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Past Menno Simons Lectures: 2010s

2015 Lecture

Jeff Gundy – Wrestling with Mennonite/s Writing

Jeff Gundy, professor of English at Bluffton (Ohio) University since 1984, has published six books of poems and four of prose, most recently Somewhere Near Defiance (Anhinga, 2014), Songs from an Empty Cage: Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism, and Peace (Cascadia, 2013) and Spoken among the Trees (Akron, 2008). His poems and essays have appeared in Georgia Review, Image, Kenyon Review, The Christian Century, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Conrad Grebel Review, Nimrod and many other magazines. Gundy was a 2008 Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Salzburg, and taught at LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, in spring 2015. Other awards and honors include two C. Henry Smith Peace Lecturerships at Bluffton, a Bechtel Lectureship at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario, a Yoder Lectureship at Goshen (Indiana) College, the Dale Brown Book Award (for Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing) and multiple poetry fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council.

  • Imagining Mennonite/s Writing: Wrestlers, Rebels and Assorted Others
  • Hearing Mennonite/s Writing: Somewhere Near Defiance
  • Looking for Mennonite/s Writing: The Village, the City and the So-Called Real World

2014 Lecture

Going Global with God in the Third Millennium

Walter Sawatsky, Elkhart, Indiana, is professor emeritus of church history and mission at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. He is a former research scholar with Mennonite Central Committee and edited two journals, Religion in Eastern Europe and Mission Focus: Annual Review. He was coordinator of the 33-volume Russian Bible Commentary translation project (1978–93); a member of the Global Mennonite History Project Organizing Committee (1997–2011); and convener of the conference Mirror on the Globalization of Mennonite Witness, November 2011 at AMBS. Sawatsky has continued to teach periodically since retiring from AMBS in 2012, as well as working on numerous writing projects.)

  • Pluralities of Mennonite History – Why Russian Mennonites as Paradigm?
  • Reconciling Free Churches to Two Millennia of Global Christianity
  • After 500 Years – Pressing Issues on Globalization of Mennonite Witness
  • Full-Orbed Integration of Worship, Ethics, Nonviolence and Public Theology for the 21st Century

2013 Lecture

The Semiotics of Zwieback, Sauerkraut and Spring Rolls: Mennonites and Foodways

Marlene Epp is professor of history and peace & conflict studies and director of Mennonite studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario.

  • Eating Like a Mennonite: Food and Identity
  • Are We Eating ‘Just’ Food?
  • Eating across Borders: Mennonite Missions and Migrations
  • ‘Just’ Recipes: Re-reading Mennonite Cookbooks


60th Menno Simons Lecture

Keith L. Sprunger is Oswald H. Wedel Professor Emeritus of History at Bethel College. He taught at Bethel 1963-2001.

Sprunger is a native of Berne, Indiana. His undergraduate education was at Wheaton (Ill.) College, and he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in early European and English history. His main scholarly interests are 17th-century English. Dutch and American Puritanism; Mennonite history; the history of printing; oral history; historic preservation; and, of course, the history of Bethel College.

Publications include The Learned Doctor William Ames (1972), Dutch Puritanism (1982), and Trumpets from the Tower (1994). The recent history of the college is his eighth book. He enjoys collecting antiquarian books and Bethel postcards.

Keith and his wife Aldine are parents of three children, David, Mary and Philip. All three are college teachers and graduates of Bethel College.

  • Bethel, the Light in the West: The 19th-century Origins of the College
  • Listening to the Students’ Voices: Postcards, T-Shirts and Underground Opinions
  • Bethel in the 1960s: The Crucial Decade
  • Writing the History of Kansas Mennonite Colleges - Comparative Views (panel discussion)
    Perry White, Bethel College; John Sharp, Hesston College; Richard Kyle, Tabor College, Keith Sprunger, Bethel College


Think, Celebrate, Sing: A Worship and the Arts Symposium


The Future of Anabaptism as a Global Movement

John Roth, Professor of history, Director of Mennonite Historical Library and Editor of Mennonite Quarterly Review, Goshen College, Indiana)

  • What Hath Zurich to do with Addis Ababa?: Anabaptism as a Global Movement
  • The Christian Faith in Global Perspective
  • Tap Root or Rhizome?: Retelling the Anabaptist Story as if the Global Church Mattered
  • The Coming Shape of Anabaptism: Envisioning the Global Mennonite Church of the Future

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.