Seminary

Faculty

Kevin A Clark
Assist Prof & Campus Minister

Kevin holds a B.A. in Theology and Biblical Studies from Eastern Mennonite University, an MA in Church Leadership from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, with concentrations in Pastoral Counseling and Christian Spiritual Formation and a D.Min in Spiritual Direction through Graduate Theological Foundation, South Bend, IN.

Kevin is a pastor at heart, ordained by the Virginia Mennonite Conference in 1996 and was recently the pastor of Big Spring Mennonite Church, Luray VA from 1996 to 2004. He has 21 years pastoral experience, serving within several Christian denominations. Kevin has been an adjunct instructor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary (1996-present) in the area of Christian Spiritual Formation. He is a spiritual director, retreat leader and board member of Blue Ridge Ministries, Inc. an interdenominational retreat ministry located in the Shenandoah Valley.

Kevin has participated with Dorothy Jean Weaver in the on-going personal connections and involvement in the Israel/Palestine. This includes a Seminary study tour program “Places, People, & Prayers and a Middle East work group through the Virginia Mennonite Board of Missions, – Partners in Mission program.

Kenton Derstine
Assoc Prof of Sprvd Ministry and Dir of CPE & Mentored Ministry

How might someone be truly helpful to another as they face the humdrum or the crisis of their life’s journey? How is it that some of the most well-intentioned efforts at “help” turn out not to be helpful—even hurtful? How is it that a congregation of committed people can become so hurtful to each other? And, how is it that despite one’s best efforts one behaves in ways that seem abhorrent when observed in others? Exploring these and similar questions have challenged and energized Kenton’s journey as a member, pastor, chaplain, leader and pastoral educator—-and his students.

As Director of EMS’s Mentored Ministry programs Kenton is dedicated to an experiential learning process whereby participants have opportunity through a cycle of practice and reflection to explore their questions and convictions regarding what it means to minister as a follower of Jesus Christ. This learning process is informed by the conviction that learning is established when new insight informs new behaviors practiced again and again—when “practice” establishes a “practice.” My hope is that each student will be sufficiently challenged by some experience of ministry during their study at EMS that they will be thrust into new levels of theological reflection, self-examination and the experience of God’s love and grace.

Kenton is the eleventh of twelve children born to Abram and Ruth Derstine, life-long members of Souderton Mennonite church in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College—after a stint at the U. of Colorado. Active in the anti-Vietman War movement through much of his college years Kenton reneged on his acceptance into graduate school to study political science after spending a semester in Europe studying Anabaptist origins. He came to share the conviction of these spiritual forebears that the meaning of history and societal transformation lay more in the church than in political processes. Therefore, he entered the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and with his wife joined the Fellowship of Hope Church and Community in Elkhart, IN. Commitment to the church as “community,” as a “demonstration plot” of the Kingdom of God has energized and focused his teaching and has been a point of connection with current emergent forms of the church.

Following graduating seminary Kenton entered Clinical Pastoral Education and served Chaplain Internships and Residencies in three different hospitals, eventually gaining certification as a CPE Supervisor. Included in his experience was his service as chaplain on the Critical Care units of Methodist Hospital of Indiana, home of the treatment team for drivers injured on the IndyCar racing circuit. Kenton came to EMS after serving for seven years as CPE Supervisor and CPE Program Manager at St. Vincent Hospitals, Indianapolis. Kenton and Rhoda are the parents of three adult children. Kenton has been a beekeeper for over forty years and is intrigued by the message that the world-wide die-off of honeybees has posed to modern life.

Jim Engle
Professor of Old Testament

Jim has been teaching Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew at EMS since 1984.

His interest in ARCHAEOLOGY colors his teaching. Before coming to EMU Jim participated in archaeological digs for parts of four summers in Jordan and Israel. A Google search on “pillar figurines, Engle” or “Engle, Asherah” will bring up references to a particular area of Jim’s interest.

Jim is fascinated by ETHIOPIAN languages and society which connects to the ancient Hebrew language and society. His marriage to Peg (Groff) Engle, long-time missionary nurse in Ethiopia. has led to several teaching terms at Meserete Kristos College and to the formation of numerous friendships in Ethiopia.

Jim writes SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS. His latest contribution to Adult Bible Study (Uniform Lessons) Menno-Media, appeared in Winter 2011-2012.

David Evans
Asst Prof-History and mission

In addition to his teaching role, David serves the seminary community as Director of Cross Cultural Programs and Interim Director of the Master of Arts in Religion.

David has worked in various ministry contexts. While living in Washington, DC, David was the Junior/Senior High Director of an out-of-school time program on Capitol Hill. Later he served as Community Development Resource coordinator with MCC East Coast. Most recently he was co-pastor of Boonton United Methodist Church in New Jersey. He loves to spend time with his wife, Faith, his two boys Isaac, 15 and Solomon, 8 and his 5 month old daughter, Sarah. He finds joy in playing and coaching basketball and soccer. He is also an avid music enthusiast. Above all else, he would like to be known as someone who loves God with deep conviction and loves God’s people with a heart that is wide open.

Mark Thiessen Nation
Professor

Growing up in a non-Christian home within a racist community, being encountered by Christ in a Baptist revival toward the end of high school, and being pastored by a WWII veteran—these would not seem to be the ingredients to produce a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. But then the gospel of Jesus Christ is not predictable. It changes lives! In Mark’s case, a radical conversion followed by reading the New Testament and hearing many sermons about God’s love for the whole world convinced Mark that following Jesus included not killing one’s enemies.

Several years later Mark discovered Christians within various traditions who, with Mark, saw peace and social justice as inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it was through reading The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder that Mark began to find a theological home in the Anabaptist/ Mennonite tradition. Mark’s subsequent studies with Yoder, followed by doctoral studies under Jim McClendon and Nancey Murphy, along with a co-editing friendship with Stanley Hauerwas deepened Mark’s commitment to the centrality of Jesus for ministries of peace and justice, and led to the integration of theology and ethics that infuse his teaching and writing.

Mark’s voracious reading in multiple disciplines is animated by his passion to help the church remain faithful to Christ. His current writing project with two former seminary students is focused on recapturing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s commitment to the centrality of Jesus Christ linked to faithful discipleship as the defining center of his life and work.

Mark’s teaching at the seminary draws on his experiences within several early “emergent/new monastic” Christian communities, his brief stint as a child protective services social worker, his six years as the founding director of an ecumenical peace and justice organization, his pastorates in several denominations, and his 5 ½ years as director of the London Mennonite Centre, in London, England. He is currently on the leadership team of a Mennonite church organically connected to Our Community Place, a center devoted to serving the “least among us” in Harrisonburg. His preaching and teaching in that community coupled with his attentiveness to the vast needs and challenges within our larger cultural contexts serve to ground his life and teaching in the transforming work of Christ in the world through the church.

Acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities in the world on John Howard Yoder, Mark’s interests are wide ranging. However, in a few words, his driving passion is to discern with others what it means to articulate afresh the holistic gospel of Jesus Christ for today or, in other words, to ask what it looks like to embody “the politics of Jesus” for our time.

Pastor
Andrea Saner
Assistant Professor

Through her research, Andrea strives to offer the church resources for reading the Old Testament in ways that take seriously trinitarian theological concerns without anachronistically imposing these concerns on the ancient text, and that honor Jewish readers and others who read the same texts well within their own interpretive traditions. Before coming to EMU in 2013, Andrea completed a Ph.D. in Old Testament at Durham University in England. Her dissertation, entitled “YHWH, the Trinity, and the Literal Sense: Theological interpretation of Exodus 3:13-15,” explores the relationship between translation and interpretive traditions in the Christian church, and between the name of God, the nature of God, and God’s acts.

Linford Stutzman
Director of Coffman Center

One of the most urgent needs for the church in the twenty-first century is a new generation of creative and courageous leaders with a clear vision of the kingdom of God and a commitment to representing the good news of Jesus in the world. After two decades of teaching culture, religion, and mission courses to undergraduates at EMU, leading numerous semester-long and summer cross-cultural study programs in the Middle East, and directing the John Coffman Center for Missional Leadership Development at EMS, Dr. Linford Stutzman now directs and teaches courses in the new Biblical Lands Educational Seminars and Service (BLESS) program at EMS that brings all of the above together. In cooperation with mission and service agencies, BLESS provides unique overseas study opportunities for young adults and others that connect the dynamic and dangerous first century “Romanized” world of Jesus and Paul with our dynamic and dangerous globalized twenty-first century world of the future.

Dr. Stutzman’s curiosity for the world and commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus began as a teen-ager in British Columbia where his parents were missionaries among Native Americans. Service in Israel, long-term mission assignments in Germany and Australia, a BA from EMU, and MAR from EMS, and a PhD in Religion and Culture from The Catholic University of America, provide the experiential and educational foundation for Dr. Stutzman’s passion for taking students into the world to learn from Jesus and his early followers.

Each summer since 2004, Dr. Stutzman and his wife Janet have been exploring the Roman Empire, Paul’s mission activity, and the book of Acts aboard their “research vessel” SailingActs, and leading study seminars on and around the Mediterranean Sea for seminary students and others.

Dorothy Jean Weaver
Professor of New Testament

To live life at the call of God is to encounter ongoing surprises, unexpected delights, and God’s robust sense of humor. Dorothy Jean Weaver always knew that she would grow up to be a teacher. But she could never have imagined the life she now lives.

Years ago Dorothy Jean discovered, unexpectedly, a deep passion for studying the New Testament and a life vocation of opening the Scriptures for and with others in the seminary classroom and beyond. This calling eventually drew Dorothy Jean into New Testament Studies at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, where she earned a PhD in 1987.

Since 1984 Dorothy Jean has been teaching New Testament at EMS. Her courses include Elementary Greek, New Testament: Text in Context, and book studies across the New Testament canon. She anchors inter-disciplinary courses, “Women and Men in Scripture and Church” and “Creation Care in Scripture and Church.” In the academic world she has served as Co-Chair of the Society of Biblical Literature Matthew Section; and she has published Matthew’s Missionary Discourse: A Literary Critical Analysis (Sheffield, 1990) and numerous Matthean essays.

But there were still more surprises. Following a sabbatical at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, across the valley from Bethlehem, Dorothy Jean discovered a sturdy new sense of vocation, namely to introduce North American Christians to Israel/Palestine through study tours and work groups. Since 1998 Dorothy Jean has co-led more than 10 such tours through EMS (“Places, People, & Prayers”) and Virginia Mennonite Missions (“Nazareth/Bethlehem Work Groups”). And Dorothy Jean has taught New Testament courses in Beirut, Lebanon, Bethlehem, Palestine, and Cairo, Egypt.

“It’s been the ride of a lifetime,” Dorothy Jean notes. “I could never have planned such a life on my own. The call of God is simply astonishing. And God’s sense of humor never ceases to amaze.”

Lonnie Yoder
Associate Dean and Prof-Pastoral Care/Counseling

The church and seminary face a dizzying array of challenges and opportunities as we live into the 21st century. Dr. Lonnie Yoder is passionate about preparing leaders who are responding to their unique callings in life. He especially enjoys mentoring and counseling younger leaders who are discovering ways to share their gifts with both church and society. As the associate dean of EMS, he strives to serve as a catalyst for faculty, staff, and students as they together fashion EMS’ ever-changing learning community. He is intrigued by the challenges of revisioning theological education, including the development of new delivery systems such as distance learning and hybrid courses.

Lonnie is excited about investing in the church in both its traditional and emergent forms. One practical expression of this commitment is his role as a consultant to over a dozen area congregations and pastors, four of which represent varying emergent forms of congregational life. He is also committed to cultivating a truly diverse church in which all of those who represent the rich diversity of our human community are given voice and place in Christian communities around the globe. Involvements in Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Colombia, and other locations have both inspired and challenged Lonnie. Finally, Lonnie is committed to a lifelong journey of discovering the ordinary, but powerful, ways in which we care for one another in the church and beyond. Of special interest is the various ways in which technology can serve us as we strengthen our care and our communities.

A native of rural southeast Iowa, Lonnie served as youth minister and assistant pastor in his home congregation, East Union Mennonite Church, for twelve years before engaging doctoral studies in Religion and Personality at the University of Iowa. Married to Teresa Boshart, a nurse administrator, and father to two young adult daughters, Lonnie enjoys family time, sports, genealogy, and gardening. A professor at Eastern Mennonite since 1991, in 2010 he assumed the role of associate dean at the seminary while continuing to teach in the areas of pastoral care/counseling and leadership.

Nate Yoder
Professor of Church History

Nate’s book Together in the Work of the Lord studies the Conservative Mennonite Conference as a case study in Mennonite-evangelical relations, particularly in the latter part of the twentieth century. Headquartered at Rosedale, Ohio, CMC has a long history of interacting selectively with the Mennonite Church. As Conservative Mennonites laid aside many of their cultural distinctives such as plain dress and as they became increasingly concerned about theological diversity among Mennonites more broadly, they identified themselves more closely with currents in popular American evangelicalism. The book resulting from this study is scheduled for release in July as a volume in the Series in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, published by Herald Press.

With experience as both a historian and a pastor, Nate Yoder poses for students the question of whether the past is a resource or a hindrance to contemporary believers. Is the church best served by being rooted in adherence to tradition or by being freed to chart new territory? Nate has a vested interest in not answering that either/or question as it is framed. Instead, he takes a both/and approach that engages the past as resource and challenge for the present and the future. His goal is to equip students to take ventures in scholarship and ministry with a view to how the church discerns faithfulness and experiences renewal. He welcomes opportunities to engage the diverse members of the student body in assessing critical developments such as fourth-century developments signaled by reference to Constantine/constantinianism – he has been known to observe that Anabaptist DNA tells Mennonites to boo-hiss upon hearing those terms and then to ask students why and what alternative reads sound like – or the twentieth-century emergence, withdrawal and re-emergence of fundamentalism – much of his scholarly output described below aims to bring more nuance to understanding fundamentalism’s impact.

Nate focused his dissertation on Mennonite fundamentalists, including the founders of the Eastern Mennonite School in 1917. One way that Nate describes this project’s contribution highlights grammatical construction. Previous scholarship portrayed fundamentalism as infiltrating Mennonitism, positioning the movement as subject and lamenting its influence as detrimental. In pursuing an interpretation with more nuance, Nate focused on specific Mennonite leaders, describing them as actors rather than objects – and therefore the subjects of the sentence – who had chosen to engage the broader fundamentalist movement. He sees his work on Mennonite fundamentalists as an effort to provide better understanding of a movement whose influence he is personally ambivalent about.

As EMU’s University Archivist, Nate is resourcing Donald Kraybill, author of the centennial history to be released in 2017.

Adjunct Faculty

Staff

Linda Alley
Administrative Assistant and Dir Summer Institute

Linda’s desk seems to be a magnet for those who need a listening ear. If she had her way, every person at the seminary would continue that benefit by intentionally meeting with a spiritual companion. For the past decade, while completing her Masters in Church Leadership at EMS (2008) and practicing the art of spiritual direction, Linda has honed her skills in listening for God’s voice speaking into the lives of individuals.

While her roles as an EMS employee are many, she is especially pleased to merge her ministry and work interests as Director of the Summer Institute for Spiritual Formation – a June training school for spiritual directors and church leaders who want to pay close attention to spiritual grounding for those they serve.

Whether coordinating seminary events, directing the Congregational Resource Center library, or job-sharing with Beverly Delp at the main seminary desk, Linda’s sense of being in the right place at the right time in her life is evident. On her own time she serves individuals and retreat groups as an ordained Church of the Brethren minister.

She and her husband, retired pastor Robert Alley, have three married children and five grandchildren. Her current interests include flower gardening, Celtic Christian prayers and songs, and afternoon teas.

Laura Amstutz
Assoc Dir of Admissions and Communication/Admissions

Laura Lehman Amstutz cares passionately about the church, the work of God in the world, and the people of God. Because of these passions she works in a wide variety of creative endeavors both for Eastern Mennonite Seminary and beyond.

At EMS she brings creativity into her marketing and admissions roles, helping to tell the stories of how EMS alumni and students are contributing to God’s work in the world. She is actively involved in the conversation about how the seminary trains people for ministry in diverse contexts. She also enjoys hearing prospective students’ stories of call and the way God is working to bring forth leaders for ministry. She and seminary alum Jeremy Yoder write and edit “Work and Hope: Finding Christ in the Church,” a blog for young adults to explore their connections to the institutional church.

Outside of EMS, she facilitates creative worship and leadership at The Table Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va. She is also a spiritual director, helping individuals deepen their own sense of God’s presence in their lives. She is also occasionally involved in denomination-wide committees. She and her husband own a furniture store in Harrisonburg, Va.

Beth Bergman
Registrar

Beth Bergman enjoys helping students and faculty organize course schedules. She likes helping students find their way through the registration process at EMS. Along with advisors, she walks students through their seminary career and helps them make choices about courses that fit their schedule and their academic goals. In addition to her work at EMS she is the mother of two active teenage boys. When she’s not at work or shuttling her boys to sports practice, she enjoys camping and biking together with her husband, Mark, and two boys.

Beverly Delp
Seminary Office Coordinator

Beverly is eager to tell folks she meets that she has the best job at the Seminary! She feels privileged to have the opportunity to interact with students, faculty, staff, and visitors on a daily basis. As Office Coordinator, Secretary to Seminary Admissions and the CPE program, her days are filled with lots of variety and detail.

In 2002, as she and her family were planning a move to VA, she prayed that God would lead her to the job He had in mind for her, and is grateful for His leading to the seminary community.

Prior to working at the seminary, Beverly held a variety of office jobs, including supporting and assisting her husband with an electrical contracting business.

She and her husband Laverne are the parents of three married children and the grandparents of three precious grandchildren!

Michael A King
Vice President & Seminary Dean

Growing up in Cuba and Mexico as son of missionary parents, Michael A. King experienced multiple cultures and faith understandings. He learned to cherish the Anabaptist-Mennonite commitment to faithfully follow Jesus while wondering what alternate convictions another tradition might have shaped in him. Immersion in Christian thought and life at a time his Mennonite community forbade watching TV even as he gulped down secular books and novels made him wonder what was real and true and good amid competing perspectives. He also wrestled with the gap between Christians’ talk and walk. As a result, into early adulthood King came to question the existence of God and the validity of Christianity even while craving the divine. Often feeling at the margins, unsure to which culture he fully belonged, bred in him compassion for others marginalized by life circumstances or unjust structures.

Although refined and chastened by life journeying, experience as pastor and publisher, academic training, and turning toward a faith in Christ enlarged by doubts and questions, lessons from King’s background continue to nurture his passions at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. There he is articulating such themes as "treasures of not being sure,” “transforming the shadows,” and “using power for the less powerful.”

King has long been an editor and publisher, first through Herald Press (Scottdale, PA, 1989-1997) and then more recently as owner and publisher, Cascadia Publishing House LLC (Telford, PA, 1997-). He has been pastor in congregational settings ranging from Germantown Mennonite Church (Philadelphia, PA, 1982-1989), Spring Mount (PA) Mennonite Church (1997-2008), and more.

King is married to Joan Kenerson King, of Olean, NY, a family therapist with offices in Devon and Telford, PA; and an advanced practice nurse who consults with public behavioral health systems. They are parents of three adult daughters.

Joanna Swartley
Dean Admin Asst

“You guys don’t realize what you’ve got here,” said a student who was only on campus one semester and who received most of her seminary training in another location. When asked to elaborate, she said that the feel of community on this campus is different than she experienced anywhere else. She was pleasantly surprised that seminary faculty, staff and students alike are encouraged to attend and participate regularly in chapel, community lunches, meetings, etc.

These comments helped clarify what Joanna already knows and experiences. As Administrative Assistant to the Seminary Dean, she coordinates an amazing office staff with varied gifts and abilities who exemplify servant leadership at its best. Comments such as “that’s not my job,” or “that’s beneath my abilities,” are not heard in the administrative suite. When there is a project to be completed, the staff works together to accomplish what they feel is best for the seminary community.

Prior to working at EMS, Joanna taught computer, accounting and keyboarding classes at Eastern Mennonite High School (EMHS) for five years and an additional 13 years at Massanutten Technical Center and EMU. For eight years she was the bookkeeper at Rockingham Eye Physicians. In 1999 she began as the Assistant for Seminary Development at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and in 2001 became the Administrative Assistant to the Seminary Dean.

She and her husband Duane are the parents of three adult children and grandparents of four.

Mark Wenger
Dir of Pastoral Studies, Lanc

Before picking up his current director responsibilities, Mark pastored for more than eighteen years in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Now he combines administrative and teaching responsibilities for the STEP Program (Study and Training for Effective Pastoral Ministry), and for Master of Divinity level seminary courses in southeastern Pennsylvania. His research and writing interests are in the areas of preaching and worship, particularly rites and ministries of healing. He and his wife Kathy attend Groffdale Mennonite Church; they have two young adult daughters Regina and Charlotte. He likes to sing, to talk politics and theology and do fix-up projects around the home. He writes a bi-monthly “Matters of Faith” column for the Lancaster (Pa.) Sunday News.

Back to list