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New Publication Honors Christian Education Faculty Members Jack Seymour and Margaret Ann Crain

November 30, 2015

EVANSTON, Illinois – In the forward of the newly published book, Educating for Redemptive Community: Essays in Honor of Jack Seymour and Margaret Ann Crain (Wipf & Stock, 2015), longtime friend and United Methodist colleague, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean of the School of Theology and professor of theology and education at Boston University, begins with a question: “Why do former students, who are also colleagues and friends, write a book to honor their teachers?” For each contributor the opportunity to honor Dr. Jack Seymour and Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, two key Garrett-Evangelical faculty members in the area of Christian education, was simply a labor of love.

In Educating for Redemptive Community, eight of Seymour and Crain’s former PhD advisees join them in laying out their vision of redemptive community. All established and well-respected scholars in their own right, each contributor proposes ways in which Jesus' vision of redemptive community can become reality in churches and in the larger world. Their fresh and creative ideas extend Christian education to directly address issues of our common life: helping young adults claim vocation, developing coalitions for ministry and mission, and empowering persons to address violence, incarceration, economic injustice, and racism.

"This book is both an honor to Jack and Margaret Ann, two giants in the field of religious education, and a scholarly gift we make along with them to the larger work of love and justice in our world,” said Dr. Denise Janssen, who contributed and served as editor for the book. “Each chapter, crafted by a colleague through the lens of their own scholarship, casts a vision of the work of religious education as fostering Jesus’ vision of a redemptive community. It is fitting that the proceeds from this work will help fund the Crain and Seymour Endowed Lecture in Christian Education and Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical which seeks to foster this vision.”

The essays and their contributors are:

  • “Through the Lens of the Ethnographer: Educating for Redemptive Community”
    Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, Professor of Christian Education, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • “Paying Attention: Education for Redemptive Community”
    Dr. Jack L. Seymour, Professor of Religious Education, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • “Moseses, Mariams, and Monarch Migrations: Teaching for Redemptive Community”
    Dr. Dori Grinenko Baker (G-ETS 1990), Theologian-in-Resident, Forum for Theological Exploration
  • “Beyond Band-Aids and Bootstraps: Transformative Mentoring as Redemptive Community”
    Dr. Leah Gunning Francis (G-ETS 2009), Assistant Professor of Christian Education, Associate Dean of Contextual Education, Eden Theological Seminary
  • “From Sabbath Schools to Freedom Schools: Christian Vocation and the Power of Voice”
    Dr. Reginald Blount (G-ETS 2006), Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth, and Culture, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • “Embodied Redemption: Implications for a Transformative Community”
    Dr. Débora B.A. Junker (G-ETS 2003), Assistant Dean of Student Life, Director of the Office of International Students, and Director of the Hispanic Center, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • “Communicability, Redeemability, Educability” 
    Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran (G-ETS 2004), Associate Professor of Christian Education, Eden Theological Seminary
  • “A Pedagogy of Redemption with Incarcerated Girls”
    Dr. Evelyn L. Parker (G-ETS 1996), Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • “Identity and Leadership Formation in Process in African American Adolescent Boys”
    Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield (G-ETS 2010), Assistant Professor of Christian Education and Youth Ministry, Memphis Theological Seminary
  • “Redemptive Community Across Generations: Welcoming Youth and Young Adults”
    Dr. Denise Janssen (G-ETS 2012), Assistant Professor of Christian Education, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University

A renowned Christian educator, Seymour is professor of religious education at Garrett-Evangelical and an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. “Christian religious education and more broadly religious education make a profound difference in the shape of the world we share. Together we can work for the flourishing of creation,” said Seymour. “These outstanding colleagues and friends – all scholars, teachers, and activists – as well as others who joined us over the years are making a difference. They embody and teach us about working for redemptive communities. I deeply thank them. They are a blessing to us all.”

Seymour joined the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical in 1988, later serving as academic dean and vice-president for academic affairs from 1996-2006, director of the joint Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University PhD program from 1992-1996, and director of the Garrett-Evangelical PhD program from 2009-2012. Seymour has published numerous articles and is the author and co-author of a number of books, including his most recent publications, Teaching the Way of Jesus: Educating Christians for Faithful Living (Abingdon, 2014) and Teaching Biblical Faith: Leading Small Group Bible Studies (Abingdon, 2015).

Crain is professor emerita of Christian education at Garrett-Evangelical, having become a member of the faculty in 1998. An ordained deacon of The United Methodist Church in full connection with the Northern Illinois Conference, Crain’s contributions to the academy and the Church have made her one of the most well-known and well-respected scholar practitioners in her field. When asked about this book in her honor Crain said, “Many of the contributors to this volume took classes from me and I worked with them on their dissertations but it is important to understand that faculty also learn from their students. These people are inspiring because of their commitments to make positive contributions to scholarship and to make the world a better place. My life has been greatly enriched by knowing and learning with them!”

Crain has served as a board member of the Christian Educators Fellowship and editor of Christians in Education, and was co-writer for the UMC Commission for the Study of Ministry in the 2008-2012 quadrennium. Her most recent publication, The United Methodist Deacon: Ordained to Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice (Abingdon Press 2014), gives a clear understanding of the order of deacon, beginning with a discussion of how its unique call sets apart persons for ordained ministry.

To learn more or to order your copy of Educating for Redemptive Community: Essays in Honor of Jack Seymour and Margaret Ann Crain, go to The book is also available on in both print and Kindle versions.