ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — The Board of Directors of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana, has appointed a search committee for the seminary’s next president.
The Presidential Search Committee, chaired by AMBS Board Member Miriam Book of Lititz, Pennsylvania, will hold its first meeting Dec. 18 by video conference and its second meeting in person Jan. 9–10. The committee is charged with seeking a successor to Sara Wenger Shenk, Ed.D., who has served as president of AMBS since the fall of 2010 and plans to retire June 30, 2019.
The committee includes AMBS board members, teaching and administrative faculty members, and a student, as well as Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) board members and a representative from Mennonite Church Canada, which owns the seminary jointly with Mennonite Church USA. MEA will also contribute experience in presidential search processes by providing support services for the committee’s work.
“The Presidential Search Committee members were selected to ensure a wide representation of the voice of the church,” said Book. “The committee will work together to discern the leadership needs for AMBS and the church, keeping closely in mind the unique contributions that AMBS makes to the church, the local community and the global body of Christ. We invite your counsel and prayers as we assume this large task.”
Book noted that the committee members — which include AMBS alumni, pastors, church and educational leaders — are committed to the future of AMBS and Anabaptist education and are coming together from across the campus, the church, the U.S. and Canada to begin the work of calling a uniquely qualified person to lead the seminary. She added that the search committee will consult with both Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA as the process moves forward.
The committee includes:
- Miriam F. Book (chair), Lititz, Pennsylvania, an AMBS Executive Committee and board member. Book is an ordained pastor and former Mennonite Church denominational executive.
- Addie Banks, Bronx, New York, an MEA board member and ordained pastor. She attends Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship in New York City.
- David Brubacher, M.Div., Vineland, Ontario, Canada, an AMBS board member and 1991 AMBS alumnus. Brubacher is lead pastor at Grace Mennonite Church, St. Catharines, Ontario.
- Myrna Miller Dyck, M.Div., Baden, Ontario, Canada, a 2004 AMBS alumna and worship and care pastor at Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden. Miller Dyck represents Mennonite Church Canada.
- Marlene Kropf, D. Min., Port Townsend, Washington, an MEA board member and a 1988 AMBS alumna. An ordained minister, Kropf served as associate professor in spiritual formation and worship at AMBS and as a denominational minister for the Mennonite Church.
- Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, Ph.D., South Bend, Indiana, AMBS dean of lifelong learning and a 1992 AMBS alumna. Gingerich Longenecker represents the seminary’s Administrative Faculty.
- Jamie Pitts, Ph.D., Elkhart, Indiana, AMBS associate professor of Anabaptist studies, director of the Institute of Mennonite Studies and editor of Anabaptist Witness. Pitts represents the Teaching Faculty.
- Marisa Smucker, Elkhart, Indiana, an MA in Christian Formation student at AMBS. Smucker is on staff with Mennonite Mission Network Church Relations.
- Patrick Vendrely, M.S.A., Flossmoor, Illinois, vice chair of the AMBS board and a business owner working in the public and private sports marketplace.
- Carlos Romero, M.B.A., Goshen, Indiana, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency (ex officio).
“The AMBS Board is grateful to the members of the Presidential Search Committee for their commitment to this very important process; we look forward to the results of their work,” said AMBS Board Chair Bruce Baergen of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “On behalf of the seminary, I ask that the church pray for this process and for all those who are involved.”
— AMBS release