Four alumnae of Goshen (Indiana) College participated in the May 6 commencement service of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana:
Beth Gerig ’84 of Mishawaka, Indiana, anticipates graduating in December 2018 with a Master of Divinity with a major in Pastoral Care and Counseling. She also has been selected to receive the Award for Excellence in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the seminary’s Church and Ministry Department. Gerig plans to continue in her part-time staff position at Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend, Indiana, and to pursue chaplaincy work in various healthcare settings. She and her husband, Kevin Gerig ’83, have four children, and her parents are Simon J. and Marjorie Good of Kouts, Indiana. She previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Goshen College.
“The opportunities to study the extensive history of the biblical canon and to delve deeply into various areas of Scripture have cultivated a profound respect for and engagement with the Bible in ways I could never have imagined,” Gerig said.
Sophia Marie Lapp Jost ’13 of Goshen, Indiana, graduated May 6 with a Master of Divinity with a major in Pastoral Ministry. She also was selected to receive the Award for Excellence in Preaching from the seminary’s Church and Ministry Department. She and her husband, David Lapp Jost ’11, plan to serve overseas. She is a member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen, and her parents are John ’82 and Sandra Shenk Lapp ’82 of Goshen. Lapp Jost previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Religion and Philosophy from Goshen College.
“The AMBS community has been a wonderful blessing throughout my seminary experience,” she reflected. “Perhaps more than anything, the friendships and relationships I made while at AMBS helped guide me through classwork, build self-confidence and grow into my calling toward leadership in the church.”
Mariah Kate Martin ’16 of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, graduated May 6 with a Master of Divinity with a major in Pastoral Ministry. She plans to marry Nick Bouwman ’10 in July and is pursuing a pastoral ministry assignment. A member of Defiance Church in Glenwood Springs, she attends Faith Mennonite Church in Goshen. Martin previously earned an Associate of Arts from Hesston (Kansas) College and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Goshen College. She is the daughter of Kim and Lauren Martin of New Castle, Colorado; her father, Lauren, earned a Master of Divinity from AMBS in 1990.
“Leaving AMBS, I will carry with me and treasure the opportunities the seminary gave me to find my voice,” she said. “I was supported and encouraged to listen well, speak mindfully and to embrace the simple power of sitting with others in their joys and sorrows.”
Sarah A. Schlegel ’06 of Kokomo, Indiana, anticipates graduating in July 2018 with a Master of Divinity with a major in Pastoral Ministry. She also has been selected to receive the Award for Excellence in Christian Formation from the seminary’s Church and Ministry Department. Schlegel, who completed part of her degree at a distance through the seminary’s MDiv Connect program, will continue as a pastor at Howard-Miami Mennonite Church in Kokomo. She and her husband, Ben Schlegel, have two sons, and her parents are Don ’78 and Rebecca Rohrer ’79 of Elkhart. Schlegel previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations from Goshen College.
“I took seminary classes while serving as a pastor at Howard-Miami Mennonite Church,” she reflected. “The best part of my seminary education was the willingness of every professor to allow me to adapt projects and papers to aid my ministry work. Doing seminary classes through the MDiv Connect program while pastoring in a congregation was not always easy, but the two complemented each other in Spirit-filled ways.”
Of the 21 graduates honored during the commencement service, which was held at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, 12 earned a Master of Divinity, five earned a Master of Arts in Christian Formation, and one earned a Master of Arts: Peace Studies. Three students received a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies, representing the equivalent of one year of study. Palmer Becker ’58, D.Min., a church leader, pastor, missionary, author, educator and GC alum from Kitchener, Ontario, gave the commencement address.
The graduating class comprised seven men and 14 women from Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Romania. Two graduates originally came to the U.S. as refugees, fleeing war in their home countries of Laos and Zimbabwe.
Eighteen of the graduates are affiliated with Mennonite Church USA; one with the Evana Network; one with the Brethren in Christ U.S.; and one with the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. One is nondenominational.
More than 70 percent of the graduates are serving as pastors or seeking pastoral or chaplaincy assignments. Four are pursuing mission or service work, and one is seeking work in faith-based community organizing. Half of the graduates served as paid pastors or congregational staff members while earning their seminary degrees.
AMBS educates leaders from a variety of Anabaptist and other Christian traditions, both on campus and at a distance. Areas of focus in the seminary’s master’s degree programs include pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, Christian formation, theology and peace studies, conflict transformation, international development and environmental sustainability leadership. More than 2,500 alumni serve as church, organizational and community leaders in Elkhart County and around the world. Learn more: ambs.edu