Eastern Mennonite Seminary welcomes two new faculty members for the 2019-20 academic year. The following appointments are announced by Fred Kniss, provost; Sue Cockley, dean of the School of Theology and the Humanities; and Nancy Heisey, associate dean of the seminary.
Sarah Ann Bixler will join the seminary as an instructor. She is completing her PhD in practical theology with an emphasis on Christian education and formation at Princeton Theological Seminary, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2021.
At the seminary, where she also earned a Master of Divinity degree, she has worked in administrative roles with Princeton’s Center for Church Planting and Revitalization and Iron Sharpening Iron: Leadership Education for Women Clergy project.
Bixler earned her BA in English (secondary education) at EMU. After graduation, she taught at Eastern Mennonite School from 2002-07 and served as a youth minister at Zion Mennonite Church from 2001-2009. She has also been a curriculum writer with Brethren Press and served Virginia Mennonite Conference as an interim youth minister (2006-07) and as a conference coordinator (2011-13).
“Sarah has served as part of the ‘Journey Forward’ team of Mennonite Church USA for the past two years,” Heisey said. “We’re thrilled to have this denominational leader and scholar bringing her gifts into our community.”
Academic areas of interest include Christian education and formation, youth and young adult ministry, missional theology and innovation, Anabaptist theology and ecclesiology, organizational leadership and attachment theory.
Penny Driediger will be assistant professor of clinical pastoral education (CPE). She has taught CPE and ministry formation, and has directed mentored ministry at EMS since 2008.
Driediger has a BA in social work from EMU and an MDiv from Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a concentration in pastoral care. She is ordained for ministry with Virginia Mennonite Conference and most recently received supervisor status through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.
“Penny’s deep roots in chaplaincy and urban ministry offer rich wisdom to seminarians who are deepening their own practice in these areas,” said Heisey.