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Urban Mission Worker to Give Lecture Series

Posted on February 2nd, 2005

Mary Thiessen Nation Mary Thiessen Nation

A veteran urban mission worker will present the annual Augsburger Lecture Series Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 14-15, at Eastern Mennonite University.

Mary Thiessen Nation, currently of Harrisonburg, will speak and lead discussion on her journey from a Canadian farming community to years spent in a violent neighborhood in Los Angeles, Calif., and then to London, England and finally to Harrisonburg.

She will share discoveries about authentic biblical and communal hope gleaned with the help of her inner-city friends in presentations 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 14 in Lehman Auditorium, 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building and in a lecture-forum setting 7 p.m. that day, also in Martin Chapel.

Dr. Thiessen Nation, the third oldest of 10 children, grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta, the daughter of Russian immigrants. After graduating from high school, she attended a Mennonite Brethren Bible College in British Columbia for two years, followed by a year in the Netherlands in an exchange program sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee. She received her teaching credential at Tabor College in Kansas, volunteering in inner-city mission on weekends during her final year in college.

Upon graduation, Thiessen Nation moved to Los Angeles, Calif., to serve with World Impact, an interdenominational Christian mission organization. She lived and served in the inner city for 18 years.

She completed a masters degree in Intercultural Studies in 1993, a masters in theology in 1994 and a Ph.D. in 2004, both from the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif. Her dissertation was, "Realizing Hope in the Midst of Despair: Narratives of an Urban Mission Community."

She married Mark Nation, a Mennonite theologian and ethicist at Fuller Seminary, in 1995. The couple moved to London, England with Mennonite Mission Network in 1996 where Mary served as a consultant on urban mission and spirituality at the London Mennonite Centre. Her spouse is now an associate professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

Thiessen Nation has served as an adjunct professor in urban mission and spirituality at three Mennonite seminaries and at Fuller Seminary. After completing her dissertation, she hopes to mentor/partner with urban missionaries, particularly those who serve among people who have experienced trauma. She will seek opportunities to write, speak and teach about what she learned through her experience in mission and through her study of hope and despair.

Admission to all presentations is free.

The Augsburger Lectureship was established by EMU president emeritus Myron S. Augsburger and his wife Esther to bring noted speakers to campus to address topics in the areas of Christian mission and evangelism.

For more information, call the campus ministries office at 540-432-4342.

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