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Statement regarding the joint CMU/MB Seminary program

Statement regarding the joint CMU/MB Seminary program

Dear students in the joint CMU/MB Seminary program, 

You likely have heard that for reasons of financial exigency MB Seminary (MBS) informed CMU this spring of the Seminary's decision to withdraw from the Affiliation Agreement between MB Seminary and CMU and to do so by May 31, 2021. In withdrawing from this Agreement, MB Seminary will cease to invest in 1.5 faculty positions at CMU, those of Andrew Dyck (1.0) and Pierre Gilbert (0.5; Gilbert 's other half position always has been connected only to CMU and is not affected by the MBS change).

CMU has appreciated the terms of this Agreement since 2012, which was built on the University's longstanding affiliation with MBBS (since 1999) when Pierre Gilbert was seconded by Concord College (it became part of CMU in 2000) to MBBS (it became two schools, MBBS US and MBBS Canada in 2011; more recently MBBS Canada changed its name to MB Seminary). CMU is grateful for the strong education in the MB tradition and for the connections with MB congregations that this affiliation has fostered. 

CMU (in its founding and its ongoing activity and mission) is rooted in both Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church denominations. As we move past the era of MB Seminary affiliation with CMU, the University is committed to sustaining a strong MB voice within its MDiv and MA (Theological Studies and Christian Ministry) degrees, and indeed also within all of its graduate and undergraduate degree programs, Outtatown, and the CMU Centre for Faith and Life. CMU is hopeful that the funding for Gilbert and Dyck will continue beyond May 2021 (in full-time roles); this will be possible if the congregations of MBCM affirm and support that calling. CMU also is grateful for the health of its longstanding relationship with MBCM, and for the quality of leadership MBCM is demonstrating regarding the future of ministry training and Biblical and Theological education in the MB tradition.

During the months of fall 2020, MBCM staff will lead a discernment process on ministry education with MBCM congregations. Within this process, CMU will provide an account of its commitments to educating for ministry with a strong MB track within the university's overall graduate and undergraduate programs. Both MBCM and CMU look forward to hearing your hopes and convictions in that process. Your voices are essential to how ministry education takes shape going forward.

For those of you who will graduate prior to May 2021, a conjoint degree from CMU and MB Seminary will pertain. For those who will graduate following May 2021, your degree will be from CMU without reference to MB Seminary; however, it will continue to be shaped by and rooted in the MB Church.

In withdrawing from the Affiliation Agreement with CMU, MB Seminary has expressed interest in sustaining connections with the ministry education offered by CMU. CMU looks forward to working at new forms of partnership across the schools, even as CMU discerns with MBCM the future of the 1.5 positions at CMU from which MB Seminary has divested itself.

Blessings,
Cheryl Pauls, CMU President

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