Myron S. Augsburger Endowed Chair of Theology

Myron and Esther Augsburger

Mission and purpose

The Myron S. Augsburger Endowed Chair of Theology extends the vision of Myron S. Augsburger to equip church leaders through evangelical Anabaptist theological reflection and ministry practice. Eastern Mennonite Seminary equips men and women to proclaim the good news of Christ in word and deed.

History

Myron S. Augsburger’s ministry has extended from the local church to international evangelistic preaching missions, including ecumenical efforts across the United States and Canada. He has served as an evangelist, church planter and pastor, as well as the moderator of his denomination—the Mennonite Church. He has five earned degrees, including a Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He served as President of EMU from 1965-1980, as Professor of Theology at EMU, and as President of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, 1988-1995. He is the author of numerous articles and more than twenty books.

Vision

In a postmodern world filled with confusion and hopelessness, we envision:

Theological clarity
Ecumenical ministry
Academic integrity
Confident witness
Healthy churches

Elements of the chair

The financial goal for the Myron S. Augsburger Chair of Theology is $3 million to fund the following elements:

Financial Assistance to students ($1 million): The chair will provide financial aid to students in ministry training who demonstrate particular need. Many students decide to pursue ministry studies in midlife, so they have families to support. Their savings can quickly be depleted. Others need assistance because they come from congregations and communities with fewer resources. We want all of our students to complete their ministry training with little or no educational debt.

Church Partnership Programs ($1 million): The chair will enable us to provide important theological resources beyond the walls of the seminary. Through its cultivation of church partnerships, the seminary stays in close in touch with our constituent churches. We design innovative ministry programs to meet their stated needs. A few examples follow:

  • The Preaching Institute – an innovative off-campus learning process for men and women who want to improve their preaching ministry.
  • Distance Learning – a way for students from all over the world to link up with their instructors and classmates through computer technology. Pastors and church workers not able to attend traditional graduate-level classes because of career, family or geographic limitations are able to study through the EMS Distance Learning Program.
  • Creating a Culture of Call – a program that cooperates with district church conferences to call forth leaders from within congregations. It also trains mentors to equip newly emerging leaders in congregational settings.

Theological Faculty ($1 million): The chair will enable the seminary to support highly qualified theological faculty who equip men and women to do careful theological reflection. To minister effectively, they must be grounded in a relationship with Jesus Christ and have the ability to apply biblical and theological insights in an increasingly multicultural, inter-religious society.

Making a difference

Ministry training makes a difference, as the following people attest:

“In my pastoral work, I continually draw from the wells that were dug at EMS.”
Andrew Dyck – King Road Mennonite Brethren Church; Abbotsford, BC

“The Preaching Institute has just given me a wealth of tools. I knew I wanted to take my preaching to a higher level, but I wasn’t clear on what that was or how to get there. The institute helped me to crystallize where I wanted to go and then provided some practical tools that I can use immediately.”
Chester Yoder – Glade Mennonite Church; Accident, MD

“I am more conscious of how I physically present myself preaching. I believe that I stand straighter, and gesture more naturally. My study of the Bible text that I am preparing to preach from has deepened. I seek to understand and experience that text personally much more thoroughly before going to the commentaries. Previously, I began with commentaries after settling on a text. I believe that this personalizing of the text has made my preaching more personal and relevant.”
Lee Martin – Mt. Clinton Mennonite Church; Harrisonburg, VA

Contributions

Contributions to the Myron S. Augsburger Endowed Chair of Theology may be made online or sent to:

Development Office
Eastern Mennonite University
1200 Park Road
Harrisonburg VA 22802

If you have questions, email:

To discuss making a major gift, call Phil Helmuth, executive director of development, at 1-800-368-3383.