Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bethany Board of Trustees holds Fall meeting.

The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees gathered at the Richmond, Ind., campus for its semi-annual meeting Oct. 29-31. The board celebrated several significant accomplishments, including receipt of two grants (see story above), acceptance of a proposal for a distributed education track for the Master of Arts degree, and ongoing partnerships with the World Council of Churches related to the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV).

The Association of Theological Schools has approved Bethany's proposal to launch MA Connections, a distributed education track for the MA degree. Like MDiv Connections, the seminary's distributed education track for the master of divinity degree, MA Connections will offer courses in formats that are more conducive to the needs and desires of students in a distributed education program, such as weekend and two-week intensive classes and online and hybrid classes. The seminary will officially enroll students in the track in the Spring 2011 semester.

The Bethany board heard that seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen will represent the Church of the Brethren at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in May 2011 in Kingston, Jamaica. The convocation is the culminating event of the DOV and will celebrate the efforts of member communions around the world.

Current and emeritus faculty of Bethany have been significantly involved in the DOV including Donald Miller, a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren and professor emeritus at Bethany, who has been a moving force in the holding of several international conferences of the Historic Peace Churches, and Scott Holland, professor of peace studies and cross-cultural studies.

Johansen was named as denominational representative by Brethren who have worked closely with the US DOV committee, Brethren advisors to the various Historic Peace Church gatherings, and by Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.

"Ruthann's voice of God's shalom and Christ's peace within the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary has encouraged us all to seek the roots of our peace church heritage," Noffsinger said. "Her articulation of the theology of peace through Brethren eyes and experience will be critical, as this convocation will be considering an alternative voice to the Just War theory to which so many Christians subscribe. This gathering will explore what many have come to believe is a more appropriate Christian response in a Just Peace Declaration."

In other business, the board heard a progress report on the seminary's 2010-15 strategic plan, including curriculum review, marketing recommendations, and development of a comprehensive assessment plan; and the board approved a 2.38 percent increase for tuition for the 2011-12 academic year, to $430 per credit hour.

-- Marcia Shetler is director of public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

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