In this issue

Greetings, Haverim!

Two of the most notable events of the 2013-4 school years for the Bible and Religion department owe a great deal to Evan Knappenberger, a philosophy and theology major in the class of 2015.

Last September, we were blessed to host on EMU’s campus an all-day visit from the provocative and perceptive post-Christian philosopher Peter Rollins. A nice write up by Andrew Jenner on the EMU website gives a taste of Rollins’s visit (follow this url: http://emu.edu/now/news/2013/09/emergent-church-theologian-peter-rollins-brings-provocative-message-to-emu/ or do a search on the EMU site for “Peter Rollins”). Rollins spoke twice to large crowds in public presentations (chapel and the University Colloquium), in a couple of classes, he ate lunch with students, and presented in the evening to a student group (“The Free Thought Coalition”).

Rollins’s talks and conversations certainly challenged all of us—to think creatively about Christian presence in the contemporary world, to reflect on significant critiques of Christian beliefs and practices, and to renew our commitment better to understand and communicate our own convictions.

Evan’s role in Rollins’s visit was crucial. Early in 2013, Evan (who is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a recipient of G.I. Bill benefits) received an unexpected payment from the government. He generously decided to donate it to the department to use as we saw fit. Department members discussed this and decided that using the money to help bring a speaker to EMU that we otherwise could not afford might be one good use. We consulted with Evan and some other students, and decided that Rollins would be a good choice. We were also able to gain access to other funding sources on campus and thus provided for a stimulating day of conversation that clearly got the attention of many people on the EMU campus.

The second event I will mention was the creation of a new statement of faith that articulates an Anabaptist peace theology. Dubbed “The Shenandoah Confession” (it can be read on the EMU website: https://emu.edu/now/news/2014/02/shenandoah-confession-emerges-from-2014-intercollegiate-peace-meeting-in-spirit-of-500-year-old-schleitheim-confession/ or search for “Shenandoah Confession”). This Confession emerged from the Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship meetings held at EMU this spring, specifically with the encouragement of the conference’s keynote speaker, Lisa Schirch, Research Professor at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

Evan was the main drafter and then publicizer of the Confession, produced in collaboration with a number of other students during and after the conference, including Jacob Landis, like Evan a Bible and Religion major in the class of 2015. The Shenandoah Confession has gotten widespread attention in the North American Mennonite community, a remarkable achievement for a student initiated statement. This attention included praise from Rev. David L. Myers, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships in the Barack Obama administration. Rev. Myers sought a meeting with the writings of the Confession on a visit to EMU this spring.

We are grateful for all our students and for how they have enriched campus life this past school year—including especially Evan for these contributions.

~ Ted Grimsrud, department chair

2014 GradsGraduating seniors Andrea de Avila, Emily Hodges, and Brandon Waggy, together with family members, joined Bible and religion faculty for a brunch on Saturday before commencement. Conversations flowed in English, French and Spanish. Two graduates are planning summer weddings, and one is entering a voluntary service assignment in the fall. After a time of eating together and visiting, Ted Grimsrud led the group in a prayer of thanks and blessing for each graduate.

Students in Action

Women Doing Theology conferenceFour students (R to L: Andrea, Alyssa, Emily, Alisha) along with two faculty members (R to L: Carmen, Nancy) attended the Mennonite Women USA: Women in Leadership: Women Doing Theology Conference Feb. 20-22, 2014 in Leesburg, Virginia. Alyssa Weaver writes, “I was grateful to be meeting with so many talented and deep thinking women, all of whom were excited about theology! There was a sense of connection among us all that was a reminder of our ever-present God.”

Nancy Heisey wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed the drive back and forth with the other Bible and Religion women—faculty and students! At the conference itself, I was most moved and challenged by a workshop presentation by women whose spouses have suffered from mental illness. The theological, pastoral and personal reflections were life-giving and challenging.”

Carmen wrote: “One highlight for me was the opportunity to attend the conference with our four B and R senior female students and to interact as we traveled, ate, worshiped and processed what we were hearing. I also truly enjoyed hearing the students share their reflections on the conference in the chapel that they presented. One of my favorite seminars was given by Cathy Stoner who talked about the challenges she faces as she bridges her life in inner city South Bend, and befriends neighborhood children whose day-to-day reality is dramatically different from the lives of the women from the country club where she plays tennis. Cathy’s reflections on the brokenness in both the worlds in which she lives and ministers were a practical reminder of how our talk about theology is often lived out in our day to day choices. I appreciated that the conference had a good balance between academic papers, and practical stories of pain and hope.”

Peter Dula has been busy while on sabbatical …

  • He presented a paper, “The Limits of Theology,” at the Duke Divinity School conference, “The Difference Christ Makes: Celebrating the Life and Work of Stanley Hauerwas” in Nov. 2013.
  • He presented “Friends and Enemies in the Gospel of John” at the American Academy of Religion regional meeting in New York in March 2014.
  • And he gave the keynote address at the conference “Wading Deeper: Anabaptist Mennonite Identities Engage Postmodernity” at Canadian Mennonite University May 31.

Christian Early is attending a conference in Iran in June.

Ted Grimsrud published volumes two and three of his “Collected Pacifist Writings” (published by Peace Theology Books). Volume two is Proclaiming Peace: Sermons and Blog Posts. Volume three is Arguing Peace: Biblical and Theological Essays. The book he wrote during his recent sabbatical, The Good War That Wasn’t—And Why It Matters: World War II’s Moral Legacy, is due out this summer with Cascade Books.

Nancy Heisey has been participating this spring on the ad-hoc undergraduate task force to assist student participation in the EMU listening process. In May she will attend the North American Patristics Society meeting in Chicago and chair a session on “Bodies and Health in ancient Christian sources.”

Carmen Schrock-Hurst just returned from a visit with her daughter Grace (2010 CRAM alum), her husband Yugo and new grandbaby Jeremiah.

Haverim Awards – 2014 Recipients

Haverim Debt-Reduction Scholarship Awards

  • Religious and Intercultural Studies major Emily Hodges
  • Philosophy and Theology major Jossimar Diáz-Castro

Haverim Writing Awards

  • 1st Place: Even Knappenberger, ’15 Philosophy & Theology, “Living Prophetically”
  • 2nd Place: Emily Hodges, ’14 Religious & Intercultural Studies, “Approaching Youth ministry”
  • 3rd Place: Thomas Millary, ’15 Philosophy & Theology, “Polotics of Perhaps”

This year’s contest was held on March 26 with a large audience to hear impelling words from five EMU students. Read the release about this event and the wide variety of topics.

Ministry Inquiry Program

The Ministry Inquiry Program is an exciting opportunity of the Mennonite Church USA for college-age young adults to explore pastoral ministry. The program offers the opportunity to experience first hand what ministry is and to test one’s own gifts and sense of call. The rich variety of placements this summer are representative of the multi-cultural nature of the church.

Philip J. Yoder (senior, Business Administration) will be hosted by Zion Mennonite Church (Broadwa, VA.)
Hanna Heishman (junior, Peacebuilding and Development) with West Philadelphia Mennonite Church (Philadelphia PA)
Chris Parks (junior, Theology and Biblical Studies) with Hyattsville Mennonite Church (University Park MD)
Evan Knappenberger (senior, Philosophy and Theology) will work with a number of churches.

Funded in part by MCUSA the MIP program provides students with an opportunity to explore their gifts for ministry and to test their possible calling to longer term service work for the church. At the completion of their 11 week placement MIPers receive stipend money towards their continuing education at a Mennonite College. In addition to MCUSA, funds come from EMU, the host congregation and conference, and the student’s sending congregation and conference.

EMU MIP director Carmen Schrock-Hurst says, "The MIP program is a win-win for the denomination, the local congregations, the students, the participating colleges, and indeed for the broader church. The opportunity for students to test their gifts and to be mentored by seasoned pastors is truly invaluable. The insights that these students then bring back to the classrooms in the fall greatly enrich the learning environment on campus.

Spring 2014 Events

On the weekend of January 24-26, 2014 nine EMU students from the Intro to Youth Ministry class attended the Virginia Mennonite Conference annual youth workers training event held at Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center. The keynote speaker was Dr. Almeda Wright, assistant professor of Religious Education from Yale Divinity School. EMU students were able to attend due to a generous grant from VA Mennonite Conference. The theme of the conference was Fostering Everyday – Everywhere Faith. The students were accompanied by Bible and Religion Instructor Carmen Schrock-Hurst.

On Saturday, April 5, 2014 four EMU undergraduates from the Intro to Youth Ministry class attended the ninth annual Youth Workers Conference at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. The keynote speaker was Dr. Duffy Robbins professor of Youth Ministry at Eastern University and author of over fifteen youth ministry books. The students were accompanied by Bible and Religion Instructor Carmen Schrock-Hurst. Over 500 students, youth ministers and educators were in attendance. The theme of the conference was “Treasures in Cracked Pots.”

Alumni Update

Ben Beachy (EMU BS 2002 in Biblical Studies and Computer Science, MBA 2009) will become EMU’s next Director of Information Systems on May 1. Ben began working for Information Systems while completing his bachelor’s degree, then transitioned to a full-time position in 2002. He has held a variety of positions on the user services, network systems and application development teams and most recently has led the technical systems team as associate director. He has provided leadership to a number of significant projects including the design of the AIER system, the campus migration to Moodle and our ongoing migration to Google Apps for Education. Ben brings to the position a deep knowledge of EMU systems and a passion for engaging with faculty, staff and students to apply technology to further EMU’s mission.

With joy, Jason Alderfer and Kirsten Beachy (Philosophy & Theology 2002 and current Haverim Steering Committee member) welcomed sisters into the world, Irene Beachy Alderfer and Sallie Beachy Alderfer at 6:34 and 6:35 on Thursday morning March 12, 2014, birthed via C-section. Irene weighed 6lbs 9oz, Sallie 6lbs, 1 oz, and we are so happy they got to grow for a full 39 weeks. The twins are not a matched set! Irene is alert and full of energy while Sallie is quiet and snuggly. We are busy, tired, grateful for good support from friends, family, and medical staff, and so very much in love with our girls. Please join us in our prayers of “Help,” “Thanks,” and “Wow!”

Emily's Liam
Emily Sims Wingert (Congregation & Youth Ministry, 2009) – Liam David Wingert was born on Jan.6, 2014 at 10:41 a.m. at 9 lbs 2 oz. and 20 inches long! He met his grammy and pop in Thailand via skype and now he’s happy to be introduced to you all too!

What have you been doing since leaving EMU?

We’d enjoy hearing from you!

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