Scholarships honour professor's career in Theological Studies

Monday, June 23, 2008

On the occasion of the retirement of Conrad Grebel University College professor of theology, Dr. A. James Reimer, the college announced that the A. James Reimer Award at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre has reached its goal of $250,000.

This award was initiated by alumnus Alan Armstrong (Systems Design Engineering ’94) and enhanced through the generosity of many additional donors and matching funds from the Ontario Trust for Student Support.

The purpose of the Reimer Award is to develop excellent Mennonite theological scholars by providing an annual $12,500 scholarship at the Toronto School of Theology. This award offers support similar to scholarships and awards offered in the sciences, a rarity for theological students.

Armstrong took several courses from Dr. Reimer and considered Reimer a mentor as he

wrestled with the philosophical and theological purpose of my technical training.

Armstrong said despite a busy academic schedule, Reimer

helped me find a way to put the pieces of my faith back together. Jim did not have me retreat to a simple faith, but rather helped me to understand the classical tradition on its own terms and somehow to manage that within my own skeptical, almost agnostic, post-modern world and worldview.

The Reimer Award helps us identify and support future scholars and leaders who will continue the lively engagement between faith and life that Jim Reimer exemplifies in his teaching and writing,

said Jim Pankratz, academic dean, Conrad Grebel University College and acting director for the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre.

Reimer retires after 22 years teaching at Conrad Grebel. In 1990 he was instrumental in establishing the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre as its founding director.

We’re deeply grateful for the outstanding contribution Jim Reimer has made to theological education and discourse, both in the academy and in the church, in Canada and beyond,

said Henry Paetkau, president, Conrad Grebel University College.

Paetkau recently announced a newly-established additional scholarship award for theology students in Grebel’s master’s program at a dinner for Reimer’s retirement. The Jim and Lorna Blair Charitable Foundation has initiated this $5,000 per year scholarship to honour Reimer’s career at Grebel.

Reimer received his MA in History from the University of Toronto (1974), and his PhD in Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto (1983). He specializes in 19th-Century European intellectual history, modern theology, German theology in the 1920s and 1930s, modern theology and technology, theology and critical social theory, and Mennonite systematic theology. Reimer has published widely in scholarly journals and is the author or editor of several books, most notably The Dogmatic Imagination (2003) and Mennonites and Classical Theology (2001). He is a member of The Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey, where he was a resident scholar in winter 2002. He is currently working on a theology of law and civil institutions and is involved with interfaith dialogue between Christians and Shiite Muslims in Iran.

Reimer has also been actively involved in church settings through preaching, popular writing, and teaching. His theological writing and research is influential both inside and outside of Mennonite circles.

Armstrong said:

Jim is a teacher, a scholar and a beloved and active member of his local congregation who also serves the wider Mennonite church. His theology is grounded in the classical stream, yet takes seriously the insights of modern and post-modern thinkers. Jim's work has helped the church immensely in the areas of pacifism, sexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. The time he spent with me was literally life-changing.

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