Faith and Learning for the Intellectually Disenfranchised

Faith and Learning for the Intellectually Disenfranchised

Friday, October 24, 2014 marked the launch of Trinity Western University’s Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning (A-MCFL). An initiative of the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society (MFLS), a non-profit society that promotes Mennonite studies in higher education through the establishment of chairs and research centres at Canadian universities, the Centre will be a strong point of connection between the University and the Lower Mainland’s strong, vibrant Anabaptist-Mennonite faith community.

“The Anabaptist Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning will have a high impact on TWU students and Mennonite students,” said Director and Associate Professor of Philosophy Myron A. Penner, Ph.D. “It will inject an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective into faith and learning, something TWU is all about.”

As well as facilitating research opportunities for TWU and visiting scholars, the Centre will enhance the experience of TWU students. Centre activities will contribute to student development through exposure to the research and thoughtful voices that represent the Anabaptist and Mennonite streams of Christian experience. “Most TWU students are engaged in topics and speakers who talk about what it means to live out their faith. The stakes are high when it comes to theological matters.”

“The Centre will also serve as a resource for intellectually disenfranchised people who are curious about how faith connects with information and learning across disciplines and in a variety of forms—topics that churches may not directly address in a credible way, if at all, because of limited resources or expertise,” Penner said.

The first university-based research centre for the study of the integration of faith and learning from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, TWU’s Centre will promote Anabaptist-Mennonite research, publication, and dissemination that will broadly enrich theological awareness and application at TWU and beyond.

In addition to the TWU Centre, the MFLS has partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley to establish UFV’s Centre for Mennonite Studies, and will be an ongoing contributor to UFV’s emerging Peace Studies Program.

Friday evening’s celebration brought together some 100 guests from TWU and the Mennonite community, among them Dr. Bryan Born, President, Columbia Bible College; Dr. Bruce Guenther, President, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary; Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President, Carey Theological College; and Richard Thiessen, Mennonite Historical Society of BC.

TWU alumna and author Connie T. Braun, MA, responded to remarks from MLFS representative John H. Redekop, Ph.D., and Penner. “I see the Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning at TWU as a critical space for fostering conversation about the relevance of our Anabaptist tenets of faith, to our lives and to others, in culture, and that it will enlarge the perception about what Christian’s care about,” she said. “This Centre will be a place where hard questions and challenges can be posed, where rich intellectual conversations and even disagreements will be had, and where bright minds, older and younger, can feel at home in faith and in the Church.”

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