Print Header Logo

Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS)

Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS)

Our Mission

The Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS) is a community of elders, with an Anabaptist perspective, to which members bring their rich life experiences and diversity to bear on problems at the nexus of university, church and society at large, through open explorations, meetings, conferences, publications and website resources. ACRS is structurally a part of EMU, which provides standing, responsibility and identity. The continuing Anabaptist movement needs critical thinking and diverse points of view. ACRS seeks to be a resource to enhance teaching, research, scholarship and student learning. (The Steering Committee, May 14, 2014.)

The Steering Committee

Lee M. Yoder, Chair (2019)
Vernon E. Jantzi, Vice Chair and Director (2018)
John Fairfield, Recording Secretary (2018)
Richard A. Yoder, Treasurer (2019)
Margaret Foth (2019)
Roman J. Miller (2019)
Nancy V. Lee (2018)
Ray C. Gingerich, Founding Director
Calvin W. Redekop, Founding Chair

The Steering Committee meets the second Thursday of the month, 10:00-12:00 AM in the Seminary Room 103 at EMU, with two exceptions on September 7 and October 5. Beginning and ending of mutually renewable terms of service for Steering Committee members is on September 1, according to actions taken by the Steering Committee at its Annual Meeting in May.

2017-2018 Steering Committee Meeting dates: Sept. 7; Oct 5; Nov. 9; Dec. 14, Jan. 11; Feb. 8; Mar. 8; Apr.12; Monday, May 14— Annual General Meeting (AGM) 7:30—10:30 am (Agenda and location to follow). Burton Buller Films Reports on November 9, March 8 and May 14.

Questions that drive us

As Anabaptists, we explore the relation between religion and society including changes at EMU, its community, and their relationship.

  • How do we engage in interfaith dialogue?
  • How does Anabaptism enhance our understanding of and engagement with pluralism? Can pluralism be a positive enforcer of our Anabaptist claims?
  • How should our church institutions relate to prophetic voices and change?
  • What insights and contributions can we offer in making church organizations and institutions more Anabaptist—more faithful to the way of Jesus?
  • How do we hold to some elements of our faith while letting go of others?
  • What do we learn from the life stories of church and community leaders?
  • How can we be more environmentally responsible to God’s creation?

What do we do?

  • interact and move forward with difficult and conflictive theological and social issues, overcoming polarization and avoidance
  • share “Monday Morning Stories,” transmitting the heritage to the next generation through the autobiographies of servants, leaders and heroes
  • hold forums on current issues of the church, university and community
  • sponsor conferences of interest to the Anabaptist constituency
  • dialogue in cyber space on selected core questions
  • critique and encourage writing/research by members
  • mentor scholars, and facilitate research, writing, and publication
  • facilitate the work of visiting scholars at EMU, especially Anabaptist research by post-professional or post-doctoral people
  • bridge the gaps between academia and community
  • serve as a think-tank for EMU administration and faculty
  • provide a social and institutional identity—a point of gathering for community and fellowship—for academic colleagues after leaving the classroom at EMU or one of its neighboring academic institutions

Contact Us

Call our office at (540) 432-4465 located upstairs in the Brunk House on the campus of EMU. Contact Vernon Jantzi, ACRS Director, at and get on our mailing list.