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Two seminary alumni recognized for ministries of peace

Mary E. Klassen

September 5, 2013

Kathy Bergen and Marty Troyer

Kathy Bergen and Marty Troyer

Kathy Bergen, recently of Ramallah in Israel-Palestine, and Marty Troyer, pastor in Houston, Texas, share a breadth of ministries related to peace as Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary honors them with this year’s Alumni Ministry and Service Recognition.

The two graduates will be honored in October as they each visit AMBS to share stories of their ministries and what sustains them for the work they do. Bergen will speak on October 10 and Troyer on October 31.

Bergen’s 30 years of ministry has been in and for Israel-Palestine. Just after she graduated from AMBS in 1982 with a Master of Divinity, she went with Millard Lind, then professor of Old Testament, and other students to Jerusalem for a semester. While there, she accepted an assignment with Mennonite Central Committee that involved her for eight years in local Palestinian Christian and Muslim communities and the Israeli peace movement.

Then Bergen moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and directed the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine. From 1991 to 2006, she was based in Philadelphia, Pa., working as national coordinator of the Middle East Program of the Peacebuilding Unit for the American Friends Service Committee. From 2006 until this summer, Bergen worked with the Friends International Center in Ramallah to develop a program with the Ramallah Friends Meeting. She has written and published many articles and contributed to several books. She is coauthor, with Dr. David Neuhaus, of the book, Justice and the Intifada (Friendship Press 1991).

Troyer has been pastor of the Houston (Texas) Mennonite Church: The Church of the Sermon on the Mount since he earned a Master of Divinity in 2008. His ministries of peace-building and writing began already when he was a student at Wheaton College and continued when he served in two congregations: Lebanon (Ore.) Mennonite Church and Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church.

At Houston Mennonite Church, Troyer is involved in a local missional faith formation community called FaithWalking, and he is now a trained group facilitator. He also carries on a writing ministry, including the launch two years ago of “The Peace Pastor” blog for The Houston Chronicle (blog.chron.com/thepeacepastor/). However, Troyer emphasizes, the story is not in what is written or the number of readers (one post garnered 17,000), but in the face-to-face relationships the blog has fostered. He explains that these are relationships are multi-faith and ecumenical, connecting evangelical Christians with justice-groups.

Troyer works closely with the Fe y Justicia Center, addressing issues of wage theft and labor rights, and with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He also is on the board of Healing the Brokenness, a lecture-based program seeking to bring local practitioners together to enhance a shared vision for overcoming racial, economic and systemic brokenness in the community.

Troyer and Hannah, his wife, have three children.

AMBS recognizes one or two graduates each year for effective and visionary leadership; commitment to bringing Anabaptist theology into conversation with the wider church; and mission that integrates evangelism, peacemaking and justice.