Endowment for CMU scholarship honouring Mennonite leader reaches $100,000

Donor reflects on why he and his family give their financial support to CMU

The endowment for a Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) scholarship honouring a Russian Mennonite scholar whose life was cut tragically short has reached six figures.

Ted Fransen presents a cheque to CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls
Ted Fransen presents a cheque to CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls, bringing the endowment for the Jacob A. Rempel Memorial Scholarship to $100,000. Fransen is one of Rempel’s grandsons.

Ted Fransen presented a cheque to CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls in September, bringing the endowment for the Jacob A. Rempel Memorial Scholarship to $100,000. Fransen is one of Rempel’s grandsons.

The scholarship awards $5,000 annually to a student pursuing a Master’s degree in CMU’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry.

Seeing the endowment reach the $100,000-mark is satisfying, Fransen said, noting that every branch of his grandfather’s family has contributed to the scholarship since it was established in 2000.

“I feel a sense of tremendous satisfaction that the legacy of our grandfather has had that kind of impact, where people in our family believe so strongly that the legacy needs to be remembered and memorialized,” Fransen said. “I feel just an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”

CMU shares that gratitude, said Abram Bergen, Development Associate.

“CMU is thankful to the family of Jacob A. Rempel for their generous support of the university,” Bergen said. “I have watched this endowment increase by $60,000 over the past decade, and the earnings now provide a substantial scholarship.”

“I’ve seen the impact this scholarship has had as recipients have taken on significant roles in church and community after graduating from CMU,” Bergen added. “When the award is significant—$5,000 in this caseit makes a lot of difference to a student who is able to then focus more fully on their studies, rather than think about how they’re going to pay for their tuition.”

Fransen and his extended family created the scholarship to honour the memory and legacy of Rempel, a leader of the Mennonite churches of Ukraine/Russia.

Rempel started out as a poor stable boy but eventually became a university professor.

He did this with an enduring faith as he followed God’s leading hand, applied his own abilities, and was encouraged by the generous financial assistance of a wealthy supporter.

Jacob A. Rempel Memorial Scholarship recipient Joshua Nightingale with Ted Fransen
Jacob A. Rempel Memorial Scholarship recipient Joshua Nightingale (right) is thankful to Ted Fransen (left) and his family.

Rempel’s life was cut short on Sept. 11, 1941 when he was executed for his beliefs under Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship.

Rempel’s family is grateful that someone noticed a “diamond in the rough” in that stable boy and provided the means for his education.

Through the Jacob A. Rempel Memorial Scholarship, the family wishes to encourage students who show academic promise and a strong interest and aptitude for church ministry.

Joshua Nightingale, who is completing his Master’s degree during the 2017-18 school year, is the most recent recipient of the scholarship.

Nightingale said he appreciates the money he received.

“It meant that I didn’t have to work this past summer and could focus on writing my thesis,” said Nightingale, whose thesis wrestles with the presence and absence of God for those who have experienced trauma.

Nightingale hopes to eventually go on to doctoral studies.

CMU donor Ted Fransen stands with Joshua Nightingale and CMU represenatives.
CMU donor Ted Fransen (from left) stands with Karl Koop, Director of the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry; Joshua Nightingale, graduate student at CMU; Abram Bergen, Development Associate; and Cheryl Pauls, President of CMU.

Fransen said he feels a warm sense of appreciation meeting and hearing from students like Nightingale who have benefited from the scholarship, as well as a sense of optimism that the future is in good hands.

“These are well-meaning, purposeful, intelligent people who are honouring the wishes of the scholarship and moving forward in theological studies,” Fransen said. “In other words, the scholarship is doing its job: it’s encouraging young men and women of faith to pursue theological studies so that they can serve the church.”

Fransen added that he appreciates CMU for continuing to provide an excellent theological program.

“There’s a sense of alignment between the purpose of the scholarship, the legacy of our grandfather, and the purpose of CMU,” he said. “It’s a great alignment.”



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Articles Faculty Profiles

Faculty: In Their Own Words – Dr. Rachel Krause

Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology, has taught at CMU since 2015.

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

A first-year course called The Evolutionary and Ecological Revolution. Part of the course is based in the Assiniboine Forest. We had a field trip out there with naturalists from the city, and now students are spending the whole semester in the forest, thinking about it and learning about it individually. I spend a lot of time in the forest because I want to know what’s going on there, too. I love that going to the forest is part of my curriculum.

What are you researching and writing?

I’m finishing a project in Panama on food security and child growth. I also have an ongoing collaboration in Panama on wildlife parasitology and human health, and I recently started working with a research scientist with fisheries and oceans here in Manitoba, working on the Carmine shiner, which is a threatened species in the province. It’s a little, tiny fish that is found in a few rivers here. We’re doing a study of parasites in the fish, and also looking at how parasite infection influences metabolic rate and sensitivity to temperature changes, kind of with climate change in mind.

What you are reading for enjoyment?

During the school year, I tend to just read fun things, so I’m reading a P.D. James murder mystery right now. Something with “Murder” or “Blood” in the title—I don’t remember. (laughs)

Where or how do students give you hope?

They care. Many of them are really invested in connecting the things they’re studying to the other parts of their lives. To me, the things that I teach matter, so to see students pick up on that and try to work it into how they live their lives is really rewarding for me.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I’m part of a project spearheaded by Jobb Arnold, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College. This project brings together youth from a couple of Winnipeg high schools that have a lot of Indigenous and newcomer youth. The youth learn about climate change, but really, the intention is to build community, and build connections and relationships. Jobb teaches conflict resolution, so he’s all about building resilient communities in the face of something like climate change. I went along with them on a field trip to Shoal Lake 40 to talk about water stewardship. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of that, and to use my expertise as an ecologist to help facilitate a part of this larger network of learning for these youth.

What saying or motto inspires you?

A few years ago, I heard a sermon and the speaker made a comment about how it’s OK for us to be imperfect, because that gives people around us the permission to be imperfect. I’m trying to embrace that as part of my mentorship to students. For them to see me as imperfect gives them permission to be themselves and not have to be perfect, either.


In darkness, dwell

By April Klassen, 4th-year Interdisciplinary Studies: Community Development

This past semester I had the opportunity to walk with the Bear Clan Patrol as the practicum for my Community Development degree. The Bear Clan Patrol embodies an Indigenous-led, community-based approach to crime prevention activated by patrolling the streets of Winnipeg’s North End five nights per week. It began as a response to the tragedy of our missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The Bear Clan Patrol has many different responsibilities, including collecting needles, handing out care packages, providing safewalks, and being a friendly and positive presence.

April Klassen and the Bear Clan Patrol
CMU student April Klassen with a group joining the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg’s North End.

The Bear Clan Patrol is often requested to marshal various memorials or marches. I recently participated in one such memorial, this time a candlelight vigil and march held in honour and memory of Marilyn Rose Munroe. Rose was found murdered one year ago and her death remains a cold case to this day. The vigil was hosted by Rose’s family and friends, who shared stories and sang songs as we held candles and walked the length of the North End neighbourhood.

I had never participated in a vigil before, nor do I know anyone who has been murdered. I have never had to fear for my life, nor the lives of my family and friends, and I have no reason to think that this should ever be a part of my reality. Yet as we walked, in silence, holding candles in the darkness, I thought about what this experience must be like for my fellow patrol members.

I looked at Sara, the quiet, funny, smart, young Indigenous woman walking next to me who is about my age and lives in the North End. Statistically speaking, Sara has likely been to many vigils and probably knows more than one person who has gone missing or been murdered.

As we walked I wondered what it was like for her to participate in such an event, knowing that it is not out of the realm of possibility that someday she might hold a vigil for her sister, her mother, her daughter—or that one might be held for her! Or, what was it like for her boyfriend and his buddies, who walked just a few steps behind us? Did they fear for the women in their lives, for their sisters and mothers and daughters and partners, or have people become so accustomed to the horror and tragedy that it has become normalized? Did bystanders see the vigil as a sign of resistance, of resilience, something to be celebrated or, was it simply a visible reminder of the pain and death faced by so many families in the community?

The strength that it takes to face the darkness, to stand on the sidewalk and acknowledge the hurt of your community, of your people, of your nation—this is a strength to which I aspire. It would be a vast understatement to state there is darkness in the North End. The history of Canada and of its Indigenous people is very dark, and its legacy continues today. If we are to seek reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, we need to step into that darkness. For me, that step was literal, as I spent six hours of each week with a flashlight walking the poorly lit North End streets.

This darkness is a hard place to be in, and it can be scary at times. One incredible thing I’ve learned is that communities like the North End, and all the diverse Indigenous people and nations of this land, already live in this space. That particular night we walked in darkness because a member of that community had been murdered, and as a community, we created a light that pushed against that darkness.

A first step toward reconciliation will be releasing our tight grip on our comfortable, safely-lit lives and stepping into the darkness. When we get there we will realize that we do not dwell in the darkness alone.

The longer we spend there and the more often we return, the more we will find ourselves becoming a part of the community, welcomed by their embodiment of God’s transformative power, to participate in the redemption of this world.

Articles Student Profiles

CMU student records announcements for the Canada Summer Games

CMU student Jason Friesen recorded PA announcements for the Canada Summer Games.

If you attend the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg this summer, chances are good that you’ll hear Jason Friesen’s voice.

This past spring, Jason recorded announcements that will be broadcast over the PA systems at venues throughout the games, which start tomorrow (Friday, July 28).

The announcements endorse the companies and organizations that are supporting the games, and also let spectators know things like where they can buy merchandise and how they can connect with the games on social media.

Jason, who completed his fourth year at CMU this past April, has some prior recording experience, thanks to taking the Media Workshop class with David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media at CMU.

The class teaches students how to research, write, and record interview segments for broadcast on the radio and internet.

Jason worked with Balzer, recording engineer Darryl Neustaedter Barg, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste to record the English version of the announcements at the studio in Mennonite Church Manitoba, which is located next to CMU’s Shaftesbury campus.

CMU students Emily Hamm, Jason Friesen, Thomas Friesen, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste pose for a picture in the recording studio.

Recording the announcements was a fun experience, Jason says.

“It feels like a different level when it’s going to be broadcast in venues across Winnipeg and people from across Canada will hear it,” he says.

“It really makes you focus on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, that you’re doing it right and doing it in a way that grabs people’s attention while they’re at these venues.”

Jason, who is majoring in Communications and Media, is an avid sports fan and a member of the CMU Blazers Men’s Volleyball team.

“Watching sports, you always hear these announcements going over the loudspeaker,” Jason says.

“That will be me now, I guess. It’s a dream come true in some senses—not one I had set my mind to, but it’s neat to take advantage of (the opportunity).”

CMU student Thomas Friesen has spent the past year working as one of five sports and venues coordinators for the Canada Summer Games.

The opportunity came about as a result of Thomas Friesen (no relation to Jason), a CMU student who has spent the past year working as a sports and venues coordinator for the Canada Summer Games Host Society.

In addition to coordinating the venues and volunteers for the volleyball, golf, basketball, and triathlon competitions, Thomas’s work has involved producing the content that will be broadcast over the PA systems at the games. (Read more about Thomas’s experience working for the Games here.)

Like Jason, Thomas is majoring in Communications and Media. He took the Media Workshop class during the winter 2016 semester, which sparked his interest in getting CMU involved when it came time to recording the announcements he needed for the games.

Thomas knew that working with David, Darryl, and Jason would result in a professional recording.

“Just to get CMU involved in that way seemed like a great idea,” Thomas says. “They did an awesome job. They sound great. It’s pretty cool to think we’ll have (a CMU student) being the English voice of the games.”

This year’s Canada Summer Games will include 16 sports and 250-plus events featuring more than 4,000 athletes.

Over 7,000 volunteers were recruited to make the games possible, and more than 20,000 visitors are expected at the events.

The games start this Friday and go until Sunday, August 13. It’s the 50th anniversary of the games.

For Thomas, a lifelong sports fan who has played soccer and volleyball with the CMU Blazers, working for the games has been a dream come true.

“One of the best things about it is just working with people in sport,” Thomas says.

He adds that the passion he’s encountered from his supervisors, colleagues, and the volunteers is palpable.

“That’s probably the coolest thing,” he says, “always seeing that passion everywhere we go.”

Articles Student Profiles

Graduate student explores his Mennonite roots at CMU

“What does it mean for me to be a Mennonite?”

That’s the question that brought Daniel Rempel to CMU. Rempel is finding the answers to that question as he works toward a Master of Arts in Theological Studies in CMU’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry.

Daniel Rempel
Daniel Rempel, student with CMU’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry: “You come together with people who have similar goals and a similar desire to better understand God.”

Rempel’s question first occurred to him while he was earning an undergraduate degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Providence University College in Otterburne, MB.

“While I was there, I got introduced to a whole host of other denominations,” Rempel says, including Anglicans, Baptists, and Pentecostals.

“Being introduced to all these other Christian traditions caused me to really start thinking about what it means for me to be a Mennonite… Is it something I identify with because I believe in it? Or is it something I identify with because I don’t know anything else?”

Studying in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry, where the professors are approaching topics from an Anabaptist perspective, has stoked Rempel’s interest.

“Coming to theology from that perspective has been enriching and made me want to learn more about my tradition,” Rempel says.

Halfway through his degree, Rempel is enjoying his time at CMU. The academics are rigorous, but professors are always available to support students and help them succeed.

“Pretty much every professor that I’ve had has just been fantastic,” Rempel says. His fellow students are also fantastic.

“You can’t learn in isolation, and so I’ve always found the classroom to be a life-giving place,” Rempel says. “You come together with people who have similar goals and a similar desire to better understand God.”

In his classmates, Rempel has found people he can be friends with, bounce ideas off of, and continue the conversation with once class is over.

“That’s been helpful and beneficial,” he says.

The affordability of tuition and the availability of bursaries has also made studying at CMU worthwhile, Rempel adds.

“Compared to other schools it is very affordable, and I’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of some very significant bursaries from some very generous donors,” he says.

Rempel is preparing to write a thesis that will explore how the church can be more welcoming and inclusive toward people with disabilities. His interest in the topic stems from working in group homes for the past two years.

“I’ve been really enlivened by that work,” Rempel says. “My eyes have been opened to the world that people with disabilities are living in… (It) has led me to ask some of these questions, and I’m looking for theological answers to my questions.” Rempel is considering doing a PhD after he finishes his Master’s.

“I’m definitely trying to keep that door open, but ultimately what drives me in my studies is that I want to do theology in a way that benefits the church,” he says.

In the meantime, he’s happy at CMU.

“I’m very thankful for the people here and for what I’ve learned so far,” Rempel says. “I’m about halfway through my degree now, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.


Youth invited to explore ‘reconciling relationships’ at new CMU peace event

In the spirit of its popular Peace-It-Together event, and together with a range of ministry partners, CMU is launching a brand-new gathering for high-school youth this fall.

Titled sixpointeight: equipping peacebuilders, the event takes place from 2:00 to 8:00 PM on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Youth in grades 9 to 12 from across Canada are invited to gather around the theme, “Reconciling Relationships in the Way of Jesus.”

Six Point Eight Promotional ImageIn addition to featuring keynote addresses by Kathy Giesbrecht, Associate Director of Leadership Ministries at Mennonite Church Manitoba, and Lloyd Letkeman, Mission Mobilizer at MB Mission, sixpointeight will feature worship, inspiring workshops modelled after TED talks, and diverse opportunities for youth to reflect on, and respond to, what they have learned.

“This event extends CMU’s commitment to educate for peace-justice,” says Terry Schellenberg, Vice President External and head of the sixpointeight planning committee. “As with many of CMU’s initiatives, we’re gratified to bring together a diverse range of church, church school, and service agencies to offer this significant peace-equipping youth gathering.”

Planned to coincide with Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Delegate Assembly in Winnipeg October 13-15, sixpointeight takes its name from Micah 6:8: “…to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Together with CMU, MB Mission, Mennonite Church Manitoba, Mennonite Brethren Church Manitoba, Mennonite Central Committee, Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, and Mennonite Collegiate Institute are all co-sponsoring and planning the event.

Sixpointeight will replace the long-running Peace It Together conference, which was held for the last time in 2015.

Visit for more information.


JCFS honours CMU Music Therapy practicum collaboration

On June 19, Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS), honoured Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) Music Therapy program, for their collaboration with JCFS’s new Music and Memory program.

In January, staff at JCFS approached CMU about partnering in a brand-new program for older adults in different stages of memory loss.

Cheryl Hirsh Katz, Lee-Anne Adams, and Einat Paz-Keynan
L-R: Cheryl Hirsh Katz, Manager of Adult Services, JCFS, Lee-Anne Adams, Instructor of Music Therapy, CMU, and Einat Paz-Keynan, Manager of Volunteer Services, JCFS, celebrate the collaboration between CMU’s Music Therapy program and JCFS’s Music and Memory program.
(photo courtesy of JCFS).

“We thought it would be a good fit,” says Einat Paz-Keynan, Manager of Volunteer Services at JCFS. “Between our needs for the Music and Memory program, and their skills in Music Therapy, as well as their field placement requirements, it was a perfect match.”

The goal of the Music and Memory program is to help people with memory loss unlock memories not yet lost to illnesses like Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and to reinvigorate participants, enabling them to converse and stay present.

From January to April, CMU Music Therapy program students Deidra Borus and Michaela Olson, met with clients in their homes, bringing iPods pre-programmed with music specially selected for the client.

Initially, they would play the music from the iPod, and listen to it with the clients. But as the semester progressed, Borus and Olson started to bring in the element of live music.

“I would find out what their favourite songs were, and I would learn it on guitar,” says Borus. “Playing and singing provided a different perspective.”

One client Borus met with showed little response at first. But on one particular day, Borus began playing a traditional Jewish hymn, and within seconds, she recalls, the elderly client started speaking the lyrics and was eventually singing along.

“That reaction blew my mind. I’ve never had a client of any age respond to a piece of music that quickly.”

“Deidra and Michaela were able to take it a lot further because of their music therapy skills and training,” says Lee-Anne Adams, one of two Music Therapy Faculty at CMU.

CMU’s Music Therapy program trains students in the skillful and systematic use of music and all of its facets—emotional, mental, social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual—to assist in promoting, maintaining, and restoring health. The program is the only one of its kind offered across the prairie provinces and is accredited by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT).

“At the beginning, we didn’t know where this would lead,” says Paz-Keynan. “But we’re very happy with the outcomes of the program.”

In the future, Paz-Keynan says JCFS hopes to have more CMU Music Therapy students doing practicum placements with the Music and Memory program.

“I’m really proud of the work our students have done this year,” says Adams. “They did some very beautiful work. And I’m really pleased to have JCFS acknowledge the success of our partnership this way.”

For more information about studying Music Therapy at CMU, visit:


Students to explore gender and violence in peacebuilding course

When Dr. Carol Penner was asked to teach a course at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) examining gender, violence, and peacebuilding, she was happy to oblige.

“I think it’s a course that’s really needed by the church,” says Penner, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, ON. “People need to think more about gender and the difference it makes in the church, especially in terms of peacebuilding.”

CMU’s 2017 Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP) is offering the course, titled Gender and Violence: Theology and Peacebuilding, June 19-23.

Carol Penner, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, ON will teach a course titled Gender and Violence: Theology and Peacebuilding during the week of June 19 at CMU’s Canadian School of Peacebuilding

The course will examine the task of peacebuilding from the perspective of feminist theology. It will seek to hear from a variety of voices and explore a range of experiences and thought.

Among the topics the course will explore is that of the role Christianity has played in perpetuating gendered violence.

“In a society that’s ordered in a patriarchal way, where men are at the top of the ladder, women are at the bottom… how does power get distributed?” Penner asks. “Violence is something that happens when there’s unequal power, so for women who have traditionally been at the bottom… violence comes their way.

The church, Penner notes, is part of this ordering of society that puts men in charge and tasks women with doing whatever men say—even the Mennonite church.

“As Mennonites, we’re often brought up to think that we’re all brothers and sisters, (and) you’re not supposed to look at power dynamics—who’s on top and who’s on the bottom,” Penner says.

“Why do men have the power? Why is it this way?” she asks, pointing out that in all Mennonite denominations, men still far outnumber women when it comes to leadership roles.

Penner’s course asks how to construct theologies of peace that are good news for both women and men.

To do that, Penner says, people must listen to the voices of people in both church and society who are in pain.

She points to missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as people who have been victims of physical, sexual and other forms of abuse within many church communities, as two examples.

For Penner, a key question is: How can people in the church use scripture to build mutually supportive relationships, where people can be everything God wants them to be, rather than reducing them to gender stereotypes?

Penner, an alumna of Canadian Mennonite Bible College, one of CMU’s predecessor institutions, has worked for more than two decades as a pastor, a chaplain, a university lecturer, and a freelance writer.

Her experience in the field of peacebuilding, as well as her academic background, made her an obvious choice to teach at the CSOP, says Val Smith, co-director of the school.

“This idea of how gender intersects with violence and peacebuilding felt like an extremely important topic to keep working at,” Smith says. “The subject matter is extremely relevant to our world today, and Dr. Penner comes highly recommended as an excellent teacher.”

Penner will have a full classroom of 30 students when she teaches the course. Her hope for the week is that the students will form a community where they can learn not only from her, but from one another.

“I hope people leave the course perhaps thinking in a new or refreshed way about gender, and feeling positive,” Penner say.

“God calls all of us—women and men—to a deeper life. I’m hoping students leave feeling they have encountered something deeper in their faith in God.”

Articles Faculty Profiles

Faculty: In Their Own Words – David Balzer

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media, has taught at CMU since 2009.

What do you love about your work here?

I love it when I can mentor students to find their voice. I mean that almost literally, because when students first walk into the recording studio, it’s often quite an unnerving and anxious-filled experience for them to speak into a mic and literally discover the tone of their voice—and then on a deeper level, to find out who they are as creative communicators.

What are you researching and writing?

I’ve got two projects on the go. One of them is on the history of Mennonites and radio in Manitoba. I’m looking at two seminal radio programs that originated in the late 1940s and 50s: “The Gospel Light Hour” from the Mennonite Brethren community, and “Abundant Life” from what was then known as the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. I’m trying to understand the way these programs were shaped theologically as well as shaped from a communications theory perspective. My hunch is that exploring these two programs might tell us something about why we’re doing broadcasting the way we are now. The other thing I have on the go is my ongoing “Oh My God” project.

Where or how do students give you hope?

A student who is originally from Uganda walked into my office the other day and she said, “I have a dream.” The media in her country is governed by a very different system—one that doesn’t allow grassroots efforts to easily have a voice or access. She wants to take what she’s learning here at CMU and bring it back to her home country. She’s started to understand the power of media, and she wants to empower local writers and journalists to be able to tell their stories. That’s inspiring. That gives me hope.

What do you most long for in your work?

The thing I really long for is for students to recognize communication as a gift from God. We’ve been given this incredibly beautiful ability to communicate. That’s something that’s fragile, so how do we give that gift away in a way that is life-giving? I hope students will get that.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I’ve developed a series of workshops that I present at schools and churches called, Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful. It tries to get participants thinking about how we use social media, and also presents some very direct how-tos they might use if their social media use is going to be beautiful in the end. I don’t go out there as an expert, but instead I tell people, I’m living the question just like they are.

What saying or motto inspires you?

I have a couple one-liners that I use to keep me focused. One that I like is, “Communicating for Life,” with a capital L. That in a nutshell encapsulates my desire to equip and help people, and also produce things that at the end of the day lead people to capital L Life with the One who created us.

Articles Uncategorized

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.