Southeastern University President Mark Rutland makes the big announcement.
THERE IS HOPE!
Olmert and the Manchurian Cabinet have forgotten Jerusalem, but a whole university of Christians in the heart of Florida remembers her, and loves her. Oh, and check out the comments from these young Christians...I guess these are the "bitter" people Hussein Obama was condemning...
Published: Saturday, April 26, 2008
University Opens Center in Jerusalem
By Robin Williams Adams
LAKELAND | To live and study in Israel would be a dream come true for many religious people.
Southeastern University is making it possible for some students to fulfill that dream by opening a Jerusalem Studies Center in West Jerusalem. Southeastern has a long-term lease on a five-story facility that it will use for dorms and minimal classroom space, with much of the studying done in the surrounding countryside.
'It's probably one of the most exciting things we've done at this university,' President Mark Rutland told students Friday morning after briefing faculty members earlier in the week. A ceremonial lease signing took place that afternoon in the school's Bush Chapel.
Southeastern, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, is paying $360,000 a year to lease the brand-new building that's still in the final stages of preparation. Although a rendering of the building makes it appear to stand alone, Rutland assured students and faculty it's in an urban neighborhood surrounded by shops and restaurants.
He and others from Southeastern looked at real estate throughout Israel, including apartment blocks owned by a Bedouin chieftain, before deciding Jerusalem was the best location. Planning has been going on for almost two years.
He didn't try to contain his enthusiasm as he described how the program will work.
'Our whole goal is to provide these students with a life-changing experience,' said Rutland, who has been in Israel 26 times.
'I want their world view broadened. One can see the whole world from Jerusalem. It's the center of the world.'
Three students interviewed said they're eager to go.
'This is the land where our God became incarnate,' said Kevin Kurian, 18, a sophomore from East Hanover, N.J. 'The prospect of seeing it with my own eyes is a very exciting proposition.'
Sharing that experience with other Southeastern students, under the direction of Southeastern religion professors, will make it more meaningful, he said.
Megan Epler, 21, a junior, said she would be 'ecstatic to get away from the American college experience and step onto the exact land our Lord Jesus Christ lived and studied in.'
Kurian and Epler, who is from Fayetteville, N.C., both are majoring in practical theology.
Rebekah Bailey of Atlanta, 21, a junior majoring in Christian ministries, said her love of Old Testament history and archeological studies makes the opportunity 'right up my alley.'
The Israel experience is a study-abroad program, not a branch campus in Israel, Rutland said.
Four sessions a year, each lasting five weeks, are planned, beginning in the fall. Religion majors will be expected to take one of those sessions, with other Southeastern students also able to go. In the other 32 weeks, Southeastern has the option of arranging shorter stays for students and letting other education programs use its leased building.
'We want to get more students, not fewer,' Rutland said, encouraging 'the whole creative team of the university' to design the best experience possible for students in that short time period.
'I want you to come home from these five weeks utterly exhausted,' he told students.
Those who go for a five-week session will be away from the regular campus routine for a full semester, spending the time they aren't in Israel doing online, directed study or other methods of completing the course work. They can earn 15 hours of credit.
That gives Southeastern, which had been turning students away because of lack of boarding space, the flexibility of having more beds available this fall, Rutland said.
Forty-eight students will take part in each five-week program, which translates into 96 in the fall semester who CPUIRTwould be students but not in need of dorm space at Southeastern. Another 96 would take part in the spring.
The cost for the term in Jerusalem is $11,935. This includes a $2,755 program fee, which covers air fare, tours and museum admission as well as lodging and food. That's $1,200 more than the cost of a semester on campus in 2008-09.
Some course topics will include the life of Christ, biblical archeology and
'Where Jesus walked is where we want to be,' said Robert Houlihan, dean of Southeastern's College of Christian Ministries. 'You can't imagine (what it's like) for a person who studies the Scriptures to be there.'