The Hesston College Alumni Office has taken the program Common Threads: Anabaptist and African American Songs and Stories of Suffering and Hope across the United States this semester.
Common Threads is a program of story and song that features current Hesston College faculty members Tony Brown and John Sharp. In the program, they give voice to Anabaptist martyrs and enslaved African Americans by singing their hymns and telling their stories. It is an exploration of the way Anabaptist religious persecution and African American racial suffering have intersected. Both groups have suffered at the hands of legitimate governments, and both found hope in the midst of pain and humiliation.
“Thinking about how we can connect with others and finding those common threads can offer promise for humanity,” Brown said. “In the end we as a human species are more profoundly alike than different. It is the idea of difference that formed the basis for racism, persecution and systematic oppression. Humanity needs to find value in difference while at the same time exploring the common threads that bind us together.”
Common Threads has been presented in schools and churches in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, Ohio and Indiana.