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Celebrating accomplishments and developments

Mary E. Klassen

April 29, 2013

Andy Brubacher Kaethler and Safwat Marzouk high-five each other as the seminary community celebrates their accomplishment of completing Ph.D. degrees.

Andy Brubacher Kaethler and Safwat Marzouk high-five each other as the seminary community celebrates their accomplishment of completing Ph.D. degrees.

This year, AMBS has had so much to celebrate that we finally threw a party. Friday, April 26, we celebrated with the board of directors a long list of accomplishments in just one year:

New name: We became Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary on August 28, 2012.

New Master of Divinity: ATS, one of our two accrediting agencies, approved a new 80-credit-hour MDiv, including a distance option for those who cannot move to campus. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association made a campus visit in March to scrutinize the new degree and now we are waiting for their approval so we can begin taking applications.

Department of Education review: We hosted two representatives from the Department of Education who did a review of our handling of Title IV student loans. Jody Walker, director of financial aid “rose to the challenge with tremendous expertise, aplomb and good will,” Sara Wenger Shenk reported. Scott Janzen, registrar, also contributed to the successful review. No major issues were uncovered, and we will update some policies as a result of the review.

United Methodist approval: AMBS is again included in the list of seminaries approved for educating United Methodists who seek ordination. Sara Wenger Shenk reported that she has heard from someone involved in the University Senate for ten years that this person is not aware of any other school that has been added to the list after having been taken off.

Anabaptist Short Courses—online, non-degree courses—were launched by the Church Leadership Center earlier in 2013. The first two had more people wanting to participate than we could accommodate. Thanks to Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, associate dean for leadership education, the Center's staff, and the two professors, Lois Barrett and Loren Johns, for this successful launch of a new format for sharing AMBS resources.

Four professors completed doctoral studies within one year and one day—likely a record for AMBS, Rebecca Slough, academic dean, said.

  • Safwat Marzouk defended his dissertation on April 15, 2012, to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton: “Not a lion, but a dragon,” The monstrification of Egypt in the book of Ezekiel
  • Allan Rudy-Froese defended his dissertation to earn a Ph.D. from Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology: God’s Grace and Christian Ethics in the Preached Sermon: Bringing Lutheran Proclamation of God’s Grace Together with Anabaptist-Mennonite Ethical Teaching
  • Rachel Miller Jacobs defended her dissertation to earn a D.Min. from McCormick: With All Our Strength: Reading the Bible with Heart, Mind, and Soul
  • Andy Brubacher Kaethler defended his dissertation on April 16, 2013, to earn a Ph.D. from Garrett-Evangelical: The Unruliness of Language: Language, Methodology and Epistemology in the Thought of John Howard Yoder

Ashlee Pierson, Rebecca SloughNineteen graduates: We anticipate that 19 students will graduate on May 25. Several were present at the celebration to share their plans. Doug Unrau said, “Thanks for taking this old lump of coal and squeezing me hard and making me into a diamond”; he will become pastor of the Mennonite Church in Lowe Farm, Man. Ashlee Pierson is evaluating several possibilities after earning an MDiv from AMBS and an MSW from Andrews University in the dual-degree program. Caleb Yoder will serve in Ecuador with Mennonite Mission Network, teaching and providing support to a Mennonite church.

Giving challenges giving: Missy Kauffman Schrock, director of development, reported that earlier this year, 100% of the board members contributed to AMBS. Then at Christmas time, the female staff of AMBS decided to give their annual Christmas gift to AMBS and they challenged faculty and staff to give. By last week, 100% of faculty and staff reached that goal, so the challenge went back to the board. Bruce Baergen, chair of the board, reported that at their meetings last week, board members gave another $5,050 to AMBS. “Together we continue to work at enabling this place to do God’s work,” he said.

Reappointments: Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, associated dean for leadership education, and Rebecca Slough, academic dean, were reappointed to new three-year terms.

Work in Profress

Work in Progress, a singing group made of up staff of the Mennonite offices, provided music for the celebration. Performers on Friday included occasional student Ann Jacobs, graduates Sandy Miller and Jamie Ross, volunteer Osee Tshiwape, and Lefuarn Harvey, Brenda Hess and Steve Hostetler Shirk.