The Bethany Theological Seminary community joins with many in the denomination in remembering Church of the Brethren educator Julie Mader Hostetter, who passed away November 12, 2017, in Bridgewater, Virginia.
Beginning in 2008, Hostetter served first as director, then executive director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, which oversees nondegree ministry training programs within the denomination. The Academy is a partnership between Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry. In this role, Hostetter was a member of the Ministry Advisory Council (MAC), assisting with oversight of ministerial education in the Church of the Brethren and the recent revision of the Ministerial Leadership Paper.
“Julie served graciously with wisdom and experience, often knowing exactly what needed to be said and what encouragement needed to be given to those pursuing excellence in their calling,” said Steve Schweitzer, academic dean of Bethany and fellow MAC member. “Julie is an inspiration, demonstrating deep commitment to the values that stand at the center of our Brethren heritage.”
Academy programs and responsibilities expanded under Hostetter’s influence. Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for a Shared Ministry (EFSM), the hallmark certificate-level programs, continued as did certification of the district-led Academy Certified Training Systems. To better serve Spanish-speakers, the Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH-COB) certificate program was launched in cooperation with the Mennonite Education Agency in 2011. Development of an EFSM Spanish-language track—which has since launched—was also begun, and the position of coordinator of Spanish-language ministry training programs was created.
Hostetter also provided leadership for denominational continuing education through the Academy. She administered and led many sessions for the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program, underwritten by the Lilly Endowment Inc., giving many pastors the opportunity for spiritual, intellectual, and relational growth. This was succeeded by Sustaining Ministerial Excellence in 2015, offering similar experiences for persons in other forms of ministry. In addition, training for supervisors of ministry students was begun in 2014 through Supervision in Ministry classes. In 2015 the Academy assumed responsibility for ministerial ethics training in the denomination, involving dozens of seminars nationwide, many led by Hostetter.
Hostetter retired from the Academy in January 2017. Jeff Carter, president of Bethany, remembers her as “always the educating professional when working with colleagues, supporting churches, and encouraging students. She was clear in her expectations, disciplined in her work, and always seeking the best for students and the church.”
To honor her dedication to ministry education, Hostetter’s family has established the Julie Mader Hostetter Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership Scholarship Fund. Memorials may be sent to this fund, which will support Academy students: Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Tributes may be left at www.rothermelfuneralhome.com/notices/Julie-Hostetter.