More than 100 guests gathered for the launch of the Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning at Trinity Western University (TWU) late last fall.
An initiative of the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society, a non-profit organization that promotes Mennonite studies in higher education through the establishment of chairs and research centres at Canadian universities, the TWU Centre will be a strong point of connection between the university and the Lower Mainland’s strong, vibrant Anabaptist-Mennonite faith community, its supporters believe.
“The Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning will have a high impact on TWU students and Mennonite students,” said Myron A. Penner, TWU’s director and associate professor of philosophy. “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 was created to enhance the experience of TWU students.
“Most TWU students are engaged in topics and speakers who talk about what it means to live out their faith,” said Penner. “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 explained.
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.
TWU alumna and author Connie T. Braun said she sees the Centre as “a critical space for fostering conversation about the relevance of our Anabaptist tenets of faith to our lives and to others . . . and that it will enlarge the perception about what Christians care about. This Centre will be a place where hard questions and chal-
lenges 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.”
In addition to the TWU Centre, the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society has partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley (UVF) to establish its Centre for Mennonite Studies, and will be an ongoing contributor to UFV’s emerging peace studies program.
—Posted Jan. 28, 2015