CHICAGO – The International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section (IBS-ELS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer M. McBride, Associate Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Programs and Continuing Education and Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary, has been elected president of the Society, becoming its first female president since its founding more than forty years ago.
Dr. McBride has served on the IBS-ELS Board of Directors since 2008. She has authored or edited three books on Bonhoeffer and a number of essays. Her books include Radical Discipleship: A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel (Fortress Press, 2017), The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness (Oxford University Press, 2011), and the co-edited volume, Bonhoeffer and King: Their Legacies and Import for Christian Social Thought (Fortress Press, 2010).
According to outgoing president Mark Brocker, “It is time for a member of the new generation of Bonhoeffer scholars to take the helm. Dr. McBride has the deep commitment to Bonhoeffer’s legacy, the scholarly expertise, and the administrative savvy needed to lead the English Language Section of the International Bonhoeffer Society into the future.”
Since its inception, the International Bonhoeffer Society (IBS-ESL) has been focused on close historical and textual analysis, culminating in the recently completed sixteen-volume translation and critical edition project, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition, published by Fortress Press.
With the completion of this major work, the IBS-ESL has expanded its focus to cultivating a new generation of Bonhoeffer scholars who are making the constructive use of Bonhoeffer’s legacy the explicit goal of their teaching, writing, and community engagement. The IBS-ESL’s desire and commitment to using its resources to address contemporary challenges facing the church and society is unique in academic circles. This new momentum toward informed, creative appropriation of Bonhoeffer’s writings inspires and encourages new scholars, like Dr. McBride, to explore ways to bridge theological reflection and public engagement in their students and fellow congregants in a manner faithful to the legacy of Bonhoeffer. The Society is now developing a centralized, public, virtual community, as a more accessible resource for undergraduate students, scholars, pastors, activists, and communities of faith to engage Bonhoeffer’s legacy in concrete ways:
McBride says, “When I first attended Society events in graduate school, I was embraced by its members and intrigued by the causal way many members shared stories about their friendships with Eberhard and Renate Bethge. These experiences reflect the identity and mission of the society. It’s made up of people committed to Bonhoeffer’s legacy and equally committed to nurturing young scholars and students, religious leaders and people of faith, as they wrestle with his writings today. Through the materials on our website, though conferences and publications, through discussions with church groups, our mission is to be a resource for a wide variety of people interested in responsible engagement with Bonhoeffer’s work.”
About International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section
Comprised of scholars and religious leaders from the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the purpose of the International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section (IBS-ELS) is to encourage critical scholarship in conversation with the theology, life, legacy, and influence of the German pastor-theologian and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Among its members are John W. de Gruchy, anti-apartheid South African theologian, and Victoria Barnett, Director of Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Since its founding in 1972, the Society has pioneered research and scholarship on the life, historical context, and writings of Bonhoeffer. Working in close collaboration with Bonhoeffer’s best friend, theologian and pastor Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer’s niece Renate Bethge, and scholars in Germany, the Society laid the foundation for the historical and textual study of Bonhoeffer’s life and work in the English-speaking world. The Society has established a American Academy of Religion group, published newsletters with articles and book reviews, collected an archive of Bonhoeffer related materials at Union Theological Seminary, supported biennial Bonhoeffer lectures in public ethics, visiting scholar exchanges, and regular international congresses.