Trinity Western University (TWU) is now home to something new – the first university based research centre to study the integration of faith and learning from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective. More than a hundred guests gathered on the Langley, B.C., campus on Oct. 24, 2014, to celebrate the creation of the Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning.
The centre, more than three years in the planning, was the dream of the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society, formed to foster teaching and research on Anabaptist and Mennonite history, practice and values.
The first director of the new venture, Myron Penner, also TWU associate professor of philosophy and a member at Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C., said the Centre will foster scholarly research, sponsor lectures on and off campus and organize conferences. It will enhance TWU student experience by exposing students to Anabaptist and Mennonite streams of Christian life and thought.
The large Mennonite community in B.C. and beyond frequently “needs additional theological leadership,” said John Redekop, former president of the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society and a Bakerview member, at the celebration. “This holds true particularly concerning the integration of Christian faith and practical questions in daily living.” Redekop said there is an urgent need for a venue, “an intellectually strong resource centre, where…people can grapple with their troubling questions of faith and life and find help from senior Anabaptist-Mennonite scholars and practitioners.
“With Mennonites largely integrated socially into the larger community, we need guidance and instruction about the practical dimensions of being a spiritually separated people.”
The Faith and Learning Society has also partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley though course offerings and inclusion in UFV’s new Peace Studies program.
—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent