Abilene Christian University students enrolled in a Study Abroad semester in Germany this semester had an especially experienced church historian with them for their 11-day excursion to Turkey: ACU chancellor Dr. Royce Money (’64).
Royce is a visiting faculty member this spring in Leipzig, Germany, at the newest of ACU’s three Study Abroad centers. He is accompanied by his wife, Pam (Handy ’65), who traveled with him last semester to spend time at Study Abroad centers in Oxford, England, and Montevideo, Uruguay.
Royce is teaching a Survey of Church History course offered in Leipzig, an experience enhanced by touring the sites of several New Testament churches located in Turkey.
“The highlight of this week was going up to Termessos, the ancient civilization situated on a mountaintop that goes back probably to 1000 BC. You have to climb a strenuous 20-30 minutes (for me, not the students) to get to their abandoned city,” writes Money. “It has been virtually untouched for more than 2,000 years – like an ancient ghost town.”
“Dr. Money’s role has been to provide the historical context of the church in our class meetings leading up to the trip, and while there, to provide on-site lectures adding to the knowledge students gained through our local tour guides,” writes Stephen, who planned and led the trip. “His presence was significant and vital to the student’s experience of engaging the Christian history found in Turkey, from the church’s early days and through the Byzantine period.”
Their Turkey trip includes stays in Istanbul, Antalya, Bergama and Selcuk, and visits to Pergamon and Sardis, but they plan to spend Easter Sunday in Ephesus before returning to Leipzig.
The on-site coordinators and visiting faculty for Leipzig this semester are Stephen Shewmaker (associate director of ACU’s Center for International Education) and his wife, Dr. Jennifer (Wade ’92) Shewmaker (assistant professor of psychology), who have considerable experience living and traveling in Central Europe.
Formerly part of East Germany, Leipzig has a rich history in philosophy, music, religion and culture. It was the home of Bach, Schumann, Wagner and Mendelssohn, and is near where German theologian Martin Luther spent considerable time. Leipzig also played a role in the 1989 democratic revolution and was the site of peaceful prayer marches by citizens that helped lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. ACU students who Study Abroad there each semester take German language classes.
Freelance photographer Ronnie Ruiz of Billings, Mont., is traveling with the group as well. Ruiz’ images from similar assignments in Oxford and Montevideo formed the foundation of our cover story for the Fall 2009 issue of ACU Today.
Look for coverage of the Leipzig experience this summer in our next issue, and for more photos in this space in the next few days.