Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series


Overcoming evil: Ordinary people making a difference

February 13 to 15, 2015

featuring internationally known voice for peace, Pace e Bene staff member and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Father John Dear

Events such as violent conflicts in the Middle East, the shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and countless examples of which we are all aware, convince us there is evil in this world. Often it seems so overwhelming we feel powerless to find an effective response.

Participants will encourage each other to follow Jesus on the path of overcoming evil with good, learning to understand the Biblical foundations for justice and the peace of Jesus to overcome the evil that is common to all. Conflicts arise and require us to say, “Enough is Enough!”

AVDS will be held in conjunction with the 2015 Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship meeting. Also part of the weekend will be Ted and Co.’s Ted Swartz, Hesston College faculty worship leaders Ken Rodgers and Anthony Brown along with Hesston College students, and breakout session leaders from around the corner and around the globe. Sponsors include Everence and Mennonite Church USA Peace and Justice Support Network.

In its 16th year, AVDS is a way for Hesston College and area sponsor churches to enrich the life and mission of congregations by offering relevant topics of vision, faith and discipleship. The event is designed for individuals and groups – both pastors and lay leaders – from across the U.S.


Tentative schedule

Friday, Feb. 13

5:30 p.m. – Registration
6:45 to 7 p.m. – Welcome, introductions and announcements
7 to 8:15 p.m. – Plenary session 1: Jesus and nonviolence
8:30 p.m. – Taize Worship
Our outward silence and inward struggles with life’s very real issues make us ask, “How is it possible to reach inner silence…a holy stop and a truce of worries?” Conference worship will be guided in part in the Taize tradition, allowing time for peaceful reflection to encourage us to listen for God’s voice.

Saturday, Feb. 14

Breakfast on your own
8:45 a.m. – Taize worship
9 to 10:15 a.m. – Plenary session 2: The Beatitudes
10:15 to 10:45 a.m. – Break
sponsored by Everence Financial Services
10:45. to 11:45 a.m. – Plenary session 3: Jesus missioning
Noon to 1 p.m. – Lunch
1 to 2 p.m. – Action/Reflection Break-outs #1 (choose one)
  • Dave Works – Finding forgiveness in the face of family tragedy
  • Jason Boone – Veterans’ issues facing war…church helping in the healing process
2:15 to 3:15 p.m. – Action/Reflection Break-outs #2 (choose one)
  • John Sharp – Native American (un)sharing of Konzalands
  • Sohaib Mohiuddi – A Muslim perspective on international faith relations
  • Michelle Armster – Immigration relations
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. – Break
Sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Mission Network Peace and Justice Social Network
3:45 to 4:45 p.m. – Action/Reflection Break-outs #3 (choose one)
  • In Memoriam – A Tribute to the writings of Mennonite peace activist Vincent Harding
  • Mary Herr – Reflections on achieving internal nonviolence
5 to 5:30 p.m. – Hesston’s new student-built prayer Labyrinth is available for prayerful walking reflection
6 to 7 p.m. – Soup/salad supper
7 to 8 p.m. – I’d like to buy an enemy
A hilarious and poignant satire that explores peace, justice and the American way. Starring Ted Swartz and Tim Ruebke, this thought-provoking show allows us to laugh at ourselves, while engaging us to consider the influence of America’s highly militarized presence in the world, to confront the fear that drives our culture and to consider how we can work for peace and justice in the U.S. and globally. Watch a preview
8:30 to 9 p.m. – Taize worship*

Sunday, Feb. 23

9 to 9:45 a.m. – Sunday School Q&A time with presenters TBD
10 to 11:30 a.m. Worship with Hesston Mennonite Church featuring Fr. John Dear


John Dear, Tony Brown, Ken Rodgers, Ted Swartz

Fr. John Dear, keynote
In 2008, peace activist John Dear was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu. He currently serves as outreach coordinator for Pace e Bene, a group working with individuals, organizations and movements to strengthen their efforts to abolish war, protect human rights, end poverty, challenge injustice, heal the planet and to meet today’s profound spiritual task – to build a more just, peaceful and nonviolent world.
Anthony Brown, baritone, peace activist
Hesston College faculty member and artist-in-residence, Brown is an internationally acclaimed baritone singer. He is also executive director of the Peacing it Together Foundation, seeking to serve the global community as a resource and catalyst for the work of peace and social justice, using music and the spoken word to uplift areas of despair to hope.
Ken Rogers, worship leader
A Hesston College faculty member since 1988, Ken conducts the Hesston College Chorale, teaches organ and music appreciation classes and is a founding member of The Sunflower Trio. Rodgers visited the Taize monestary in France, which piqued his interest in this style of worship.
Ted Swartz, founder of Ted & Co. TheatreWorks
Coupling theatre and seminary education, Ted discovered that at the intersection of humor and biblical story we often find new or different understandings of Scripture.