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Feb  2010 15
Imbler Honored with Chair

John M. Imbler, Executive Vice President and Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Disciples Studies and Director of Disciples of Christ Ministerial Formation at Phillips Theological Seminary, (PTS) has been honored by the PTS Board of Trustees with the Stephen J. England Chair. 

“The rich, creative contributions Dean England made to PTS, ministerial education in general, ecumenical endeavors, and Disciples church life stands him as one of the notable figures of the mid part of the 20th century. To be named to the Stephen J. England Chair is not to honor me but rather bestows upon me the responsibility to honor the legacy he bequeathed,” said Dr.Imbler.

The England Chair was previously held by Dr. William Tabbernee, retired president of PTS.

Stephen J. England was the second dean of the College of the Bible at Phillips University. A Disciples of Christ biblical scholar, Dean England was also an ecumenist of the first order who encouraged the recruitment of students from other faith traditions and denominations as well as calling non-Disciples professors to the faculty. As a churchman, he was active in a variety of committees of the World Council of Churches as well as in national and international denominational work. In 1966, Dean England was president of the International Convention of the Christian Church at a time it was preparing to reconstitute itself as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  

A member of the PTS faculty since 1993, John Imbler received his Doctorate in Divinity from Columbia College and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry from PTS. A scholar of American Christianity, particularly the history of the Christian Church (DOC), Dr. Imbler has taught courses such as Disciples History and Polity, Disciples Theology, Christianity in the United States, New Religious Movements, and Ministry in the Media.

Among his publications are Beyond Buffalo: Alexander Campbell on Education for Ministry (Nashville: Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1992), Discerning the Call: Advancing the Quality of Ordained Leadership, co-edited with Linda Plengemeier (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1992), “Disciples of Christ Colleges, Universities, and Seminaries,” in Religious Higher Education in the United States: A Source Book, ed. Thomas Hunt and James Carper (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996), "The Council of Agencies" and "The Louisville Plan," in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. Douglas A. Foster, et. al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), and numerous book reviews. His most recent publication is the edited volume A Passion for Christian Unity: Essays in Honor of William Tabbernee with chapters contributed by the PTS Faculty (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2009). 

An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. Imbler serves on the regional ministerial commissions of Kansas and Oklahoma. He is a delegate to the Assembly of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry and sits on the board of United Campus Ministry of The University of Tulsa.

Imbler is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association for Higher Education, and the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. Currently, he is serving as chair of the Research Task Team for the General Commission on Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in preparation for the implementation of the Theological Foundations and Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry approved at the July 2009 General Assembly. He was one of two authors of the Theological Foundation section of that document.

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