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Berry Concludes Tenure at Bethany

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Malinda Berry, assistant professor of theological studies and director of the MA program at Bethany Seminary, has announced that she is taking the position of assistant professor of theology and ethics at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, effective July 1, 2014. As an active presence in Mennonite Church USA and a graduate of AMBS, Berry has an opportunity to contribute to her home denomination in this new position.

Berry began her tenure at Bethany in the fall of 2009, teaching a range of courses in theology and guiding MA students in research and the writing of theses. President Jeff Carter acknowledged her accomplishments during her time at the Seminary, including establishing a distance learning Connections track for the MA program and giving leadership to the strengthening of the MA curriculum during the Seminary’s recent curriculum review.

“Bethany will always have a special place in my heart because it’s where I had my first full-time teaching post,” said Berry. “Moreover, during these past several years, I have gained valuable experience teaching a rich array of courses in theological studies, learning about the changing face of theological education, and reflecting on big ideas like how to structure and assess a curriculum. I will take all of that with me. I also hope that thanks to the relationships I have formed with my colleagues here, there will be opportunity for Bethany and AMBS to work together as both schools remain denominationally rooted and grow ecumenical connections.”

Steven Schweitzer, academic dean, remarked on Berry’s “encouraging, inviting presence, marked by creativity and deep questions to her teaching. She has enabled our students to engage in thoughtful, careful theological reflection. In our recent curriculum review process, Malinda provided valuable insights that helped both of our degree programs to be flexible and focused, and better as a result. Malinda's time among us will continue to benefit Bethany, our students, and the church for years to come."

Matt Boersma
Master of Arts

MattMy thesis began its journey while learning Hebrew at the University of Notre Dame, back when I was an employee in the Information Technology department. Among the many Hebrew texts read, it was the Song of Songs in particular that caught my attention. I knew that historically it had been interpreted as an allegorical text exploring God's love of Israel (or the church), but I had not encountered the deeply sensual nature of the images and the erotic tone of the text. Reading through the book, the unabashed sexuality of the words struck me as completely different than how the rest of the Bible treats sex. During the previous semester we had read selections of Ezekiel, where sex and female desire is cast as idolatrous and evil. In the Song, it is unashamed and extolled.