Julie Mader Hostetter, executive director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, has announced her retirement effective Jan. 31, 2017. She has served in this role since 2008. The Brethren Academy is a partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary.
“With more than 40 years of experience as a pastor and as denominational staff, Julie has touched many lives and worked diligently to strengthen ministerial leadership training in the Church of the Brethren,” said Bethany Seminary academic dean Steven Schweitzer, in a release from the seminary. “Her commitment to people and process, to relationships and excellence in her work has been a hallmark of her ministry.”
Along with oversight of denominational certificate-level ministry programs, including Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM), Hostetter provided leadership for continuing education. The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) program underwritten by the Lilly Endowment Inc., continued to give many pastors the opportunity for spiritual, intellectual, and relational growth under her leadership. SPE was succeeded by the Sustaining Ministerial Excellence program in 2015, offering similar experiences for persons in other forms of ministry.
In addition, new training for supervisors of ministry students was offered in 2014 through Supervision in Ministry classes. To better serve Spanish-speaking Brethren in ministry training, the Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH-COB) certificate program was launched in cooperation with the Mennonite Education Agency in 2011. In 2015 the academy assumed responsibility for ministerial ethics training in the denomination, involving dozens of seminars nationwide, many led by Hostetter.
In previous years, she served on the staff of the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries as one of the former Congregational Life Team members (CLT). She coordinated the Congregational Life Team for Area 3 (Southeast) from Dec. 1997 through April 2005, when she accepted a call to become academic coordinator for United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She received her master of divinity from United in 1982 and after graduation served on the school’s administrative staff for more than five years. In 2010 she completed a doctor of ministry degree through the Center for Ministry and Leadership Development at Union-PSCE (now Union Presbyterian Seminary) in Richmond, Va.
Hostetter first became involved in church work as a church musician, when she started as a church organist at age 15. Over the years, her volunteer service to the church has included a term as moderator of Southern Ohio District in 2013, and ecumenical involvements including service as interim executive director of Metropolitan Churches United in Dayton. She has written numerous Christian education resources, and for several years helped edit and produce the “Seed Packet” newsletter as a joint publication of Congregational Life Ministries and Brethren Press.
-- Jenny Williams, director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., contributed to this release.