Aware Magazine | 2013-2014 Annual Report

The 2013-2014 Annual Report chronicles our progress and new iniatives during the past year, and gives you an opportunity to hear directly from each member of the Leadership Team. We pray that you will enjoy reading about the ministry of our seminary and we encourage you to get involved, pray for our students and faculty, and support our mission to prepare bold, articulate spiritual leaders for the world.

To view Aware Magazine as an online publication with the best reading experience, including fullscreen and zoom capabilities, click on cover below. If you would prefer to view Aware as a PDF click here.

Doesn’t my Lord see all this? (Lamentations 3:36)

President’s Blog
August 10, 2014

Doesn’t my Lord see all this? (Lamentations 3:36)

Early in the morning on July 18, 2014, I went to the curb to pick up the New York Times and saw this photo.  I was profoundly sickened and I have been haunted by it ever since.

My children are destroyed because the enemy was so strong (Lamentations 1:14)

1 NYT 
Four brothers playing on a beach when a missile strike killed them.


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Observations and Reflections on the 2013-2014 Israel-Palestine Cross-Cultural Trip

Through the efforts of Dr. Barry Bryant and the Center for the Church and the Black Experience, 13 African American Garrett-Evangelical students and 6 African American GETS graduates journeyed to Israel and Palestine [December 26,2013 – January 9, 2014] to participate in the Outrageous Hope: A Peace and Justice Immersion in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories cross-cultural trip.  Four trip participants have written short reflections on this life-changing experience.  We’re excited to share them with you.

The Gift of Peace

The gift of Outrageous HOPE.

The gift of seminarians, staff, friends and alumni.

The gift of crosses, water, shoes, scarf's etc.

The gift of children running in Hebron.

The gift of Archbishop Chacour, Sami Awad & Kairos Palestine.

The gift of the Salsa family, Grace Tours & Sindyanna of Galilee (fair trade for a fair society).

The gift of Tomme, meals shared and Palestinians hospitality.

The gift of Ramzi, Elias, & Yeman.

The gift of boycotting, divesting and sanctions.

The gift of the land flowing with milk and honey.

The gift of Peace in Palestine & Israel.

By Rev. Jeremiah A. Jasper
Master of Divinity Class of 1989
Pastor, Woodford Memorial UMC, Elkins, WV



For many years, the Palestinian story of oppression as an extension of the black struggle for liberation has not been a prominent one in African American communities. But that is changing. As the Outrageous Hope tour leader, I suspected that the presence of a large number of black travelers would have a profound influence on the dynamics of the trip, and it did.  With their experiences and newly acquired knowledge, our students have returned with a powerful witness, telling stories about their experiences still not largely available to black communities. 

Our students and graduates have boldly and fearlessly shared what they saw, heard, smelled, and experienced first-hand of apartheid. For some, the experienced confirmed suspicions; for others, it reinforced beliefs; and for others, the experience was theologically challenging. Palestinians became “neighbor” and “brother” and “sisters, as experiences of racial oppression were shared.

This experience however took on an unexpected dimension. Black folks nodded in agreement and solidarity as Palestinians shared stories of how suppressed history and culture have been suppressed, as well as the profiling, detainment, and imprisonment of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities. As white students began identifying with the Palestinian narrative, they came to better understand the African American struggl.  Then all three groups – black, white, and Palestinian – began to better understand how intertwined the Black and Palestinian struggles are. Those who undertook this trip through the generosity of CBE have returned home with many stories. Their witness and their solidarity have with it an invitation to understand more about the Palestinian struggle. What do you know about this struggle?

By Dr. Barry Bryant, Associate Professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan Studies
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

“What do I see and hear in the Holy Lands?  I have to tell the truth: I am reminded of the yoke of oppression that was once our burden in South Africa.  For those of us who lived through the dehumanizing horrors of the apartheid era, the comparison seems not only apt, it is also necessary.  It is necessary if we are to persevere in our hope that things can change.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Nelson Mandela
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the things that I’ll take away from this trip is reading the Scriptures from a Palestinian-Christian perspective. Let us look at what is happening to innocent babies. I once believed in the Zioninst movement, but let us look at what the movement is doing in Palestine today. Look around the Palestinian territories, and you will find refugee camps, trash everywhere, destroyed villages, and an ugly grey apartheid wall. 

I invite you to read Scripture through the eyes of a Palestinian Christian. We do not need a dispensationalist theology; what we need in this conflict is peace and healing. The killing has to stop and so does any form of oppressive theology, for, at the end of the day, we are all God’s children. The Bible says:

                “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all
of you are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3.28). 

I choose to stand for the oppressed and to fight for justice. I am willing to have that Outrageous Hope in the God of justice and liberation of all people. I believe that this is the God that Mohandas Gandhi put his hope in. I believe that this is the God that Dr. King put his hope in. I believe that this is the God that Nelson Mandela put his hope in. And this is the God that I choose to put my Outrageous Hope in.

Minister Tiggs Washington, 2nd year MDiv student
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary


There were many awesome experiences on this trip. I was truly immersed into the Palestinian culture with the people, food, communities, and even the merchants. To hear a Palestinian remember me among so many people, and to call me by name, was like being home! I felt that I belonged with these people, as we lived together, laughed and cried together, argued, and made peace with each other. The hospitality was genuine and overwhelming. Since I’ve been home, I have carried the Palestinian and Israeli people in my heart. I’ve also experienced a strange phenomenon; I’ve felt the “presence” of the group with me throughout the day and throughout the house.

One of the most awe-inspiring moments of the trip was at the River Jordan, remembering my baptism there and throughout the day, ending at the Primacy of St. Peter, at the Sea of Galilee. Other key experiences that changed me for the better included our visits to Bethlehem Bible College [Dr. Awad] and the Holy Land Trust [Sammi Awad]. Listening and learning of the oppressive life conditions of the indigenous people, I was heartbroken and dismayed, as we talked about solutions to the problems of people and land. But on January 7th, the Spirit of the Lord arose when I heard the Awads speak of their mission and future aspiration of God’s solution of healing and forgiveness for a war-ravaged people and nation! What God had spoken to Sammi Awad quickened my spirit!

On Monday, January 20, 2014, as I listened to speeches and songs of liberation in honor of Dr. King, my heart ached and my soul cried out as I remembered those little boys and one little girl, running down the streets of Hebron, pleading and begging for pennies. And I only wished I had “change” enough at that moment, as the children stood around hoping that someone would give them something.  Another member of our group stopped to speak to the children, blessing them with the gift of money. As she walked away, the children looked at each other, and there, I saw the face of Christ, as they smiled together at the money she had given to them! I could tell that it meant the world to them. Through the gift of time and patience and money, the children knew that they mattered….I’ll never forget that moment…I’ll never forget the faces of the children.

Rev. Dr. Barbara Morgan
MDiv Class of 2001
Associate Pastor, St. Mark UMC

UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.