Two-part Moderator’s Town Hall in April will feature Brethren historians

A special two-part Moderator’s Town Hall has been announced for April, with an array of Brethren historians as resource people on the topic “Today’s Headlines, Yesterday’s Wisdom: Historical Insights for the Contemporary Church.” Featured Brethren historians include Carl Bowman, William Kostlevy, Stephen Longenecker, Carol Sheppard, and Dale Stoffer.

The first event on April 15 from 7-8:15 p.m. (Eastern time) will be a 75-minute question and answer format in line with previous Moderator’s Town Halls. Register at

The second event on April 17 from 1-6 p.m. (Eastern time) will be an extended session featuring content presentations from each historian on a specific topic, followed by opportunities for questions after each presentation. Register at

Though all the presenters will participate on April 17, not all will be able to participate on April 15.

Participants can attend one or both events.

“We will consider various issues confronting the church: accountability, biblical authority, compelling vision, division, and nationalism,” said an announcement. “Though every era is unique, there is much to learn from the experience of history. The Brethren historians will explore the richness of our heritage, highlighting the depth of our tradition and offer practical learnings applicable to today’s church. The intent is not to return to the past but to profit from history’s wisdom as we strive to transform the contemporary church.”


Carl Bowman will address the topic of nationalism in the extended town hall on April 17. He is director of survey research for the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Bowman is widely recognized for his studies of Anabaptist religious groups and is an expert on the social and cultural history of the Church of the Brethren. The author of various books, chapters, and monographs, he is best known as the author of Brethren Society: The Cultural Transformation of a Peculiar People. He holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.

William Kostlevy will address the topic of the compelling vision in the extended town hall on April 17. He is director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Kostlevy holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Asbury College; a master’s degree in history from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.; a master of theology from Bethany Theological Seminary; and a master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of Notre Dame. He has been a fellow at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and was a member of the Church of the Brethren Historical Committee 1997-2007.

Stephen Longenecker will address the topic of division in the extended town hall on April 17. He is the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of History at Bridgewater (Va.) College. Longenecker is author of The Brethren During the Age of World War, along with five other books on American religious history. He earned his master’s from West Virginia University and his doctorate in history from Johns Hopkins University.

Carol Scheppard will address the topic of accountability in the extended town hall on April 17. She is Professor of the College and professor of philosophy and religion at Bridgewater College, where she also was vice president and dean for academic affairs 2007-2016. Scheppard holds a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctorate in religion from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as Annual Conference moderator in 2017. She served 10 years as a member of the board of trustees for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Dale Stoffer will address the topic of biblical authority in the extended town hall on April 17. He
is emeritus professor of historical theology at Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary, where he taught from 1992 to 2017. Stoffer earned a master of divinity from Ashland and a doctorate in historical theology from Fuller Seminary. He is the monographs editor for the Brethren Encyclopedia and author of Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650-2015.

For questions about these events, email


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