How do Anabaptists do mission in a world with an “occupy” mentality?
Young Anabaptist scholars will gather at Eastern Mennonite Seminary (EMS) April 13-14 to discuss this at a conference titled, “#Occupy Empire: Anabaptism in God’s mission.”
Brian Gumm and Aaron Kauffman, both in their final year at EMS, are organizing the conference.
“We hope to create some bridges between older and younger scholars, the church and the academy and those interested in evangelical witness and rigorous social engagement,” Kauffman said.
Emerging scholars featured
The conference will feature Isaac Villegas, Chris Haw, Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, and Janna Hunter-Bowman as primary presenters. Respondents will be Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) faculty, including Peter Dula, chair of Bible and religion department; Mark Thiessen Nation, professor of theology at EMS; and Carl Stauffer, assistant professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU.
Kauffman and Gumm wanted to play on and challenge the “occupy” language made popular in the last year by protesters around the country.
“We wanted to reinterpret that word,” said Gumm. “We were thinking about it theologically as part of the incarnation. How can we faithfully inhabit the empire as Christians?”
“We also wanted to turn it [occupy] on its head,” Kauffman added. “We are asking how God’s kingdom occupies us.”
Conference part of MDiv capstone project
Gumm and Kauffman planned this conference as part of their senior capstone project at EMS. Both are master of divinity students in the academic track. Gumm is a dual degree student with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU.
“Planning this conference is part of our continued discernment about the ministerial vocation of education,” said Gumm. “We thought an academic conference like this could help us continue to tease out this call.”
The conference is sponsored by the Anabaptist Missional Project and the John Coffman Center at EMS. Online registration is available at www.anabaptistmissionalproject.org. Registration will remain open until the conference is full. Cost of the conference is $15 for students and $25 for non-students.
Gumm and Kauffman received a grant from the Orie Miller Global Village Center at EMU to support the conference.