Hesston College to host annual Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series 2011

Hesston College will host its 12th annual Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series conference Oct. 28 to 30 with the theme Getting Beyond Them and Us – to We.

The conference will explore the tension of the church’s call from an Anabaptist perspective to be both distinctive and open to others. Participants will discuss ways to talk with others from varying faith backgrounds and how to extend a hospitable hand to all people while remaining distinctly Anabaptist.

“One of the greatest paradoxes in the Bible is the tension between our call to evangelize and our need to not be so influenced by the world that we lose our identity,” said conference organizer and Hesston College Bible and Ministry faculty Michele Hershberger. “In becoming more invitational, we don’t want to drop who we are as an Anabaptist church – we have something to offer – but the elephant in the room is we are in a deep decline. We need to look at the theological reasons people don’t want to come in the doors.”

Conference speakers are Hal Shrader, lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church, an urban, missional, Anabaptist community in Phoenix, Ariz.; Joanna Shenk, an associate for Interchurch Relations and Communication with Mennonite Church USA; and Anton Flores-Maisonet, co-founder of Alterna in LaGrange, Ga., a missional community of U.S. citizens and Latin American immigrants.

Each of the speakers has chosen an Anabaptist way of life and faith and has experience talking with people who have an interest in Anabaptist beliefs and practices but do not come from an Anabaptist background.

Instead of specific workshops with structured topics, the conference will use Open Spaces as a way for participants to discuss relevant issues. The format allows participants to help choose and lead discussions on what they want to talk about.

The Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series was started at Hesston College to help Christians from the Anabaptist tradition and others interested in Anabaptism more fully understand their faith. The conference is designed for any interested person, not just pastors and congregational leaders.

A complete schedule, registration information and speaker information are available at www.hesston.edu/avds. Cost for registration before Oct. 1 is $110 for individuals or $85 per person if registered in groups of three or more. After Oct. 1, individual registration is $130, and the group rate is $95 per person. For more information, contact Elaine Schmidt at elaines@hesston.edu or 620-327-8290.

Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series
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