Seminary celebrates history of counseling programs

By Megan E. Richard

The first rain of the season was not enough to put a damper on The Psyche and the Spirit Conference, a celebration of 30 years of the Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Program and 15 years of the On-Site Counseling Program, at MB Biblical Seminary’s Fresno Campus. On October 12-13, over 100 people including former faculty members, alumni and many others connected with the Seminary and its programs turned out for the two-day event.

The celebration began Friday evening with a celebratory banquet. In his absence, a letter from President Jim Holm was read.

Former faculty member Al Dueck, PhD, now the Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor of the Integration of Psychology and Theology, Department of Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, gave the keynote address, “Dying to Live: Psyche at the Seminary.”

Former Seminary Presidents Henry H. Dick, ThB, Elmer Martens, PhD and Larry Martens, PhD, as well as Professor of Pastoral Counseling Delores Friesen, PhD and Director of the On-Site Counseling Program Mary Shamshoian, LMFT, acknowledged faculty members, alumni, current students and supervisors, who throughout the years have helped grow the reputation of both programs. Associate Professor of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling David Bruce Rose, PhD encouraged those in attendance to give back through prayer, and if able, financially.

Graduates David Gingerich, PhD and Evangeline Willms Thiessen, DMin, both of Canada, gave humorous and reflective alumni responses.

Larry Nikkel, MPH, President of Tabor College was honored for his years of work in the field of mental health by being named the 2007 Mental Health and Integration Honoree. A scholarship was awarded in conjunction with the honor to 2007 graduate Beverly Griffith, MDiv, MFCC.

Saturday’s conference included plenary sessions by former faculty members Dueck and Kevin Reimer, PhD and local Psychologist and Jungian Analyst Audrey Punnet, PhD. Friesen joined Mary Rose, wife of Professor Rose, and alumni Bryan Martin, DMin and Glen Drake, LMFT in presenting workshops that included topics on forgiveness, marriage and caring for the therapists' family.

“It was great to see so many alums reuniting with both current and prior MFCC faculty, as well as with each other,” said one attendee. “I realized once again the larger supportive community we all belong to as alums of MB Biblical Seminary in pursuing our call as therapists, supervisors, and educators. I was very encouraged to learn more about how God is using each of us in a variety of ways to carry out God’s greater mission both in the Church and the world.”

MB Biblical Seminary, with campuses in Fresno, California; Langley, British Columbia; and Winnipeg, Manitoba, seeks to inspire and equip men and women to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and to serve and lead in the church and the world.

Posted: October 26, 2007