Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS)

Who are we?

We are a community of elders with an Anabaptist perspective. We enjoy bringing experience and diversity to bear on problems at the nexus of university, church, and society at large. Many of us are retired or senior EMU faculty. While most of us have financial independence from EMU, ACRS is structurally part of EMU, which gives us standing, responsibility and identity.

We believe the Anabaptist movement and academia need each other and have much to teach each other. We believe that engagement of diverse points of view is fundamental to both.

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

How to participate in ACRS events and programs