Educating for faith and life in the world

Posted on November 18, 2010 by VMMissions Staff

On Sunday evening October 10, Park View Mennonite Church hosted a community celebration of the many educational endeavors that have been associated with the Virginia Mennonite Conference. It was one of the events in a year-long series commemorating the 175th anniversary of Virginia Mennonite Conference.

Park View Mennonite Church was chosen since it had its origins on the campus of Eastern Mennonite School, later Eastern Mennonite College. Many of the members were and are educators, teaching not only in Mennonite schools, but also in public institutions and various schools around the world.

The evening featured many short talks from a variety of speakers focusing on their memories about Mennonite-related education from the early 1900’s up to their vision for Mennonite education today. Interesting stories were shared from Eastern Mennonite School founded in 1917, later Eastern Mennonite College, and now Eastern Mennonite University. Eastern Mennonite High School had the same origin and now has returned to a larger umbrella of Eastern Mennonite School, with grades K through 12. A bit complicated, isn’t it? We also heard presentations from the Warwick River Christian School, the Calvary Christian Academy, the Augusta Mennonite School, and the early Park School, a public elementary school (almost all who taught and attended were Mennonites).

The talks were interspersed with spirited hymn singing; the Eastern Mennonite High School Choir singing selections from David the Shepherd Boy; Sarah Gant presenting “A Visit from Elizabeth Heatwole,” the first woman teacher at EMS in 1917; and the 20-minute DVD “A Temple of Learning.” The evening concluded with two rousing choruses from The Holy City sung by the Park View Mennonite Church Choir; all were invited to join in.

The central essence of the evening was education from a faith perspective. Many missionaries, servant church leaders, and dedicated professionals emerged from these Mennonite schools. It was a memorable evening celebration.

Two items prepared for the event are now available for purchase at the conference center: the collection of essays titled “Beyond the Temple of Learning” ($2) and the 20-minute DVD “A Temple of Learning” ($8).

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