Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

Overcoming evil - Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series 2015

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.

Let’s encourage each other to follow Jesus on the path of overcoming evil with good. Our path begins as we seek the peace of Jesus for the evil that is common to us all. Sometimes the path to peace creates conflict, requiring us to say, “Enough is Enough!”

Internationally known voice for peace and Pace e Bene speaker Father John Dear will help us explore biblical foundations for justice and our own need for transformation. People from around the corner and around the globe will share their peace stories. We will collectively brainstorm possible actions in which ordinary people can engage to help make a difference for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.

Being pacifist does not necessarily mean being passive, but what does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence?

How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to make a more just society?

These are questions posed by Father John Dear, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, longtime peace activist and Pace e Bene staff member. Father Dear has spent more than three decades speaking about peace and nonviolence and has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S. His book, The Nonviolent Life, proposes a simple vision of nonviolence that everyone can aspire to. Father Dear shares his belief that peace is not something static, but [a way] to be engaged – mind, body and spirit – to love yourself, to love your neighbor, your enemy and the world…and to understand the profound responsibility in doing all of these.


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. – Taizé 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 Taizé 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. – Taizé worship
9 to 10:15 a.m. – Plenary session 2: The Beatitudes
10:15 to 10:45 a.m. – Break
sponsored by Everence
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 breakouts #1 (choose one)
  • Finding forgiveness in the face of family tragedy — Dave Works, author of Gone in a Heartbeat
  • Veterans’ issues facing war…church helping in the healing process — Jason Boone, Peace and Justice Support Network
2:15 to 3:15 p.m. – Action/Reflection breakouts #2 (choose one)
  • People of/on the land: Native/European Americans — John Sharp, Hesston College history faculty
  • A Muslim perspective on international faith relations — Sohaib Mohiuddin
  • Justice in difficult circumstances — Michelle Armster, Mennonite Central Committee Central States
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. – Break
Sponsored by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Mission Network Peace and Justice Support Network
3:45 to 4:45 p.m. – Action/Reflection breakouts #3 (choose one)
  • A Tribute to the writings of Mennonite peace activist Vincent Harding — Hesston College faculty and students
  • Reflections on achieving internal nonviolence — Mary Herr, founder of The Hermitage
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. – Taizé worship*

Sunday, Feb. 15

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 led by 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 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 Rodgers, 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 Taizé 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. Founder of Ted & Co. TheatreWorks