AMBS Response to Victims of John H. Yoder Abuse

Teaching and scholarship related to John Howard Yoder

This statement by the AMBS faculty reports on shared agreements that will guide how AMBS faculty teach, critique, interpret and use Yoder’s work with integrity, recognizing the significance of his theological work and the wrongfulness of his actions. Read the statement (PDF).

Background on John Howard Yoder’s sexual violations

Rachel Waltner Goossen carefully researched John Howard Yoder’s sexual violations during the time he was a faculty member of AMBS and AMBS’s institutional response, then summarized her findings for publication (see “‘Defanging the Beast’: Mennonite Responses to John Howard Yoder’s Sexual Abuse” in Mennonite Quarterly Review, January 2015). Excerpts of her work have been published by several Mennonite publications, including The Mennonite, 1.2.2015, “Failure to Bind and Loose: Responses to Yoder’s Sexual Abuse.”

Waltner Goossen’s work was requested by a discernment committee comprising Ervin Stutzman, Sara Wenger Shenk, Chuck Neufeld, Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Ted Koontz and Linda Gehman Peachey, with Carolyn Holderread Heggen serving as an advisor.

Reunion, Listening, Confessing (March 21-22, 2015)

On March 21–22, 2015, AMBS invited all former students, employees and board members, along with friends and family chosen by women who John Howard Yoder violated, to join the current seminary community for Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon events. There was also a Sunday morning gathering with a more limited invitation.

March 21, 2015: Alumni reunion dinner, opportunity to meet current faculty and Sara Wenger Shenk, then AMBS president.

March 22, 2015: Services to acknowledge the experiences of women who were sexually violated by John Howard Yoder while at AMBS and for former and current AMBS leaders to apologize and join in shared lament, confession and commitment.

Collection of materials

This area provides a public record this institutional response to Yoder abuse,  including statements, video recordings and media from the Service of Lament, Confession and Commitment on March 22 2015.


Statements presented at the Service of Lament, Confession, and Commitment on March 22:

Video recordings

Excerpts from the Service of Lament, Confession, and Commitment on March 22:

News articles

News articles on the Service of Lament, Confession, and Commitment on March 22:

Related news items

Care and Prevention Fund

The Discernment Group of Mennonite Church USA established a Care and Prevention Fund. The purpose of the fund is threefold: 1) to recompense, at least in some small measure, the material costs that persons victimized by John Howard Yoder (or another credentialed leader of Mennonite Church USA) undertook on their road to healing; 2) to provide tangible care for persons who have experienced sexual abuse; 3) to assist in prevention of sexual abuse.

Contributions to the Care and Prevention Fund will be divided between victims of sexual abuse and several ministries: Sister Care, Dove’s Nest, and the Women in Leadership Project. Checks were to be written to “Mennonite Church USA” with “Care and Prevention Fund” written in the memo line, and mailed to Mennonite Church USA, 718 N. Main Street, Newton, Kansas 67114-1703. Contributions to the fund were received through August 31, 2015. Visit for a fuller description of the fund.

Statement on behalf of Mennonite Church USA

Mennonite Church USA Statement of Lament • These statements were sent to AMBS but were not part of the March 22 service.