Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

When the Unthinkable Happens

February 17 to 19, 2017

It can happen anywhere, including your community. It could be a tornado, domestic or sexual abuse, a mass shooting or something else. As Christ’s followers, we need to be ready and respond well.

How can we as congregations and the communities in which we live and work be ready for traumatic events? What are the key principles and practices for responding in the immediate aftermath and in the days and months following? How do congregations and communities work together to build resilience and bring hope and healing? Hesston College’s 2017 Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) seeks to educate and equip church members, community workers and emergency responders in the human and spiritual aspects of trauma care preparedness and immediate/longer term response.

Keynote presenters are Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe of the Institute for Congregational Trauma and Growth, Dr. Donna Minter of the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute and Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service, along with other regional and national resource presenters and organizations.

Keynote and plenary presenters

Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe, executive director of the Institute for Congregational Trauma and Growth (Santa Barbara, Calif.), and Dr. Donna Minter, executive director of the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute (Minneapolis) and STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) trainer, will give keynote presentations. Dr. Minter will also lead a one-day STAR-Lite training on the Monday following AVDS. Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Binational Executive Director Kevin King, along with many other resource people and organizations, will provide AVDS seminar presentations and other event content.

Conference common read

In advance of the conference, attendees are encouraged to read The Little Book of Trauma Healing: When Violence Strikes and Community Security is Threatened, by Carolyn Yoder, founding STAR director. Available for purchase through at a nominal price. Books will also be available at no cost locally through Hesston College and the Hesston Public Library. A variety of other preparatory reads will be added as the conference date approaches.

Additional resources

Conference schedule, seminar schedule and descriptions

Just Give ’Em the News

A Christmas play in February? Laugh as a community in the midst of a dark time, surprised by great love. In a unique, delightfully askew musical take on the first Christmas, Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught weave original music with comedic theater around a new look at the familiar story. Tickets ($12 for adults) are included for AVDS registrants and free for youth through high school age and are available at the door or through the Hesston College Bookstore in person, by phone (620-327-8105) or online.

Collaborative organizational education and training opportunities

  • Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS)—Kansas Center four-part short course, “Communities in trauma: Responding biblically, theologically and ethically,” Oct. 18, 25, Nov. 1 and 7. Discounted $60 voucher for dual AMBS-AVDS event registration.
  • STAR-Lite Training (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience), single-day event, Feb. 20. Additional cost. Offered by Hesston College and Mennonite Central Committee Central States.

Remembering a Hesston tragedy one year later

The Hesston community tentatively plans for a service on Sunday evening, Feb. 19, in remembrance of the mass shooting at Excel Industries, Inc., on Feb. 25, 2016. Conference participants are invited to attend.

Registration – online, print and mail

STAR-Lite training is FULL…

but please still complete the registration if you are interested. We will add you to the wait list and contact you if a slot becomes available. AVDS registration is still available.

Lodging options