Bursary for Evangelical Mennonite Conference
Students at CMU
Ron and Ruth
Penner Want to Keep Anabaptist-Mennonite Faith
Alive in Their Denomination
Concern that their denomination is losing its
Anabaptist-Mennonite distinctives has prompted
an Evangelical Mennonite Conference (EMC) couple
to create a bursary at Canadian Mennonite
“We have a shortage of pastors who are well
versed in our Anabaptist-Mennonite understanding
of the Christian faith,” says Ron Penner, a
retired EMC pastor.
“Many of our pastors are taking their
theological training at non-Mennonite schools,”
adds his wife, Ruth. “Some are not identifying
with our Anabaptist-Mennonite theological
The purpose of the new bursary, called the
EMC Graduate Studies Bursary at CMU, is to
support students from that conference who are
preparing for pastoral ministry, missions or
Christian service by taking graduate-level
courses at the university. The bursary will
cover half of the tuition costs for eligible
The Penners believe it is important for EMC
members to study at CMU, a school that promotes
an Anabaptist-Mennonite understanding of faith.
“We believe that we, as Mennonites, have been
given a unique perspective on scripture and the
Christian faith—a perspective that combines
justice, peace, discipleship, evangelism and
community,” says Ron, who grew up in the Prairie
Rose EMC Church in Landmark, Man. and served as
associate pastor there from 1973-85. He pastored
Winnipeg’s Braeside EMC Church from 1992-2002.
“It’s like God has entrusted us with a jewel.
But we are in danger of letting that jewel be
tarnished, or slip through our fingers.”
For them, losing this “jewel” would be sad
since “the message of our Anabaptist-Mennonite
faith is what so many people so badly need and
are looking for today,” he adds.
The Penners, who are graduates of the
EMC-sponsored Steinbach Bible College, also
studied at Mennonite Brethren Bible College, one
of CMU’s predecessor colleges, and at Eastern
Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, VA.
“We’re big proponents of theological
education,” says Ruth, who co-pastored a
Mennonite church in Virginia with her husband.
“We know the value of solid biblical training.”
Adds Ron: “We cannot take a careless attitude
towards our faith. Developing a firm biblical
foundation is key to providing solid church
leadership. We need leaders who are articulate
about the Bible.”
In addition to supporting those who are
already planning to be pastors, the Penners hope
the bursary will also encourage some young
people to consider church ministry.
“We are grateful to the Penners for making
this bursary possible,” says CMU Director of
Development Abe Bergen. “It will help support
our mission of helping to train men and women
for church leadership from an
Students interested in applying for the
bursary should contact CMU at 487-3300 or e-mail
Posted May 21, 2008.
For more information contact the CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694,(www.cmu.ca)