John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College, received the Annual Ecumenism Award at a service at the Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, Feb. 13th, 2018. He received the award alongside Dr. Timothy Wengert, professor emeritus at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia.
This award is in recognition of their work that led to the 2010 service of reconciliation between the Lutheran World Federation and the Mennonite World Conference, which produced the historic document “Healing of Memories: Reconciling in Christ.”
He also presented the Figel Lecture for Ecumenism, “Healing of Memory: Lessons for Church Unity from the Lutheran-Mennonite Dialogue.”
This annual address focuses on contemporary issues in ecumenism and is sponsored by the layman-ecumenist Jack Figel. It occurs in conjunction with the Prayer Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and includes the annual Ecumenism Award of the Consortium.
“For me this is a symbolic marker on a journey that I, along with the larger Mennonite Church, have been on for nearly 20 years,” Roth said.
The idea of healing memory, or as the dialogue promotes, “remembering rightly,” has had a major impact on many ecumenical dialogues that address histories of oppression, suffering and misunderstanding.
Roth also serves as director of the Mennonite Historical Library and editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review. He has written several books, including Beliefs: Mennonite Faith and Practice, Practices: Mennonite Worship and Witness, Stories: How Mennonites Came to Be, and Choosing Against War: A Christian View. He is the director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA), and a co-author (with Conrad Kanagy and Elizabeth Miller) The Global Anabaptist Profile: Belief and Practice in 24 Mennonite World Conference Churches . He has also authored numerous articles and writes a regular column on the global Anabaptist-Mennonite church for The Mennonite.