A group of people with a passion for teaching preachers in the Anabaptist tradition met Jan. 22-23, 2004, at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
The meeting, called by EMS dean Ervin R. Stutzman and June Alliman Yoder, professor of preaching at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, explored common professional interests in the teaching of homiletics.
“This seemed the right time to hold this meeting,” said Dr. Stutzman. “The 2004 School for Leadership Training held Jan. 19-22 at EMS focused on strengthing preaching and a new book, ‘Anabaptist Preaching: A Conversation Between Pulpit, Pew, and Bible,’ edited by David B. Greiser and Michael A. King is being released.”
(Standing, l. to r.): John R. Martin, Allan Rudy Froese, John H. Neufeld,
The dean said that along with the encouragement that comes from collegial interaction, “we discussed curriculum, grading, student feedback and brainstormed ways to equip preachers beyond the seminary classroom.”
The group explored the possible formation of a gathering for Anabaptist teachers of preaching and decided to continue meeting on a regular basis, likely once a year in conjunction with other larger gatherings.
“The overarching purpose for formation of such a group is to raise the level of preaching across churches in the Anabaptist tradition,” Stutzman said. “We believe that, over time, this group can make a significant contribution to that end.
“Our vision is to expand our services to equip persons in district conferences or other settings so they can provide preachers in their respective areas with practical instruction or feedback on sermons,” he added.
“This group will not attempt to replace our membership in professional societies on homiletics,” Stutzman noted. “Rather, it would serve as a pedagogical supplement. There are few places where teachers can ‘talk shop’ about classroom practice.”