Some of my readers know already that, as of July 1, 2013, I assumed the directorship of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College. (The appointment was announced in the most recent issue of the newsletter of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society.)
As our website states, the Sider Institute “promotes the exploration of Anabaptism, Pietism, and Wesleyanism—the theological traditions that shape the ‘personality’ of the Brethren in Christ, the founding denomination of Messiah College, and that inform the College’s educational mission.” Those who know me know that I have a tremendous passion for this kind of work!
It’s an incredible privilege to serve in this role, succeeding a cadre of estimable scholars that includes David L. Weaver-Zercher, Luke L. Keefer, Jr. and Richard T. Hughes, intellectuals whose work I admire. I’m excited to further the goals of the Institute, giving leadership to ongoing programs like the Annual Brethren in Christ Study Conference and the Schrag Lectureship — while also brainstorming new programs, too!
Here’s a taste:
The Institute got its start in the late 1990s and early 2000s, through the efforts of Dr. E. Morris Sider, the foremost historian of the Brethren in Christ tradition and for many years a professor and archivist at Messiah College. In his scholarship, teaching, and church administration, Dr. Sider played a crucial role in the recovery of Anabaptism, Pietism and Wesleyanism as “usable pasts” for both the Brethren in Christ and for Messiah College. Our programming both preserves and expands his work.
I’m still getting my feet wet as the Institute director, having accepted the mantle in July 2013. Yet I’m already convinced that the Sider Institute stands to do much more — both at Messiah College and beyond. I’m looking forward to exploring new ways to facilitate conversations about the contemporary significance of Anabaptism, Pietism, and Wesleyanism — both within our larger community (which includes the Brethren in Christ) and within our classrooms.
You can read the entire interview here.
Readers can expect to hear all about the future programs of the Institute here at The Search for Piety and Obedience. Please join me in making extending our important work of interpreting the theological heritage of Messiah College and the Brethren in Christ Church!