(Neptune, NJ) – Last week, in a joint announcement at the opening of a new Mission and Resource Center, Bishop John Schol of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey and Dean Javier Viera of Drew Theological School announced a new partnership between the two organizations.
“Today we announce that the Mission and Resource Center of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey will be a Drew satellite campus for Drew courses,” said Bishop Schol. “Our partnership with Drew University and in particular with the Theological School continues to grow and evolve.”
Drew University, located in Madison NJ, was founded as a seminary with Methodist roots in 1867. Today the University and its Theological School are world-class institutions noted for academic excellence, innovation and civic engagement.
The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, which has 560 churches throughout the region, opened the Mission and Resource Center, a new facility in Neptune NJ that houses administrative offices and has more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space and a full service audio and video studio.
Schol said in his statement that the leaders of the church envisioned the new facility to serve as more than just office space, “The Mission and Resource Center will be a place of inspiration and learning for spiritual and community leaders throughout the state, region and world.”
Holding classes at this new facility serves both organizations. The new facility in Neptune offers a second site for Drew that will provide easy access to central and southern NJ students and provides options for clergy and laity from the United Methodist Church for continued learning opportunities.
Drew Theological School Dean, The Reverend Dr. Javier Viera, shared his excitement about the possibilities that are opened by this partnership. “Our work together is not only about training clergy for the church. We want to also focus on offering educational opportunities to the laity. We also want to reach out to the growing Latino community throughout the state and strengthen our ministry and service together. The course offering this fall is just the beginning of what I know will be a major and long-term partnership with the people of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.”
Viera has already started meeting with Hispanic leaders in the church to partner with Drew. “I’m excited about what it means. We are exploring the possibility of offering courses in Spanish to help equip the lay leadership of the church for service in their communities,” Viera said.
The first course in this partnership will be taught this fall by Dr. Virginia Samuel Cetuk, Associate Dean for Contextual Learning. “The Landscape of Loss will help students understand the gift of life, and the attending grief related to multiple kinds of loss. The course will draw upon the resources of the Judeo-Christian heritage to assist people to adapt and embrace the abundant life offered by Jesus Christ,” said Cetuk.