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Bethel students sweep 2008 Sider Institute competition

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College swept the seventh annual Anabaptist research paper competition sponsored by the Sider Institute at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa.

The first-place award of $500 went to Jordan Penner, senior from Reedley, Calif., for his paper “Gaining a voice: Hispanic Mennonites in North America.” Meredith Lehman, sophomore from Bluffton, Ohio, took the second-place prize of $300 for her paper “Poetry and politics: Gender-inclusive language in Hymnal: A Worship Book.” Peter Miller, senior from Partridge, won the third-place prize of $200 with his paper “Prophecy and pacifism: Mennonite response to the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1948 and 1967.”

Penner and Miller will graduate in May with majors in history. Both are double majors, in Spanish and in Bible and religion, respectively. Penner’s winning paper was an early, condensed version of his senior seminar while Miller wrote his for a class in Mennonite history. Lehman is also a double major in history and Bible and religion. She wrote her paper for the class Race and Ethnicity in American History.

Papers for this year’s competition must have been written by undergraduates from any discipline during the 2006–07 or 2007–08 academic years. College or university graduates from 2007 are eligible to submit papers they wrote as undergraduates. The papers must address an Anabaptist-related subject (contemporary or historical), show evidence of thorough research and demonstrate original thinking.

The Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies facilitates the exploration and interpretation of the three theological traditions that have long shaped the “personality” of Messiah College’s founding denomination, the Brethren in Christ Church. More specifically, the Sider Institute nurtures scholarly research, sponsors public lectures and supports various interpretive activities that advance the understanding of these theological traditions. It was founded in 1999 and named in honor of professor emeritus E. Morris and Leone Sider.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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