Students from the 2011 Christian Movement in the Mediterranean sail out of a small port in Greece.
Students from the 2011 Christian Movement in the Mediterranean sail out of a small port in Greece.

Explore the Bible via Sailing in the Mediterranean

Professor of mission Linford Stutzman will lead a cross-cultural program via boat around the eastern Mediterranean in May 2012. The group will explore Athens, Ephesus, Corinth and many other sites of New Testament churches, usually traveling as the apostle Paul did in the Book of Acts.

The trip, called Christian Movement in the Mediterranean, will begin in Antalya, Turkey, on May 13, 2012, and end 18 days later. Using small sailboats, the class will cruise along the southern coast of Turkey, exploring remote, beautiful impressive sites such as Andriake harbor, Patara, and other key historical sites. From Ephesus, the group will take ferries to the island of Samos, Greece, then across the Aegean to Athens where the seminar ends.

Besides experiencing the Roman Empire from the sea, students will engage in intensive reading and discussion of the culture, politics, religion, and economics of the first century world. They will also learn to work together as sailors, said Stutzman.

Experiences change thinking about New Testament

Michael Swartzentruber, a first-year seminary student who traveled with Stutzman in 2011, said: “There is no better way to study the early church than on a boat, taking whatever the sea throws at you. Living that experience forever changed the way I read Paul and Acts.”

Betsy Fisher Rhodes and her husband Philip had just concluded their year in Nazareth, Israel, when they took this trip. “This course was a real highlight of my year abroad and will continue to influence my thinking of the church in the first-century as well as the church today,” Betsy said.

Stutzman is a veteran of sailing on the Mediterranean and following the journeys of Paul. In 2004-05 he and his wife Janet spent 16 months visiting every port linked to Paul’s travels in Acts. The journey is detailed in Linford’s book “Sailing Acts,” published by Good Books.

Students from Eastern Mennonite Seminary will join graduate students from Jerusalem University College for this trip. It costs $2,825, including three semester hours of tuition and all expenses for the three weeks in the Mediterranean. It does not include international travel to Antalya and from Athens, passports, or visas for Turkey. Final costs are subject to adjustment, depending on exchange rates or tax increases.

Contact Linford Stutzman, director of the Biblical Lands Educational Seminars and Service program of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, for further information and reservations.

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