Five new members have been elected to the 12-member steering committee of the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society.
The center, hosted by Eastern Mennonite University, is a group of community elders who bring critical thinking and a prophetic voice to the engagement with local and world issues. The committee peers through the lens of Anabaptism in being a catalyst to provide leadership in practical ways while pursuing responsibility and justice for the common good, according to its mission statement.
Lee M. Yoder, former EMU vice president and professor of education, chairs the committee.
The five new members taking office in September are:
Dr. Nancy R. Heisey, Harrisonburg, is associate dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary and professor of Biblical studies and church history.
She served as undergraduate dean at EMU and president of Mennonite World Conference and has extensive international experiences with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) of Akron, Pennsylvania in Burkina Faso, Zaire, and in the MCC home office as associate executive secretary.
Heisey holds a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Messiah College and graduate degrees from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Temple University, with a doctoral degree in religion from Temple University.
Pat Hostetter Martin, Harrisonburg, is a chaplain at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg. She served previously as director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; with Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pennsylvania, for over 15 years in the Philippines and Vietnam in East Asia as a community development leader.
She was also a founding board member for more than 10 years for Crossing Creeks, a residential, therapeutic community for people with long-term mental illness in New Market, Virginia.
Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Goshen College; and graduate degrees in clinical pastoral education and a master’s in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University. She has completed all course work to become consecrated as a Gestalt Pastoral Care minister.
Harold F. Miller, after nearly 50 years in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, returned to Harrisonburg with his wife Annetta in the summer of 2018. A native of Canton, Ohio, Miller served in the Pax Program in Germany in the 1950s, building houses for European Mennonite refugees with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Akron, Pennsylvania. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Mennonite University and master’s degree in international affairs from Pittsburgh University.
After teaching history and civics at Eastern Mennonite High School, Miller worked with Eastern Mennonite Missions at the Christian Council of Tanzania as secretary for relief and service. He was logistics officer for the Sudan Council of Churches in Khartoum, Sudan and then served as secretary for rural development for the National Council of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya. For six years, Miller was East Africa representative for MCC. He was appointed by MCC to administer the “Horn of Africa Project” ensconced within Conrad Grebel College, Ontario, Canada. For 10 years, Miller was the consultant in the Department of International Affairs to the All Africa Conference of Churches based in Nairobi, Kenya. He then served six years as MCC representative to Sudan, from Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2005, he and his wife were retirees in Nairobi, Kenya.
Susan Weaver Godshall, Harrisonburg, has been an educator and administrator. She taught Spanish at Eastern High School in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. After living in Puerto Rico two
years, she taught Spanish part-time at Kraybill Mennonite Middle School and adult ESL classes in Pennsylvania. She also served in Tanzania with Eastern Mennonite Missions, teaching English and assisting with administrative work.
Other positions include chaplain at Philhaven, Mt. Gretna, Pennsylania; Africa Director for Eastern Mennonite Missions; Personnel Administrator at Mennonite Central Committee; and Minister of Christian Education at the Mt. Joy (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Church. She served on the board of directors of Landis Homes Retirement Community, Lititz, Pennsylvania; chair of the Eastern Mennonite University Board of Trustees for six years; and for nine years as board member of the Lancaster Victim Offender Reconciliation Program.
Godshall earned a BA in modern languages and secondary education from Eastern Mennonite University. She completed courses at Lancaster Theological Seminary and in clinical pastoral education at Philhaven, Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, and Lancaster General Hospital.
Dr. Richard L. Bowman, Harrisonburg, was professor of physics and director of academic computing, A. Leroy and Wanda H. Baker Chair in Science, at Bridgewater College. He also taught at Elizabethtown College; Bethel College; Belize City, Central America and Lezha Academic Center in Albania. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University; a master’s in physics from Kent State (Ohio) University and doctoral degree in biophysics and biochemistry from Oregon State University.
Bowman served as member of Brethren Colleges Abroad in Kochi, India; Director of Resource Network for Middle School Science Teachers; received the Martha B. Thorton Faculty Recognition Award (April 1999) from Bridgewater College recognizing “talented teaching, dedicated service, and concern for students.” He has been an Overseer and Pastor of Virginia Mennonite Churches, in the Middle District and at Mount Clinton and Zion Hill Churches; served on the Virginia Mennonite Conference Faith and Life Commission and Personnel Committee, and as a member and chair of the Virginia Mennonite Board of Missions.
Continuing members of the ACRS Steering Committee are Lee M. Yoder, chair; Vernon E. Jantzi, vice chair and director; John Fairfield, secretary; Richard A. (Rick) Yoder, treasurer; Calvin W. Redekop, founding chair; Margaret Jantzi Foth, and Roman J. Miller.
Since its founding in 2002, ACRS has pursued numerous projects including:
- Publication of four volumes of Memoirs, The Geography of our Faith, Brethren and Mennonite stories integrating faith, life and the world of thought, Cascadia Publishing House. (on sale at Amazon.com). Read more here and here.
- Publication of the biography of Orie O. Miller, My Calling to Fulfill, by John E. Sharp (Herald Press, 2015) in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pennsylvania.
- Co-Sponsored with Eastern Mennonite University a 2016 leadership conference, “Leading into the Common Good: An Anabaptist Perspective”.
- Established the Orie O. Miller Hall of Nations in EMU’s University Commons building.
- Launched and funded the research stage for “Being Mennonite in America,” a documentary film by Buller Films, exceeding the $100,000 research goal, and now entering the production stage with Burton Buller.
- Monthly ACRS meetings on the second Monday, 7:30 a.m., at EMU on varied topics of faith and life issues in our community and world.
- Anabaptist Community Forums on a variety of topics and current issues.
- Promoting a “China Learning Tour,” Oct. 5-26, 2019, led by Myrrl E. Byler, with Mennonite Partners in China.
“ACRS continues to draw on the wisdom and energy of the past,” says Vernon E. Jantzi, ACRS director, “to promote innovative faithfulness for the present and future. ACRS wants to be a reflective creative force in a Jesus-centered community committed to help build a more just and peaceful society and world.”