Eastern Mennonite Seminary (EMS) and the African American Mennonite Association (AAMA) have teamed up to provide scholarships for Black ministry leaders interested in completing EMS’ new graduate certificate in faith-based peacebuilding, beginning this fall. AAMA, a recognized racial ethnic group of Mennonite Church USA, is providing support through a matching grant.
“AAMA is elated to partner with EMS to provide scholarships for Black ministry leaders,” said Bishop Leslie Francisco, III, president of AAMA. “The need for trained and informed leaders in our communities is imperative, particularly in these perilous times. Our hope is that this partnership will equip our leaders to be proactive and relevant in their ministry assignments. I would strongly encourage all of our ministry leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen our witness as a peace church in our communities,” he said.
The graduate certificate in faith-based peacebuilding is an 18-credit program that blends skills and practices for leading communities in times of conflict, with reflection on the theological commitments that are embodied in these practices. The certificate is designed for faith community leaders who want to respond to social conflicts more effectively as they arise in their communities and those who seek faith-informed social engagement in the complex justice issues of their communities. Registrants must have completed a bachelor’s degree. The fall term starts Aug. 30.
“Eastern Mennonite Seminary has been hearing an urgent call from Mennonite pastors who want more skills in conflict transformation,” said The Rev. Dr. Sarah Ann Bixler, associate dean of EMS. “This partnership with AAMA is a special effort to offer access to this program for African American Mennonite leaders, who are in key positions to effect transformation in their communities and beyond,” Bixler said, adding that she believes the time is ripe for this certificate program as Mennonite congregations experience conflict that stems from racial injustice, inequities in communities and increased polarization. The certificate includes course options in racial healing, American constructs of race, biblical studies of peace and justice, restorative practices and responding to communal trauma.
The new AAMA-EMS scholarship program will provide financial assistance to cover up to 100% of tuition, which costs $525 per credit hour plus course registration fees. AAMA and EMS will award generous scholarships to AAMA ministry leaders in the U.S. based on their ministry experience/potential, academic merit and financial need.
“Applicants do not necessarily have to rank highly in all three of these areas to receive a scholarship, but these factor into the scholarship awarding decision,” said Bixler. “AAMA ministry leaders with a solid academic transcript and strong recommendations for the faith-based peacebuilding program are excellent scholarship candidates,” she added.
The deadline for scholarship applications for the fall semester is August 26. Interested candidates should register for the program here, using the EMS degree-seeking application. Scholarships will be awarded jointly by EMS and AAMA and will remain available for future terms starting in January 2023 and beyond.
“I am thankful for the ongoing work of Eastern Mennonite University and Dr. Sarah Bixler and their commitment to inclusive leadership,” said Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA. “This certificate goes along with our denominational focus on Anabaptist peacemaking.”
Eastern Mennonite Seminary is the graduate theological division of Eastern Mennonite University, an accredited Christian liberal arts university in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The African American Mennonite Association is a ministry of the MC USA, which serves as a voice of advocacy and works to equip and link African Americans as well as African American-integrated congregations within MC USA.
MC USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 550 congregations and 59,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 59 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org