Special online introduction to the Bulletin from President Jim Brenneman

Greetings from Goshen College! I’ve written this special introduction because I want to provide you with some background and context about this special issue of the Bulletin. This issue, which took several months for the Public Relations Office to produce, provides an introduction and overview of our new “Healing the World, Peace by Peace” messaging and marketing initiative. Far from being simply a slogan, we are using this initiative to communicate something essential about Goshen College — our commitment to making peace in all its forms. Our core values and our Culture for Service motto remain central to the college, but we will be emphasizing our peace witness even more in the coming years.

In this Bulletin, you will find a column in which I outline what we mean by “Healing the World, Peace by Peace” and an exceptional article by Joseph Liechty, professor and director of our peace, justice and conflict studies program, describing why hospitality is an essential component of peace. Our special “peace” coverage also includes profiles of outstanding alumni and ways you can make peace in your daily lives.

Over the past few weeks, you may have heard — or even participated in — discussions about the decision I led with the full support of the President’s Council to allow an instrumental version of the national anthem to be played before some sports events, starting this spring. This decision, which followed more than a year of discussion and prayerful deliberation, is intended to invite us to seek a deeper understanding of the diverse perspectives within the Mennonite church and beyond. It also is an example of the college’s commitment to engage complex issues with respect for each other and the church — truly a hallmark of a Christian liberal arts education. Indeed, some faculty members already have incorporated the anthem decision and the response it has received into their teaching plans. And I expect excellent dialogue to continue over the next year and to include more opportunities for alumni engagement.

While our decision on the anthem is important, I also hope that in the coming months we also will discuss other important questions I have posed to the campus community:

  • What makes Goshen College unique and how do we express that?
  • Why is hospitality an important value? What do we mean by being hospitable? How do we best express that?
  • Since we have agreed that exploring complex issues is the best way of learning, how can we engage as a community on such issues as our relationship with God and our relationship with the world?
  • How do we live out our peace witness, more effectively transmit that value and better communicate about it?

I invite you to join us in considering these questions and welcome your prayers for the campus community as together we continue, “Healing the World, Peace by Peace.”


Jim Brenneman
President of Goshen College

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