From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Newsline: Bethany Seminary calls Ruthann Knechel Johansen as president

From "COBNews Newsline" <>
Date Thu, 21 Jun 2007 13:43:12 -0500

Newsline: Church of the Brethren News Service -- June 21, 2007 Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, News Director 800-323-8039 ext. 260 --


(June 21, 2007) Elgin, IL -- The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees has called Ruthann Knechel Johansen of Granger, Ind., as president, beginning July 1. Bethany Seminary is located in Richmond, Ind., and is the graduate school and academy for theological education for the Church of the Brethren.

Johansen, who has served as adjunct faculty at Bethany and has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School (1992-93) and Princeton Theological Seminary (1983-84), said in accepting the appointment: "The Church of the Brethren, our society, and the world need the faith and Christ-centered vision Bethany Theological Seminary and our church have offered since their foundings.... Bethany Seminary is not simply an institution charged with educating professional clergy; it is also an inspirational resource for study and empowerment for all believers within and beyond the denomination who seek to embody the love, justice, mercy, and peace of Jesus Christ in an often fearful and violent world."

She is currently a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and a faculty fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. For 13 years she administered and taught in the College of Arts and Letters interdisciplinary seminar "Ideas, Values, Images" at Notre Dame. She also has received a Kaneb Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Distinguished Notre Dame Woman Award.

She holds a Ph.D. in English with emphasis on religious, psychological, and philosophical thought in literature from Drew University, an M.A. in English from Columbia University Teachers College, and a B.S. in English and music from Manchester College. She has been a guest lecturer in numerous venues, including professional associations, Earlham College, Juniata College, Manchester College, Bethany Seminary, and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

She is the author of several books and publications, including "Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark: Reconstructing Life after Brain Injury," "The Narrative Secret of Flannery O'Connor: The Trickster as Interpreter," "Coming Together: Male and Female in a Renamed Garden," "Peacemaking and Global Justice," "Our Babel: What Shall We Do with the Language," and "Turning from Underneath: On Oppression and Power." She has written for "Brethren Life and Thought," the Church of the Brethren curriculum series "Guide to Biblical Studies," and the "Messenger" magazine of the Church of the Brethren.

Johansen is a member of Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., and is moderator-elect of Northern Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren. She has served on denominational study committees and was a member of the Bethany Seminary Board of Trustees from 1985-95.

"The Board of Trustees of Bethany Seminary is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ruthann Knechel Johansen as the next president of Bethany Theological Seminary," said chair Anne M. Reid. "She brings a deep love of the Gospel and the Kingdom and a great appreciation for the denomination to the office. Her skills in listening and in reconciliation will be invaluable in helping the seminary relate to the larger church."

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts about 130,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.

This release was contributed by Marcia Shetler, director of Public Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

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For more information contact:

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford Director of News Services Church of the Brethren General Board 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 800-323-8039 ext. 260

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