Phyllis-jane Stetser, Assistant Pastor at New Jersey’s United Methodist Church of Mantua, dug for two seasons at Bethsaida. When she won a dig scholarship from the Biblical Archaeology Society in 2002, she was invited to dig at Qumran, since the Bethsaida project had been suspended for the season. In her write-up for BAR, she described archaeology as her “passion,” saying, “It is a special privilege to be inserted into a time, a place and a people through archaeology.”d
Phyllis-jane Stetser died in a car accident in May 2005. She was 56 years old.
The theme of last summer’s Vacation Bible School at her church was “Adventures of the Treasure Seekers.” Children of all ages participated in crafts and activities with an archaeological theme, and they heard a presentation by volunteer Howard Aaronson about digging at Bethsaida. Attendance at the program averaged about 180 people for each of the five nights.
As the program’s mission project, it was decided to raise money for BAS in memory of their assistant pastor. Over $750 was raised, according to Jenise Fraser, the director of the Vacation Bible School program. Here at BAS we were very pleased and honored to receive the money, which will be applied to next year’s scholarship fund for dig volunteers.