Three alumni of Hesston (Kansas) College participated in the May 6 commencement service of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart, Indiana:
Mariah Kate Martin of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, graduated with a Master of Divinity with a major in pastoral ministry. She plans to marry Nick Bouwman in July and is pursuing a pastoral ministry assignment. A member of Defiance Church in Glenwood Springs, she attends Faith Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind. Martin previously earned an associate of arts from Hesston College in 2013 and a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Goshen College. She is the daughter of Kim and Lauren Martin of New Castle, Colorado; her father, Lauren, earned a master of divinity from AMBS in 1990.
“Leaving AMBS, I will carry with me and treasure the opportunities the seminary gave me to find my voice,” she said. “I was supported and encouraged to listen well, speak mindfully and to embrace the simple power of sitting with others in their joys and sorrows.”
Ronald Lizwe Moyo of Hesston graduated with a Master of Divinity with a major in pastoral ministry. Moyo, who completed part of his degree at a distance through the seminary’s MDiv Connect program, anticipates continuing as Outreach Pastor for Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston. He previously earned an associate of arts from Hesston College in the pastoral ministries program in 2012. He is married to Sue Moyo, and they have two children.
“The ability to be informed by my academic studies and by my classmates who are coming from different cultural backgrounds has been an amazing journey,” Moyo reflected.
Daniel L. Yoder of Goshen, Indiana, graduated with a Graduate Certificate in theological studies. He plans to continue as Pastor of Christian Formation for Youth at College Mennonite Church in Goshen. Yoder previously earned an associate of applied arts and sciences in youth ministry from Hesston College in 2001 and a bachelor of arts in Bible and religion with a concentration in youth ministry from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan. He is married to Talashia Keim ’02 Yoder, and they have two sons.
“AMBS has helped me appreciate how contextualized ministry is and how much joy and awe that can bring,” Yoder said. “All humans are created in the image of God and bring their own experiences, theological history, physical abilities, ways of spiritual engagement, stage of faith formation, emotional health, phase of life — not to mention which side of the bed they woke up on that morning — and all of this is a unique reflection of one element of the vastness of God.”
Of the 21 graduates honored during the commencement service, which was held at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana, 12 earned a Master of Divinity, five earned a Master of Arts in Christian Formation, and one earned a Master of Arts: Peace Studies. Three students received a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies, representing the equivalent of one year of study. Palmer Becker, D.Min., a church leader, pastor, missionary, author and educator from Kitchener, Ontario, gave the commencement address. Becker was director of Hesston’s pastoral ministries program from 1999-2006.
The graduating class comprised seven men and 14 women from Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Romania. Two graduates originally came to the U.S. as refugees, fleeing war in their home countries of Laos and Zimbabwe (Ron Moyo).
Eighteen of the graduates are affiliated with Mennonite Church USA; one with the Evana Network; one with the Brethren in Christ U.S.; and one with the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. One is nondenominational.
More than 70 percent of the graduates are serving as pastors or seeking pastoral or chaplaincy assignments. Four are pursuing mission or service work, and one is seeking work in faith-based community organizing. Half of the graduates served as paid pastors or congregational staff members while earning their seminary degrees.