End of year celebrations and awards at MB Biblical Seminary

By Megan E. Richard

MB Biblical Seminary President Jim Holm, spoke May 14 on endings and beginnings, during the final chapel of the 2007-2008 academic year on the Fresno Campus. Using the Genesis story of Joseph he encouraged the community, especially 2008 graduates, to see the potential for beginnings out of endings. As is tradition, the final chapel of the year is also a time for the President to acknowledge the hard work and contribution to seminary life through the awarding of special scholarships. These scholarships, awarded to continuing students, are for the 2008-2009 academic year and mark one of the ways this year’s end is indeed a new beginning for many of the students at the Seminary. This year’s recipients spanned the globe, including students from California, the Midwest, Canada, Switzerland and Paraguay.

Mike Penninga (MA in Christian Studies) of Kelowna, British Columbia and a student at the Langley, British Columbia campus (Associated Canadian Theological Schools) received the John and Catherine Froese Preachers of Promise Award.

Recipients from the Fresno Campus included: Tucker Russell (Master of Divinity) from Canton, Ohio who received the Peter and Sophie Enns Scholarship; Brian Cain (MA New Testament) from Clovis, California received the Michael Eckgren and Bryan Goossen Scholarship; Yevgeniy Runkevich (MA New Testament) of Rancho Cordova, California and Matthew Regier (MA New Testament) of Henderson, Nebraska, each received the Dean’s Scholarship; Rafael Zaracho (Master of Divinity) of Paraguay received the Helen Janz Scholarship; Jason Nichols (Master of Divinity) of Fresno, California received the Carson MB Church Scholarship; Matthew Ford (Master of Divinity) of Fresno received the Reuben and Emma Baerg Scholarship; Bryan Milian and Marcel Woodruff, both Master of Divinity students from Fresno, received the Henry J. Schmidt Multi-Cultural Leadership Scholarship; Faculty Honors went to Brooke Denni (MA Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) of Tulare, California; the Alumni Scholarship went to Katharine Enns (MA Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) of Aylmer, Ontario; Sarah Bergen (MA Theology) of Shafter, California received the Lynnette Friesen Memorial Scholarship; the Nettie Toews Honors Scholarship went to Amy Stone (MA Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) of Clovis; Laura Neufeld (Master of Divinity) of Clovis received the Regier-Martens Scholarship; and Danny Gray (MA Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) of Reedley, California received the Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Designated Scholarship.

The Mental Health and Integration Scholarship was given jointly to 2008 graduates Gabriel and Marie-Noëlle Yoder, of France. Each year this scholarship is given in honor of someone in the Mennonite community who has made a significant contribution to the dialogue of faith and mental health. This year’s honoree was Helmut Doerksen of Switzerland, retired faculty member in the area of mental health and pastoral care at the Theological Training School and Retreat Center at Bienenberg.

During the annual Graduation Banquet on the Fresno Campus, May 16, other awards were given to graduates Derek Thiessen (Master of Arts New Testament) of Winkler, Manitoba, for his thesis entitled, “The Birth of the Savior: Situating Luke 2:1-20 in its Lukan and Greco-Roman Contexts” and the best Senior Seminar award went to David Wolter (Master of Arts in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) of Clovis for his Senior Seminar paper entitled, “Utilizing Music Therapy to Alleviate Childhood and Adolescent Psychological Distress.”

A dinner for our fourteen Langley campus graduates was held April 18 on the Trinity Western University campus. Student after student spoke with enthusiasm of their seminary studies, and of their desire to serve their Lord and his church. In addition, Master of Arts in Christian Studies graduate, Rebecca Stanley, was honored with the Governor General’s Gold Medal for the highest Grade Point Average out of the seventy-five person graduating class at Associated Canadian Theological Schools.

California Alumni Gathering
MB Biblical Seminary’s California Alumni Association held a “Rose Garden Reception” May 16 on the Fresno Campus, an event that preceded the annual Graduation Banquet, to which alumni were also invited. Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a chance to reconnect with former classmates and professors. Bobbi Trask (2006 MA in Christian Ministry), the Alumni Coordinator for California, helped organize and put on the event.

Posted: June 02, 2008