The FGBC is part of a coalition of six Brethren groups which trace their origin to Alexander Mack and Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. One project of the coalition is The Brethren Encyclopedia. BMH executive director Terry White serves on the group’s board as a representative of the FGBC, and GBIM’s Ted Rondeau, who will be coordinating the FGBC’s historical tour to Schwarzenau to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the movement, has also been meeting with the board.
Donald Durnbaugh, long recognized as one of the leading historians of the Brethren movement, died suddenly about a year ago as Volume 4 of the encyclopedia was about to go to press. Church historian Jeffrey Bach, who is emerging as Durnbaugh’s successor, is moving to a new position:
Jeff Bach (pictured), associate professor of Brethren Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has accepted an appointment as director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, effective this summer.
The Young Center, located on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, engages in research and teaching as well as sponsoring conferences related to the study of these groups primarily in their North American context.
Bethany president Eugene F. Roop and academic dean Stephen Breck Reid reluctantly accepted Bach’s resignation recognizing the loss that comes with the departure of an excellent teacher and Bethany’s senior faculty member, according to a release from the seminary.
“Jeff’s passion for excellent teaching has been reflected in the maturity of his own work with students,” Roop commented. “He has enabled students to grow in careful disciplined study, to a degree that sometimes surprises the students themselves. At the same time, Dean Reid and I accept that this is an important opportunity for Jeff.
“He wrote his dissertation on the sources and significance of mysticism in the community at the Ephrata Cloisters, located not far from Elizabethtown. The position will provide him the opportunity to extend and expand his research and writing, as well as to provide the Young Center with administrative leadership.”
Bach graduated from Bethany Seminary in 1983 and served for seven years as pastor of Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren prior to his graduate study at Duke University.
Along with his teaching position at the seminary, he has provided educational seminars in districts and congregations throughout the denomination. Currently he also serves as chair of the 300th Anniversary Committee of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.
Named for Galen S. Young and Jesse M. Young, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies fosters and promotes the scholarly study of Anabaptist and Pietist groups. Scholarly and interpretive investigations of the life, culture, and beliefs of Anabaptist and Pietist movements, primarily in their North American context, are conducted by visiting scholars as well as graduate and undergraduate students under the center’s auspices.
In addition, the center interprets the cultural and religious heritage of Anabaptist and Pietist communities to the general public and serves as a clearing house for information through a variety of programs.