Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Institute of Mennonite Studies host 41st Book Celebration


written by David C. Cramer, originally published by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

At the 41st annual Book Celebration at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary on April 27, 2023, (l. to r.) Jamie Pitts, PhD, IMS Director, converses with David Cramer, PhD, IMS Managing Editor, and Isaiah Friesen, IMS Student Assistant. (Credit: Brittany Purlee)

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — On Thursday, April 27, as part of graduation week festivities, the Institute of Mennonite Studies (IMS) and Academic Dean’s Office of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, hosted their 41st annual Book Celebration, honoring AMBS faculty, staff and student publications and presentations from the 2022–23 academic year, as well as publications of IMS. As part of the event, the annual Celebration bibliography was distributed to those in attendance.

During the 2022–23 academic year, AMBS and IMS were involved in the publication of six books; nine journal issues; and more than three dozen articles, essays and reviews. In addition, AMBS faculty, students and staff presented their research in nearly 50 academic presentations, public workshops and podcast appearances.

“The annual IMS Book Celebration is an important time for us to pause and delight in the scholarship that AMBS faculty, staff and students are producing, in addition to their preaching and teaching engagements,” said Beverly Lapp, EdD, Vice President and Academic Dean. “I’m so pleased with how active our faculty are in articulating the relevance of theological education for the life of the church.”

Working with editors Cameron Altaras, PhD, and Carol Penner, PhD, IMS published the book Resistance: Confronting Violence, Power, and Abuse within Peace Churches, which includes 34 essays and poems by storytellers, academics, poets, administrators, students, activists and pastors.

(l. to r.) Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD, IMS Associate Director; Jamie Pitts, PhD, IMS Director; and David Cramer, PhD, IMS Managing Editor; at the 41st annual Book Celebration at AMBS on April 27, 2023. (Credit: Brittany Purlee)

IMS also published two issues of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology in partnership with the Centre for Faith and Life at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The fall 2022 issue, “Spirituality and aging,” was co-edited by Andy Brubacher Kaethler, PhD, Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Culture and IMS Associate Director, and Jane Kuepfer, PhD, Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging with the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging and Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. The spring 2021 issue, “Uncertainty,” was edited by Karl Koop, PhD, Professor of History and Theology at CMU.

IMS Director Jamie Pitts, PhD, Associate Professor of Anabaptist Studies, serves as Editor of the mission journal Anabaptist Witness, which published issues this past year on Mission and Health (October 2022) and Mission and Education (April 2023).

Three AMBS faculty members published significant volumes in their respective disciplines this year. Janna L. Hunter-Bowman, PhD, Associate Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics, published Witnessing Peace: Becoming Agents under Duress in Colombia (Routledge, 2022), which draws on her work in both theology and peace studies to engage war-affected communities in Colombia about how they transitioned from violence to peace. Joe Sawatzky, PhD, Global Leadership Collaborative Project Specialist, published Toward an Anabaptist-Pentecostal Vision: Exploring Ecclesial Identities in North American Mennonite Mission with Pentecostal-Type Churches in Southern Africa (Pickwick, 2023), which draws on his research on the mission history of North American Mennonites working with African Initiated and Pentecostal-type churches in southern Africa to propose bases for an emerging Anabaptist-Pentecostal vision. Ben C. Ollenburger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology, published God the Creator: The Old Testament and the World God Is Making (Baker Academic, 2023), which describes how creation is not just about origins but also about God’s ongoing work in the world to bring about justice, righteousness, peace and flourishing. 

Daniel S. Schipani, DrPsy, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Care and Counseling, served as editor of two volumes this year: Spiritual Caregivers in the Hospital: Windows to Competent Practice, 3rd edition, co-edited with Leah D. Bueckert (Pandora, 2022); and, with Hans de Wit, Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics: Journeying to the Heart of the Andes (VU University, 2022), which is volume 6 of the Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics SeriesLeah Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care, wrote “The case for just care: How Christian social ethics enhances pastoral theology” for the former volume.

James R. Krabill, PhD, Core Adjunct Faculty, serves as Senior Editor of the journal Ethnodoxology: A Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith, which published its 10th annual issue in 2022.

Faculty, staff and students also published essays and reviews in Anabaptist WorldVisionRELEAPalabra y VidaPeople’s ReporterBrethren in Christ History and LifeTheological LibrarianshipReligious Studies ReviewInternational Journal of Practical TheologyConnector, and Review of Biblical Literature. And they published chapters in the books Spiritual Caregivers in the HospitalProphets in the Qurʿān and the BibleThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Theology and Qualitative ResearchCare Ethics, Religion, and Spiritual TraditionsA Pilgrimage of Justice and PeaceEnsayos en BioéticaInternational Handbook of Practical TheologyPraxis Latinoamericana de la Opresión a la Liberación; and Biblical Themes in Science Fiction.

In addition to publishing books and essays, AMBS faculty, staff and students presented academic papers and public presentations across seven U.S. states and nine countries in five continents.

For a complete listing of publications and presentations, see Issue 41 on IMS’s Celebration webpage. To browse or purchase IMS and AMBS publications, visit the AMBS Bookstore located in the AMBS Library or online.

Located in Elkhart, Indiana, on ancestral land of the Potawatomi and Miami peoples, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is a learning community with an Anabaptist vision, offering theological education for learners both on campus and at a distance as well as a wide array of lifelong learning programs — all with the goal of educating followers of Jesus Christ to be leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world.

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