalized areas benefit from being able to capture and contextualize Scripture in order to better inform biblical teaching and encourage congregants to do the same,” Evans said.
Bailie Rouse, administrative assistant for GRTS and an M.A. Counseling student, has also been on the trip and helped secure the grant from the Zondervan Foundation.
“Attending the Israel Study Tour in 2017 opened my eyes to see and experience the Bible in a completely new way,” Rouse said. “The grant gives Urban Cohort students the opportunity to experientially study the land of the Bible at an inexpensive cost.”
“The trip adds a profound dimension to students’ learning,” Evans said. “It will help accuracy and precision in their ministry, as well as minimize error. When you correct error in interpretation, you also correct error in the application.”