Alumni in conversation
Join other alumni for once-a-month online conversations with AMBS teaching and administrative faculty members. Janeen Bertsche Johnson, M.Div., Alumni Director, will interview a selected member of the AMBS learning community for 35 minutes, followed by a short time of open conversation.
These sessions will be held via videoconference from 12 to 1 p.m. ET on the third Thursday of each month. The virtual events are only open to AMBS alumni at this time. Registration is required.
Third Thursday past recorded events
Leah R. Thomas, Ph.D., blends an academic focus on pastoral care and Christian social ethics with professional experience in hospital chaplaincy, pastoring and nonprofit management.
Her ministry and theological commitments inform her teaching and research, which carefully attends to and incorporates voices excluded by the dominant culture, asking how these voices inform and shift caregiving. Leah’s research interests include anti-racist and intercultural pastoral care, trauma, culture, and the role of embodiment in caregiving and Christian spiritual practices.
Her desire to teach at AMBS is rooted in a commitment to peace, justice and anti-racism in a world that is reeling from disparity, injustice and divisiveness.
Beverly Lapp, EdD, brings more than two decades of experience in academic affairs, teacher development, curriculum design and intercultural exchange to her work in the Dean’s Office at AMBS.
She is an active church music practitioner with a deep interest in the relationship between music and theology and in the spiritual power of congregational song.
She previously served on the Goshen (Indiana) College music faculty for 23 years, where she chaired the Music Department, directed the Core Curriculum and led four Study-Service Term semesters in China, Peru and the Dominican Republic. A collaborative team leader, Beverly has a robust background in faculty and student recruitment, strategic planning and educational assessment.
Jamie Pitts, Ph.D., seeks to join the Spirit's work of bringing healing, justice, and joy in and through the church to all of creation.
He does this in part through teaching and research on global Anabaptist-Mennonite theology and history, and participation in local congregational life and community organizing. His current research interests include theological method, pneumatology, baptism, gender and sexuality, and postcolonial mission.
Janna Hunter-Bowman, Ph.D., brings experience as a peace and justice worker in a variety of settings to her academic study and teaching roles.
She has worked with Witness for Peace in organization and advocacy, and with Justapaz in Colombia in the areas of documentation, education, and advocacy
Immediately after earning a Master of Arts: Peace Studies at AMBS, she entered a Ph.D. program at the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame. There she was the first student to combine the disciplines of theology and peace studies into a single program, an endeavor that found expression in her dissertation, which examined the agency of victims of violence in Colombia’s war zones.
Susannah M. Larry, Ph.D., came to know Mennonites while volunteering at Jubilee Partners — a Christian service community in Georgia — where she gained appreciation for Anabaptist commitments to justice and reconciliation and where her interest in becoming a biblical scholar was sparked.
She joined the AMBS faculty in 2020, having taught courses at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Sewanee School of Theology on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Biblical Hebrew, Confronting Sexualized Violence in the Bible, and Feminist Theology and Biblical Interpretation. She brings to her role a contagious passion for the Hebrew Bible and a commitment to Christ’s church.
At AMBS, she sees herself living into a ministry of teaching and scholarship that uplifts marginalized voices and empowers students with the knowledge and tools to reclaim the Bible as a life-giving Word in their diverse ministry contexts.
David Boshart, Ph.D., brings a variety of administrative and leadership experiences to his role as AMBS’s fourth President, which he began in January 2020.
Prior to coming to AMBS, he served as Executive Conference Minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA (2010–19). As part of this role, he was responsible for supporting emerging congregations and staffing a partnership with Mennonite Mission Network and Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (Colombia Mennonite Church) in support of Anabaptist networks in Ecuador and Venezuela. David pastored for more than 25 years in congregations in Iowa and Virginia.
His teaching experience includes serving as Appointed Associate Professor at the Andrews University School of Education (2009–present) and as an Adjunct Faculty member at AMBS (2014–15) and Eastern Mennonite University (2010–15). He has served on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board (2007–19), including as moderator (2017–19), and also was a member of the AMBS Board (1999–2007), serving as chair from 2003 to 2005.
Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, M.A.T.S., brings several practical, administrative and intellectual gifts to each of her roles at AMBS.
As a member of the Marketing and Communications Team, she is the Graphic Designer and Website Specialist and is responsible for designing publicity materials and managing the seminary's online presence. As Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism (ICUR) coordinator, she leads a team of teaching faculty, administrators and students in the ongoing work of AMBS’s strategic priority of undoing racism and building intercultural competence throughout the institution. As an independent scholar focused on issues of human and other animal oppression, she writes and speaks extensively in the areas of Christian theology and ethics, critical animal studies and related issues.
Drew Strait, Ph.D., brings a contagious enthusiasm for the world of the earliest Christians to his work as a theological animator of Scripture, seeking to connect the dots between early Christians’ radical discipleship and the ways contemporary assemblies of Jesus followers can embody God’s future just world now.
He is passionate about becoming the gospel in community as practitioners and agents of hope and new creation among those exploited by the fallen powers of this world. Drew’s passion for the church’s potential to lift up the brokenhearted has led him to various ministry venues, including mission work with Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic, an interim pastor role at Living Water Community Church in Chicago (Mennonite Church USA) and, most recently, serving as an elder at Peace Fellowship in Washington, D.C.
He came to AMBS in 2018 after teaching New Testament for five years at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.