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Duke U. scholar, Methodist minister, to join Eastern Mennonite Seminary faculty

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Christian formation curriculum, an integral part of studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, will be overseen by an ordained Methodist minister, Emily Peck-McClain, beginning in January 2015.

After a thorough search process, Peck-McClain has been hired as assistant professor of Christian formation, preaching and worship, said Michael King, PhD, vice president and seminary dean.

“Formational resources, training, and activities have long been an EMS specialty,” he said. “We see Emily as particularly well-suited to be steward of this EMS treasure. Emily embodies and owns formational questions and considerations at great depth in her life, thought, and experience.”

Peck-McClain said she is excited by the position “because it combines what I see as essential in the practical theology and practice of ministry fields. I can tell that formation is something the seminary community as a whole truly values.”

Each degree at EMS has at least one full-year required course in Christian formation. The master of divinity degree has three full-year required courses. Peck-McClain will be giving direction and oversight to these full-year formation courses, in addition to teaching in preaching, worship and Christian education. Kevin Clark, adjunct instructor and campus pastor, will continue to work with spiritual formation electives.

Peck-McClain’s work reflects her experience growing up in an interfaith home with one Jewish parent and one United Methodist parent and her education in liberation theology. As an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, she has pastored two congregations in New York City.

“A community is enriched when different experiences of God and Christian living interact,” she told EMU News Service. “The diversity of how God reveals ‘Godself’ is a gift to God’s diverse global community.”

Peck-McClain said she was attracted to EMS’s commitment to “faithful Christian leadership in a global, challenging, and changing context.” She deeply appreciates the Anabaptist values at the core of EMS’s mission.

“One of the things that impresses me most about EMS is how formation is valued not only as a separate discipline, but as integral to how teaching and learning take place in the seminary. I seek to balance individual journeys and spiritual disciplines with communal practices, actions, and discernment in how I teach formation, preaching, and worship.”

Emily received a BA in religion from Washington and Lee University in 2002 and a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 2005. She is finishing her ThD through Duke Divinity School. Her dissertation “Revealing the Power: New Creation Epistemology for Adolescent Girls” is on reading Romans 1-8 as a liberative source for ministry with adolescent girls. She has also been a teaching assistant, co-instructor, and adjunct instructor at Duke Divinity School in areas of Christian education, New Testament, and worship.

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