Author: Konkle, Jennifer
Date published: January 24, 2011
Sarah Freeman's academic achievement, her zeal for preaching and her enthusiastic participation at the Toronto (Ont.) Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC) earned her Conrad Grebel University College's highest valued academic award: The A. James Reimer Award at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre.
The $8,000 award will allow Freeman, a doctor of theology student at the University of Toronto, to continue studying full-time to achieve her dream of teaching homiletics.
"The award is also important," Freeman explains, "because it recognizes the importance of financial support for doctoral education. Doctoral studies have not played a large role in the history of the Mennonite church, but this award recognizes the need to support students who are pursuing doctoral studies in service of the church."
The award was established in recognition of A. James Reimer and the program he founded in advanced degree/doctoral theological studies at TMTC in conjunction with the Toronto School of Theology. It is awarded to active TMTC students who have demonstrated commitment to the life of the Mennonite church and its institutions, and who demonstrate solid academic ability. Established with an initial gift from Al Armstrong and Marlys Neufeldt, matching funds and donor contributions have taken this endowed award over its goal to a book value of $268,000.
The award has more emotional impact due to Reimer 's death last August. Freeman counts herself lucky to have taken a few courses with him over the years, appreciating how he actively engaged in his students' work and continued discussions begun on paper. She remembers how he was "always ready to critically, thoughtfully and seriously explore topics of faith and church practice."
Freeman earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Waterloo, Ont., in English and history, prior to pursuing a master of theological studies degree in New Testament at Grebel.
She is a former youth pastor of First Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont.
BY JENNIFER KONKLE
Conrad Grebel University College