by Donella M. Clemens, Perkasie congregation & vice-chair of AMBS Board
A verse from Isaiah 43 was the focus for the hum of activity at AMBS, a seminary of Mennonite Church USA (Elkhart, IN), the weekend of May 4 and 5—“I am about to do a new thing”! The weekend recognized a new name and programs and the dedication of new facilities.
Had you walked on the AMBS campus on Friday evening, May 4, you would have been treated to a music extravaganza celebrating the renovated Sermon on the Mount chapel. A great variety of gospel, classical, folk, brass, piano, and organ musicians played and sang, and yes, the legendary Mary Oyer led the congregation in several rousing hymns of worship. It was a celebration of “The New” at AMBS!
What is new?
Beginning with the new school year in August, 2012, AMBS will have a new name! The name “Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary” has had historical meaning since Goshen Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Biblical Seminary merged.
Now as the seminary takes a new look at the present and projects into the future, it is appropriate for a new name, “Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary,” that brings focus to the ownership of the seminary by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada and signals awareness of a renewed interest in Anabaptist theology by Christians in many denominations around the globe.
In addition to the new name, there are new faculty members. With the retirement of faculty who have faithfully served AMBS for many years, new, younger faculty members are being hired:
- Rachel Miller Jacobs, assistant professor of congregational formation
- Andrew Brubacher Kaethler, assistant professor of faith formation and culture
- Jamie Pitts, assistant professor of Anabaptist studies
Hearing the voice of pastors and leaders across the church calling for new methods of seminary education, AMBS is unveiling redesigned programs that will include both a community-focused residential program and a program accessible to students at a distance. These programs will allow pastors and students from our Franconia and Eastern District Conferences to pursue degrees at AMBS without moving from their home communities.
A series of six online, non-credit Anabaptist study courses will be offered for people who have completed seminary education or for those who want to continue seminary education but do not desire credit.
Check out the website (www.ambs.edu) for more information on the exciting new future at AMBS!