The Jerusalem Studies Center operated by Southeastern University of Lakeland, Florida, is now the George O. Wood Jerusalem Studies Center in honor of the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.
On December 2, 2009, a renaming ceremony was held at the downtown Jerusalem building that serves as a home away from home for Southeastern ministerial students taking a five-week study program in and around this historically momentous city. The program provides the unique opportunity for up to 48 students at a time - 96 each semester - to study biblical history on-site in the Holy Land.
"I so appreciate Southeastern University's vision for establishing a Center in Jerusalem," said Dr. Wood, who was present for the ceremony along with eight family members, including his wife Jewel. Also present were Assemblies of God representatives, Southeastern regents, faculty, staff, students and friends. "This Center will not only serve to effectively equip students at Southeastern who are training for ministry and lay vocations, it will also host a stream of students, youth and people from all over the United States and the world. I believe that a study or tour experience in Israel is an essential component of ministry preparation and I applaud Southeastern for taking this bold step forward. Our churches will be the long-term beneficiaries of men and women who have experienced 'the fifth gospel' - experiencing the Bible in its original setting."
Led by Dr. Robert W. Houlihan, dean of Southeastern's College of Christian Ministries and Religion, students study the life of Jesus Christ in the land where He lived, walked and taught. They also explore active archaeological digs, and participate in the mainstream of current events.
Southeastern University is a fast-growing, 74-year-old liberal arts institution affiliated with the Assemblies of God. The university's Board of Regents authorized the Jerusalem Studies name change earlier this year to pay tribute to Dr. Wood, a longtime and fervent supporter of students, education and, specifically, Southeastern University and its studies center which opened in Jerusalem January 2009.
"It's a very humbling experience that Southeastern has chosen to place my name on the building, and I am grateful for their confidence in the passion I have long held for the establishment of such a center," Wood said at the renaming ceremony.
Dr. Charles Kelly, chairman of Southeastern University's Board of Regents, said it was entirely fitting and appropriate to name the center for this wonderful man of God: "Over the years, Dr. Wood's passion for education and for students has been obvious. And it has been equally obvious that having a facility like this in Jerusalem to train future ministers has long been dear to his heart."
Located in the heart of West Jerusalem just minutes from the Old City, the George O. Wood Jerusalem Studies Center is a beautiful, 13,250-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that meets the area's strict building codes. There are 23 multiple- and single-occupancy suites, each equipped with a bathroom, microwave and refrigerator. Additionally, the center has a lounge area, conference/dining room complete with audio/visual equipment, an enclosed outdoor patio and a full-range kitchen. For the students' safety, which is a top priority, there are various security systems in place - key-card entry, automated alarms and surveillance cameras - and a 24/7 armed guard. The exterior is finished with Jerusalem stone to comply with the highest standards of historical preservation.
Southeastern University is currently leasing the building, but a capital campaign is underway to raise the money to purchase it. Owning the property will make it possible for the university to offer opportunities to students in sister schools to train here, as well.
For more information about the center or Southeastern University, call 863.667.5000 or visit http://www.seuniversity.edu/Jerusalem.