Western District Conference congratulates four graduates in the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) class of 2022 that have connections to WDC.
Jennie Wintermote, current WDC Resource Library Director, earned her Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies from AMBS. Wintermote previously earned an Associate of Arts from Hesston (Kansas) College; a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Religion and Elementary Education from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas; and a Master of Library Science from Emporia (Kansas) State University. She is actively involved at First Mennonite Church in Newton and also was nurtured and shaped by Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kansas — both WDC congregations.
Benjamin Earl Parker Sutter of of Kansas City, Kansas anticipates graduating in August 2022 with a Master of Arts: Theology and Global Anabaptism (MATGA) from AMBS. He plans to continue working for AMBS as Digital Marketing Manager. Parker Sutter previously earned a Bachelor of Arts from Goshen (Indiana) College, majoring in Communication and History and minoring in Youth Ministry. His home congregation is Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kansas, a congregation of Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Kristen Swartley of Cedar Falls, Iowa, earned her Master of Divinity with a major in Theological Studies: Peace Studies. She also was selected to receive this year’s Award for Excellence in Theological Studies from the seminary’s History, Theology and Ethics Department. She is seeking a pastoral ministry assignment within Mennonite Church USA. Swartley previously earned a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Music Performance and Liberal Arts (Concentration: Justice, Peace and Conflict Studies) and a minor in Psychology from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She also earned a Master of Music in Instrumental Performance from Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) University. Prior to moving to Elkhart to study at AMBS, she was part of Joy Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City, a congregation of Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Angie Smith of Wichita, Kansas, anticipates graduating in August 2022 with a Master of Divinity with a major in Theological Studies: Biblical Studies. She plans to continue to work as an insurance underwriter while also volunteering on behalf of climate justice issues. Smith previously earned a Bachelor of Arts with majors in History and German from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Her home congregation is Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, a congregation of Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Twenty-one graduates were honored during the April 30 Commencement Service, which was held in the seminary’s Chapel of the Sermon on the Mount and livestreamed. César García, MA, of Bogotá, Colombia, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, gave the commencement address. The livestream recording is available at ambs.edu/graduation.
Eight graduates earned a Master of Divinity; five earned a Master of Arts: Theology and Peace Studies; and three earned a Master of Arts in Christian Formation. One student became the first to graduate with a Master of Arts: Theology and Global Anabaptism, a program launched by AMBS in 2019. Four students received a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies.
The graduating class comprised 14 women and seven men from seven countries — Canada, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania and the United States. Ten of the graduates completed part or all of their seminary studies at a distance through the Master of Divinity Connect program, the MA: Theology and Global Anabaptism program or the Graduate Certificate.Four of the graduates are serving in pastoral ministry roles or are seeking pastoral assignments; five are serving a church organization or institution; four plan to pursue further graduate studies; two are serving in psychiatry or social work; and two will continue to volunteer in ministry and advocacy. Five graduates are discerning future options for mission, service, advocacy and/or volunteer work.