About 80 members of the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary community gathered on the evening of September 10, 2019, to formally welcome Valerie Rempel, Ph.D., as vice president and dean of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.
Faculty, alumni, students, staff and guests enjoyed dinner in BC Lounge and a convocation ceremony in Seminary Chapel, both part of the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. “I love the seminary,” Rempel said. “Not only is it work that is deeply meaningful, it has provided a wealth of opportunity to serve the wider church. That, in turn, has enhanced my work here as part of a faculty whose mission is to equip people for leadership and service in the church and world.”
Rempel’s appointment as vice president took effect July 1, 2019, after she spent the 2018-2019 academic year as an interim in the position. The ceremony served as an affirmation of that appointment. In her address, Rempel reflected on the Old Testament story of 12 spies sent to scout out the land God had promised the people. She encouraged the community to face the “giants” in their lives confident “that God would go with them.”
Academic dean since 2014, Rempel’s history with the seminary began in 1984 when she was director of admissions and later assistant to the academic dean. She joined the faculty in 1996 to teach in the areas of church history and theology and now holds the J.B. Toews Chair of History and Theology.
Work in the larger church includes serving on district and international boards of faith and life, the Faith and Life Commission of Mennonite World Conference, the Executive Committee of the California Mennonite Historical Society and the binational Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission. She currently chairs the Board of Directors of Mennonite Health Services. She has a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, M.A. degrees from both Vanderbilt and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (now FPBS) and a B.A. from Tabor College.
The installation convocation included a welcome from Lynn Jost, Ph.D., Old Testament faculty and former seminary president; worship music led by student Dan Macloskie; greetings from FPU President Joseph Jones, Ph.D.; a faculty response from Tim Geddert, Ph.D., New Testament faculty; a litany; and prayers of blessing from Larry Martens, Ph.D., former seminary president, student Vera Castillo and Dennis Fast, interim minister of the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
PHOTO: Faculty and others from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary pray with Valerie Rempel, Ph.D., at an installation convocation. (FPBS photo)