Centre For Anabaptist Studies

Bristol Baptist College, the Anabaptist Network and the Mennonite Trust announce the launch in October 2014 of a Centre for Anabaptist Studies, based at the college in Bristol.

In recent years the Anabaptist vision has inspired Christians from many traditions as we face the challenges of post-Christendom and offered fresh insights on peace and justice, faith and politics, hospitality and community, church and mission, discipleship and biblical interpretation.

But there are currently few opportunities or resources for studying Anabaptist history and theology in the UK. We hope that the Centre for Anabaptist Studies will fill this gap.

In 2014 Bristol Baptist College inherited the library of the Mennonite Trust, the foremost collection of Anabaptist resources in the country. The college has access to scholars with the expertise to supervise research, produce further resources and develop programmes at various levels. The Anabaptist Network and the Mennonite Trust are the main connecting points for people in the UK interested in the Anabaptist vision and also have relationships with Anabaptist scholars in other parts of the world.

We anticipate that the work of the Centre will include:

Public lectures and other events in Bristol
Webinars accessible from anywhere in the world
MA modules on Anabaptism
Supervision of postgraduate research
Book launches
Maintaining and updating the Mennonite Trust library
Visits from overseas Anabaptist scholars
Projects in partnership with others

The founding director of the Centre is Dr Stuart Murray Williams, previously chair of the Anabaptist Network, currently chair of the Mennonite Trust and the author of The Naked Anabaptist, whose doctorate was in Anabaptist hermeneutics.

Honorary fellows of the college who will contribute to the work of the Centre include Dr Lloyd Pietersen and Dr Linda Wilson.

Inaugural Lecture

The inaugural lecture of the Centre for Anabaptist Studies will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 8 October 2014 at Bristol Baptist College (The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol BS8 3NJ).

The lecture will be given by visiting Canadian Mennonite scholar, Professor Tom Yoder Neufeld. His subject will be:

‘Anabaptists, the Bible and Violence’

Professor Yoder Neufeld retired at the end of 2012 from teaching at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo since 1983. Among his writings are a commentary on Ephesians, Recovering Jesus: the Witness of the New Testament (a text book on Jesus, and more recently Jesus and the Subversion of Violence: Wrestling with the New Testament, exploring the way violence intersects with the New Testament, which was shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize in 2013. There will be no charge for this lecture.

MA Modules

The Centre for Anabaptist Studies will offer three MA modules in the areas of Anabaptist origins and distinctives, Anabaptist ecclesiology and missiology, and Anabaptist ethics and hermeneutics (comprising 60 of the 120 taught credits needed for an MA). These modules will be taught in block weeks to enable students living some distance from the college to attend. The MA can be taken over 1, 2 or 3 years.

Alongside these will be a module on research methodology and a choice of two further modules. Students will also be expected to write a dissertation on an Anabaptist topic.

A Postgraduate Diploma will also be available, consisting of the taught elements of the MA without the dissertation.

Research Supervision

Bristol Baptist College offers postgraduate research supervision (MPhil, MLitt and PhD). The director and associates of the Centre will offer supervision of research topics related to the Anabaptist tradition.

Webinars

The Centre will offer six or more webinars (web-based seminars) during each academic year. These webinars are free and can be accessed via a home computer. They will last between 60 and 90 minutes, and there will be a mix of presentation and interaction. The webinars will all be recorded and so can be watched subsequently.

During 2014-15 six webinars have been arranged, each of which will feature an author of books (already published or forthcoming) in the ‘After Christendom’ series. These will take place at 7.30pm on the following dates:

21 October: Stuart Murray Williams, author of Post-Christendom
20 November: Lloyd Pietersen, author of Reading the Bible after Christendom
29 January: Andrew Francis, author of Hospitality and Community after Christendom
26 February: Nigel Pimlott, co-author of Youth Work after Christendom
6 May: Simon Perry, author of Atheism after Christendom
2 June: Brian Haymes & Kyle Gingerich-Hiebert, co-authors of God after Christendom?

Mennonite Trust Library

The collection of books, journals and other material previously housed at the London Mennonite Centre has been donated to Bristol Baptist College and from October 2014 will be housed in the college library.

This is the most extensive collection in the UK of resources relating to the Anabaptist and Mennonite traditions. The Mennonite Trust is committed to updating this collection year by year and is delighted that these resources will be readily accessible within the college library.

Anyone interested in consulting this collection should contact the librarian, Mike Brealey at Bristol Baptist College, The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol BS8 3NJ or email library@bristol-baptist.ac.uk.

Information

For further information about any aspect of the Centre for Anabaptist Studies, to receive invitations to lectures, webinars and other events, or to enquire about studying at the college, please contact:

Stuart Murray Williams: Centre for Anabaptist Studies, Bristol Baptist College, The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol BS8 3NJ or email stuart@murraywilliams.co.uk.

The Centre for Anabaptist Studies also has a Facebook group, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/anabaptiststudies/, and a blog, which can be found at
http://anabaptiststudies.wordpress.com/.