ACRS book series finale features stories of the often surprising results of service

The fourth and final volume in the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society (ACRS) series The Geography of Our Faith will be released during the October 13-15 Centennial Homecoming and Family Weekend at Eastern Mennonite University.

Authors and editors will be present at a celebration and book-signing from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, at Martin Chapel in the seminary building. The book will also be available at the EMU Bookstore and from Cascadia Publishing House.

 Making a Difference in the Journey features 15 Mennonite and Church of the Brethren writers who tell their stories “with candor” and “a good dose of self-effacement and humility, providing a delightful read and giving hope for the future,” writes Richard L. Benner in the book’s introduction.

The 15 authors, many of whom are alumni of EMU and/or Eastern Mennonite Seminary, include Robert Earl Alley, Martin Lehman, Fred W. Swartz, Beryl H. Brubaker, Joe Lapp, W. Robert McFadden, Lee M. Yoder, Doug Hostetter, Paul Swarr, Rick Yoder, Dick L. Benner, Larry Hoover, Allon H. Lefever, Peggy B. Shenk and Shirley H. Showalter.

“These are leaders whose different ways of serving enriched and, indeed, saved the lives of many,” said Nancy V. Lee, the managing editor. “Like the earlier volumes, this volume is a historical EMU treasure, providing, as it does, the memoirs of men and women, many related to EMU through their tumultuous years as students, professors, administrators, pastors, writers and overseas directors.”

In addition to Benner’s introduction, the book includes an editor’s preface by Lee, the series editor’s preface by Ray C. Gingerich, a foreword by Lee F. Snyder, and an appendix by Vernon Jantzi.

Making a Difference in the Journey describes “the series of events — often awakenings — that led [the storytellers] to high positions of responsibility and resulting actions,” said Lee.

In her foreword, Snyder writes that each contributed story includes “all the elements of a good read: suspense, outrageous encounters, and examples of courage and uncommon grace. What moves me about these stories is a sustained sense of awe in life’s unfolding surprises…. This is wisdom literature, offerings by sages, creative thinkers, professionals in the trenches, individuals called to second and third careers.” Snyder is president emeritus of Bluffton University and has held numerous roles including an interim presidency at EMU.

The book series developed as ACRS members began telling each other their stories at the group’s monthly meetings, according to series editor Ray C. Gingerich, professor emeritus of theology and ethics and founding director of ACRS.

“We said, ‘We’ve got to write this stuff up,’” Gingerich said. “That gave birth to the first two volumes. It was never intended to become the flagship of ACRS, but it has become our most prominent identity.”

ACRS is “a community of elders with an Anabaptist perspective” that meets monthly during the academic year, according to their website.

Learn more about the series

The Geography of Our Faith series includes three previous volumes,: Making Sense of the Journey, Continuing the Journey, and Re-Envisioning Service.

Discussion on “ACRS book series finale features stories of the often surprising results of service

  1. According to Vernon Jantzi, the books may be available in the bookstore, but in limited quantities since unsold copies can’t be returned. However, all four volumes in the series will be on sale by ACRS at registration on Friday and Saturday in the Campus Center, at the launch of Volume 4 at the Jubilee Luncheon on Friday and at the ACRS Sunday lunch in the West Dining Room (open to all).

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