Federal faith-based initiatives leader to visit Hesston College

David Myers and Kevin King
David Myers and Kevin King
David Myers, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will visit Hesston College March 18 to 20 to discuss partnerships between the government and faith-based and other non-profit organizations with the Hesston College campus and wider local community. Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service, will join Myers in several of his presentations

The DHS Center is one of 12 to operate under the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Myers, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to head the DHS Center, leads his staff to build, sustain and improve effective partnerships between the federal government and faith-based and voluntary organizations. Myers has personally led Center efforts at major disasters, working closely with senior governmental, state, local, faith-based and voluntary groups.

An ordained Mennonite minister, Myers has served as pastor at Whitestone Mennonite Church (Hesston, Kan.), Oak Park Mennonite Church (Chicago), and North Suburban Mennonite Church (Libertyville, Ill.). He has also improved community-based social service programs while working for Rafael Center/Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and Human Needs; the Center for Public Ministry/Connections for the Homeless; as executive director of the Center for Public Ministry in Evanston, Ill.; and as executive director of Teen Living Programs in Chicago.

King has served as executive director of MDS, based in Lititz, Pa., since February 2004. He previously served as an International Agriculture Advisor with Mennonite Central Committee in Brazil and Jamaica. He later was the Material Resources Manager at MCC’s Akron, Pa., office, where he coordinated collecting and shipping material aid overseas.

Friday, March 18 at 10 a.m., Myers and King will speak to the Hesston College Disaster Management Leadership Development class on the topic, “What makes a good leader?” The class will meet in Kropf Center room 150. Myers will speak in an 11 a.m. forum in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary with the topic, “Of the world, but not in it.” Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Area pastors and other church leaders are invited to a 7 p.m. discussion March 18 with Myers and King in the Hesston Mennonite Church Community Center. The evening will address the strengths and weaknesses of partnerships between the church and government. John Murray, lead pastor at Hesston Mennonite Church, will serve as moderator. The event is free, though reservations are required.

Hesston College will host a community-wide event Saturday, March 19 for representatives of disaster response and recovery organizations and other interested people. Myers and King will discuss how faith-based and non-profit agencies can work efficiently with government agencies. The event will begin at 8 a.m., with a continental breakfast, and discussion beginning at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Brenda Phillips, a professor in the Fire and Emergency Management Program at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) will serve as moderator. The event is free, though reservations are required.

Dr. Phillips is an affiliated faculty member in the Gender and Women’s Studies and the International Student programs, and a senior researcher with the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events at Oklahoma State University. She is a member of the Gender and Disaster Network and the International Research Committee on Disasters. She is the author of “Disaster Recovery,” (Auerbach Publications, 2009) and is working on a book on recovery in the Gulf following the hurricanes of 2005. She has also co-edited books about disaster recovery and been published in several journals. Dr. Phillips was instrumental in the formation of the Hesston College Disaster Management Program.

Call Hesston College Alumni and Church Relations at 866-437-7866 for reservations for the Friday evening and Saturday morning events.

Located 30 miles north of Wichita, Hesston College is the two-year liberal arts college of Mennonite Church USA.