Centre for Anabaptist Studies launches at Bristol Baptist College
New centre aims to provide resources for the increasing number of Christians in the UK who want to learn from the Anabaptist tradition
In recent years the Anabaptist vision has inspired Christians from many traditions, not least Baptists, as we face the challenges of post-Christendom. It has offered fresh insights on peace and justice, faith and politics, hospitality and community, church and mission, discipleship and biblical interpretation.
However, there have been few opportunities or resources for studying Anabaptist history and theology in the UK.
That’s why this year Bristol Baptist College has partnered with the Anabaptist Network and the Mennonite Trust to launch the Centre for Anabaptist Studies at the college.
The founding director of the Centre is Dr Stuart Murray Williams, previously chair of the Anabaptist Network, currently chair of the Mennonite Trust and the author of The Naked Anabaptist. Stuart’s doctorate was in Anabaptist hermeneutics.
From October 2015, the Centre will offer a taught MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission comprising five Anabaptist modules (taught both in block weeks and online) and opportunities for doctoral research. It will also offer supervision of postgraduate research.
It presents six webinars a year on Anabaptist themes. These webinars began in Autumn 2014 with a series featuring authors from the After Christendom collection. Another key feature is an annual lecture, while the Centre is also now the home for the extensive library and archives previously housed at the London Mennonite Centre.
‘The aim of the Centre is to provide resources for the increasing number of Christians in the UK who want to learn from the Anabaptist tradition,’ says Stuart. ‘We have already had several enquiries from prospective students and welcome many more.’
College Principal the Revd Dr Steve Finamore said he was 'delighted' that the Centre for Anabaptist Studies has been established and is based at the College in Bristol.
'Many of the best insights of the Anabaptist tradition will be important for the future of the life of the churches in Britain and so it's very important that Christians have the opportunity to study this in some depth,' he explained.
'We hope that through its students the Centre will make a significant contribution to enhancing discipleship and mission in the UK and beyond. I am also very pleased that Stuart Murray Williams has agreed to be the Centre director; I cannot think of anyone better to lead this significant initiative.'
Anyone interested in learning more can contact Stuart at Anabaptist@bristol-baptist.ac.uk.