Hesston College to present “Common Threads” in Colorado Springs and Denver

Common Threads

Hesston College will host “Common Threads: Anabaptist and African-American Songs and Stories of Suffering and Hope” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs and at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 1, at First Mennonite Church in Denver. The events are free and open to the public, though a free-will offering will be received to cover program costs at the Colorado Springs performance.

“Common Threads” is a program that features Hesston College faculty members Tony Brown and John Sharp. Brown is a professional baritone, artist in residence and sociology professor. Sharp is a history professor, storyteller and author. They will 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.

“Both groups found strength and consolation in their steadfast faith in God,” Sharp said. “They were utterly confident that God’s purposes would, in the end, prevail. Their stories and songs have not typically been linked, but we believe it is useful to do so. Their witness stands for all who will see and hear.”

“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.”

Following the Colorado Springs program, all attendees are invited to a reception. Alumni and friends of Hesston College are especially invited to attend.

Beth-El Mennonite Church is located at 4625 Ranch Drive in Colorado Springs. First Mennonite Church is located at 430 West 9th Avenue in Denver.

For more information, contact Dallas Stutzman, Hesston College Alumni and Church Relations director at 866-437-7866.

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