Published: July 30, 2014
Mary E. Klassen
Wilma Ann Bailey is a scholar who gives her gifts to the church and for this AMBS honors her this year with the annual AMBS Alumni Ministry and Service Recognition.
Bailey earned a Master of Divinity degree from AMBS in 1979 and followed this with a Master of Arts and PhD from Vanderbilt University. For 14 years she has taught at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. In 2010 she was awarded the title “Minnie Vautrin Professor of Christian Witness” in recognition of her work related to peace and justice issues.
Prior to this she taught at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa., and taught and directed the James Lark Leadership Program at Goshen College. She was licensed for ministry in 1980 by Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, becoming the first woman to be licensed by the conference. She has served on boards of the Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee, Philhaven and Eastern Mennonite University.
Bailey is a prolific writer of both scholarly materials and Bible studies for the church. She is author of the Lamentations volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series to be released this fall, of “You shall not kill” or “You shall not murder”: The assault on a biblical text (Liturgical Press, 2005) and many more books. She also has published seven volumes and has another forthcoming of Adult Bible Study Guides through Faith & Life Press, in addition to numerous articles, essays and book reviews on topics related to peace and justice, women in ancient Israel and laments, and the environment.
In addition, she has taught in other world contexts, including four concentrated courses at Christian Theological Seminary in Chunnakam, Sri Lanka, a seminary reviving its program after nearly 30 years of civil war. She participated in an agricultural project sponsored by the Brethren in Christ Church in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and lectured on land and land use in the Bible and theologies of the land in the Bible in 2009. Also that year, she spoke at the Mennonite World Conference in Asuncion, Paraguay, on “The earth belongs to the Lord.”
Bailey will return to AMBS two times this fall. At the Rooted and Grounded conference, Sept. 18–20, she will present a paper, “Who gets to eat in the Garden of Eden?” In October she will receive the alumni recognition and share with the campus community about her ministry.
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