On Tuesday, August 23, the faculty, staff and a number of
trustees gathered to begin the school year with prayer and worship and to
express their deep appreciation to Dr. David and Betzi Schroeder for their
twelve years of leadership as President and First Lady of Nyack College. Dr. Ron Walborn and David Bancroft began the
day’s service by leading the over 300 in attendance in songs of praise and
group prayer. Dr. Walborn challenged
all present to see our God as One who continually does a new thing, both in
terms of individual lives and in institutions like Nyack College. He asked us to see with God’s eyes and
believe that even though Dr. Schroeder, a visionary president, is leaving the
College, God has laid a mighty foundation through him to build a Christian
university. Thus, we will continue to
see the newness of the Spirit in our midst in the years ahead.
Dr. Schroeder then enjoined the faculty, staff and trustees
to continue to walk in the presence of God.
He read Paul’s farewell to the Ephesians that spells out rich blessings
for those who continue to walk in the light of the Spirit. In a very personal way, Dr. Schroeder
described how God had worked in his life and especially in the last five years
how he and Betzi have been blessed by “newness” from God. Betzi also shared her testimony and as she
finished, the audience stood and applauded the Schroeders in a display of love
and gratitude that lasted for some time.
For the remainder of the morning, Mr. Ronald Eastman,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, thanked the Schroeders for their courageous
and pioneering leadership. He then
spelled out the transition plan, naming David Jennings Interim President and
the members of the Presidential Search Committee.
The highlight of the afternoon, and indeed, the highlight of
the day was the Commissioning Service for Dr. and Mrs. Schroeder, as the campus
community released them and blessed them for their ministry with International
Teams. Dr. Martin Sanders and Prof.
Chuck Davis began the service with communion.
Prof. Davis spoke of the blessing that would now accrue to the college
community as its President and First Lady begin missionary service. Dr. Steve Bailey then performed a traditional
Laotian separation or leave-taking ceremony.
He placed Laotian shawls over their shoulders and then, kneeling before
them, asked, on behalf of the faculty and staff, for forgiveness and
reconciliation, so that, as we part from each other the future path between us
would be cleansed. Dr. Bailey then tied
strings to each of their wrists, symbolically tying them and their futures to
Jesus. In closing this stirring
service, Dr. Sanders prayed that the Lord would continue to bless David
Schroeder with great vision well into advanced age and that Betzi would so
radiate with Jesus Christ that all about her would see the presence of Jesus.
The day concluded with a wonderful dinner served on the lawn
of the newly purchased Bradley estate.
Its retreat-like setting was a perfect complement to a day rich in
spiritual blessing as well as sad leave-takings as David and Betzi were leaving
Nyack the next day. But Tuesday, August
23, will be remembered as a wonderful day of blessing for Nyack College and
Alliance Theological Seminary as the whole community of faculty and staff paid
tribute to the Schroeders. One of the
richest blessings we saw that day was the presence of God during this period of
transition, and so we look forward to the new thing that He will do in all of
our lives in these coming days and months.
--Dr. David Turk
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs