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Faculty: In Their Own Words – Dr. Dan Epp-Tiessen

14 - Dan Epp-Tiessen (March 2017)Dr. Dan Epp-Tiessen, Associate Professor of Bible, has taught at CMU since 1998.

What are you teaching right now that you’re most excited about?

Creation, Environment, and the Bible. Given the ecological challenges this planet faces, we as Christians have a unique opportunity to address those issues because our fundamental conviction is that God has created this amazing cosmos. If God has created this unbelievably beautiful, complex world, we of all people ought to love and care for it.

What are you researching and writing?

I’ve been asked to write a Believers Church Bible Commentary on the book of Micah. I’ve always loved the prophets. They tell it like it is in terms of naming the sins and shortcomings of God’s people, and yet they’re also profoundly hopeful. The book of Micah brings together the importance of worship, the importance of a close relationship with God, and how the two should lead to a life of faithfulness and justice, and of caring for people in the community—especially the weaker and more vulnerable members of the community.

What you are reading for enjoyment?

In the last few years I’ve been trying to read more about Indigenous-settler relations in this country. That’s not always enjoyable, but I’ve found it deeply, deeply meaningful. I think if we’re going to live well in this country, it’s one of the primary agenda items that we as a settler society need to face going forward.

Where or how do students give you hope?

For me the hope and encouragement from students come from when I see them get excited about the stuff we’re talking about in class; when I see them get excited about particular biblical stories or biblical books or biblical passages and themes. They want their lives to be shaped by this stuff. They want to be people transformed by God’s grace, transformed by the life of Jesus, and they want all of that to make a difference in their lives.

What do you most long for in your work?

That students come to love Jesus, that they become excited about—and committed to—the biblical story, and that somehow their lives are transformed and deepened because of the stuff we’ve talked about, read, and studied in class. That’s what I long for: to see our students grow in their relationship with God, grow in their commitment to the Christian faith, and become more mature, healthy human beings.

What saying or motto inspires you?

In the last few years I’ve been drawn to a famous prayer by Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.” For me, that’s a source of huge comfort and hope. It’s also what I hope for my students: that they will come to experience themselves as beloved children of God and be deeply, deeply rooted in God.

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Panelists to explore how their different faiths intersect at Face2Face discussion

A Jew, Muslim, and Christian will dialogue about what lies at the core of their faith heritages and how people from these distinct faith traditions might work together for peace and justice, at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion.

Titled, “A Conversation within an Abrahamic Tent: A Jew, Muslim, and Christian in Dialogue,” the event happens Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

F2F iContactParticipating in the discussion will be Dr. Karl Koop, Professor of History and Theology at CMU, who will represent the Christian tradition; Dr. Ruth Ashrafi, Judaic Studies Advisor at Gray’s Academy, who will represent the Jewish tradition; and Shahina Siddiqui, founder and Executive Director of the Islamic Social Services Association, who will represent the Muslim tradition.

Conversations like these are important because Jews, Muslims, and Christians share a common humanity as well as a significant portion of scripture and faith tradition, says Dr. Harry Huebner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology at CMU, who will moderate the discussion.

“We’ve gone in different directions and we have different specific traditions, but we are part of a common people struggling for the meaning of life,” says Huebner, who also serves as Director of International and Inter-Faith Theological Initiatives at CMU.

Although there is significant divergence and diversity within each of these faith traditions, and only one person will be at the event to represent each tradition, dialogues like this can still have value, Huebner adds.

“It’s important that we speak and listen to each other, even out of a context of imperfection and incompleteness,” he says.

Panelists will talk about what lies at the core of their faith heritage, and what gift or contribution their faith tradition brings to its adherents and to society.

They will also discuss the challenges their faith traditions face, as well as what their faith tradition values most in the other two faith traditions represented.

Panelists will also share their thoughts on how Jews, Muslims, and Christians might be able to work together for peace and justice in the world.

“Adherents of these different faiths are often seen as in some ways competing with each other, and we don’t need to,” Huebner says. “I hope what people see in an event like this is the possibility for there to be mutual respect and significant openness for difference among the adherents of these different faiths. We don’t have to be the same in order to live in peaceful and just relationship with one another.”

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“A Conversation within an Abrahamic Tent” is the third of four Face2Face events CMU is scheduled to host during the 2016-17 school year. For details, visit cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Face2Face | Why Beauty Matters: Radical Amazement, Spirituality, and the Ecological Crisis (video)

Nature has the power to draw us into her beauty, to inspire feelings of wonder and awe, to connect with our spirit. Sadly, our approach in this technological age is too often the opposite, seeing nature as a tool to be used, a resource to be consumed. In a time of ecological crisis what we may need, more than anything else, is a change of posture.

The phrase “radical amazement” comes from the Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, whose work represents one strand of Jewish environmentalism. He has argued that the root of the environmental crisis lies in the way that we have changed our posture toward the natural world—from awe, wonder, and amazement to detachment, control, and manipulation.

Mathematician Dr. Tim Rogalsky, biologist Dr. Rachel Krause, and engineer Randy Herrmann take us on a fascinating ‘guided tour’ into the wonder of nature. See with new eyes and stand in awe of the hidden beauty of flora, fauna, and land.

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With Gratitude 2016 | Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck (video)

Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck, Samantha KlassenThis video features Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck (CMU ’16) performing Silent Noon (Ralph Vaughan Williams) accompanied by Samantha Klassen at With Gratitude, April 23, 2016.

Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck, tenor
Bachelor of Music
Concentration: Vocal performance

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Face2Face | Cohabitation: The Question of Living Together Before Marriage (video)

Context
Increasingly, our faith communities, pastoral leaders and families are encountering the broad, cultural reality of cohabitation. Bringing deeply held theological convictions into conversation with practices outside of these persuasions can be challenging. Dialogue and conversation are vital.

Focus
What clarity might we gain on the Biblical, theological, sociological / cultural, and relational dynamics that underlie the reality of cohabitation? What makes this practice challenging to openly discuss within our church communities, as families and with young adults we know and love? How can we best resource and learn from one another?

Panel Members

Recorded February 2, 2016

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2015 Alumni Award Stories – Arno and Lena Fast (video)

Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55)
Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55)

Last year, Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55) celebrated their 85th birthdays, their 60th wedding anniversary, and 45 years of ministry at Salem Community Bible Church in Winnipeg’s North End. At a time when many are enjoying retirement, the Fasts remain committed to their work at the church.

Salem was close to shutting its doors in 1969 when the Fasts began working there. Since then, the congregation has grown into a thriving, multicultural mix of 100 adults and children. Arno is currently mentoring his 32-year-old grandson into the ministry role at the church. “We don’t feel we’ve done anything exceptional,” Arno says. “We just followed the call of God.”

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate alumni who, through their lives, embody CMU’s values and mission of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society. The awards are presented to alumni from CMU and its predecessor colleges: Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC)/Concord College.

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2015 Alumni Award Recipient Stories – Larry Plenert (video)

Larry Plenert CMBC 66)
Larry Plenert CMBC 66)

Lawyer, teacher, coach, musician, Olympic athlete – Larry Plenert (CMBC ’78) has worn many hats. His 6’6” frame and prowess on the volleyball court earned him a spot on Canada’s national volleyball team starting in 1973, which led to competing in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. After a short stint teaching, Plenert finished his Bachelor of Theology and then moved on to law school. Plenert practiced law in Abbotsford, B.C. for 27 years. Since 2008, he has worked as an adjudicator of claims of serious physical or sexual abuse by former students of Indian Residential Schools. He lives in Fort Langley, B.C.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate alumni who, through their lives, embody CMU’s values and mission of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society. The awards are presented to alumni from CMU and its predecessor colleges: Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC)/Concord College.

 

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CMU Recognizes Graduates with 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards

An Olympian-turned-lawyer, an English language educator, a businessman with a passion for international development, and a couple who have ministered for more than 45 years in Winnipeg’s North End are the recipients of Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

CMU President Cheryl Pauls is pleased to present the awards to Larry Plenert, Cheryl Woelk, Gerry Dyck, and Arno and Lena Fast on Saturday, September 26.

The Blazer Awards celebrate alumni who, through their lives, embody CMU’s values and mission of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society. The awards are presented to alumni from CMU and its predecessor colleges: Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) and Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC)/Concord College.

“The story of the character and quality of a university is made true through the lives of its alumni,” Pauls says. “CMU is honoured by the commitments and courage of this year’s Blazer Alumni Award recipients, and excited to see how their stories will inspire the faithfulness of later generations.”

Pauls will present the awards during CMU’s Opening Program at 7:00 PM on Saturday, September 26 in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.) as part of CMU’s Fall Festival.

Prior to the Opening Program, the public is invited to meet and interact with Plenert, Woelk, Dyck, and the Fasts during an event at 4:00 PM in CMU’s Laudamus Auditorium (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). During this hour, each recipient will be introduced, and each will reflect on their personal and professional journeys.

Information about the award recipients:

Larry Plenert CMBC 66)
Larry Plenert CMBC 78)

Lawyer, teacher, coach, musician, Olympic athlete – Larry Plenert (CMBC ’78) has worn many hats. His 6’6” frame and prowess on the volleyball court earned him a spot on Canada’s national volleyball team starting in 1973, which led to competing in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. After a short stint teaching, Plenert finished his Bachelor of Theology and then moved on to law school. Plenert practiced law in Abbotsford, B.C. for 27 years. Since 2008, he has worked as an adjudicator of claims of serious physical or sexual abuse by former students of Indian Residential Schools. He lives in Fort Langley, B.C.

 

Cheryl Woelk (CMU '12)
Cheryl Woelk (CMU ’03)

Peacemaking, language, and education are interests that have continually woven together in the life of Cheryl Woelk (CMU ‘03). From 2002-08, she was a Mennonite Church Canada Witness Worker in Seoul, South Korea where she worked as education coordinator at the Korean Anabaptist Center and head teacher at Connexus, the English language school Woelk and her KAC colleagues founded. After earning a Master of Arts in Education, Woelk and her family moved to Saskatoon, SK. She is currently involved in a variety of projects there, including Language for Peace, which brings together teachers and learners interested in the connection of language, peace, and education from a Mennonite perspective.

Gerry Dyck (MBBC '82)
Gerry Dyck (MBBC ’82)

Since graduating from MBBC, Gerry Dyck (’82) has fused his interest in business with his interest in international development to make a difference. Dyck is the co-founder and president of Kalora Interiors International, a business that specializes in décor solutions for the home furnishings industry. An offshoot of a multi-national non-profit charity called International Development Enterprises, Kalora was established to match the needs of suppliers from the developing world with the needs of customers in the Western world. Dyck is also involved with the Ontario Board of Church Extension, with a focus on church planting in large urban centres in Ontario. He lives in St. Jacobs, ON.

Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55)
Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55)

Last year, Arno and Lena Fast (MBBC ‘55) celebrated their 85th birthdays, their 60th wedding anniversary, and 45 years of ministry at Salem Community Bible Church in Winnipeg’s North End. At a time when many are enjoying retirement, the Fasts remain committed to their work at the church. Salem was close to shutting its doors in 1969 when the Fasts began working there. Since then, the congregation has grown into a thriving, multicultural mix of 100 adults and children. Arno is currently mentoring his 32-year-old grandson into the ministry role at the church. “We don’t feel we’ve done anything exceptional,” Arno says. “We just followed the call of God.”

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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2015’s Graduation Service (video)

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CMU Announces Recipient of $10,000 Redekop School of Business Scholarship

Canadian Mennonite University is pleased to announce that Artem Coste has been awarded a 4-year, $10,000 Redekop School of Business Scholarship.

This award is given to a student with high academic standing who meets Redekop School of Business (RSB) program requirements.

IMG_2779
Coste (center) at the 2014 MFBC Business Council Awards Gala with MFBC President Jon Reyes (left)
and CMU’s VP, Academic Gordon Zerbe.
Photo by AJ Batac.

RSB develops the potential of future business leaders to bring together sound business practice with commitments of faith, generosity, and service. RSB’s goal is to prepare students to become engaged in business and not-for-profit organizations, with a worldview and character shaped within a Christian university community.

Coste is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a major in Accounting. He attributes his interest in studying business to his family, which operates a business and owns farmland in the Philippines.

In his first year of studies, Coste says he was interested in studying at CMU because of the small class sizes, which allow for “an easier way to communicate with professors.” He also appreciates being part of a community with people who share the same faith as he does. Coste is a member of the CMU Blazers basketball team.

Coste received recognition of his award at the Manitoba Filipino Business Council Awards Gala, which took place in mid-October.