- Miss a program? You can always request the CD of that program for $5 through Ray Gingerich, .
- Questions about the events? Email Terry Burkhalter at .
Norman Kraus continued the November theme by examining Mennonite responses to the civil rights movement of the 1960s from his involvement in Goshen and southern states. While Mennonites get credit for not owning slaves, how did their “nonresistant nonconformity” affect their race relations in the post-Civil War developments of Jim Crow society? Should we think of Martin Luther King Jr. as a modern Anabaptist martyr? How have we changed?
The year 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorable “I Have a Dream” speech. The ACRS breakfast programs of November and December featured the response of two Mennonite communities: Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Goshen, Indiana.
On November 11, Harold D. Lehman told the story of how Church of the Brethren and Mennonites of Harrisonburg, meeting on a January evening in 1963, took leadership in “breaking down barriers that separate us.” The title of his presentation is: A Community that Acted. In a state where elected officials launched “Massive Resistance” and ordered public schools to close rather than desegregate, this modest beginning took the pacifist, “quiet in the land” into a new arena.
The African continent has been home for Harold and Annetta Miller for at least the past half century. The Millers bring a wealth of experience in Africa that we hope to draw upon to understand the current context better. Harold spent nearly three decades seconded by Mennonite organizations, particularly Mennonite Central Committee, to serve as a staff member to or within four different African ecumenical agencies.
In the last several decades or so, Harold and Annetta served within MCC as co-representatives in East Africa and more recently in Sudan. Over the years they have related to the African Mennonite church world but more distantly as Mennonite Anabaptists from their involvement in Protestant ecumenical organizations and MCC rather than part of the Mennonite missionary effort. With this perspective Harold helped us gain a glimpse of the movement from colonialism to independence and beyond in Africa.
Harold Miller’s presentation, “Ecumenical Engagement with an African Liberation Century,” helped us explore the secular roots of the liberation century and how Ecumenical Christianity, and to a lesser degree Mennonite Anabaptists, engaged the movement. Harold discussed how Mennonite Central Committee’s commitment to peace, justice and non-violence related to African liberation and how it should or can relate to the larger agenda/challenges in the African future? Harold’s presentation provided a rich background from which we can explore not only the agenda and challenges for the African future with him, but also how we can do the same for the United States/Western future.
- New ACRS series: “Experiences/events which generated significant change in the Mennonite Church.”
- In the summer of 1967, 15 young riders including Terry Burkhalter went on a 10-day bicycle ride of 1,000 miles. Between 1967 and 1982 more than 10,000 riders (most of them Mennonite youth) participated in the program we learned to know as “Out-spokin’.”
Think back to the 1960s. What was happening in our Mennonite communities? Mistrust between east and west? How did the divisions in the United States affect us: the Vietnam war and protests, race protests, shooting deaths of prominent leaders?
“Out-spokin’” channeled the athletic vigor of youth and interest in travel into group bonding, developing leadership skills, and new perspectives on the world they met every day. Terry Burkhalter presented the beginning first three years of Out-spokin’, 1967-70. Ross Erb and other former Out-spokin’ riders shared their stories as part of the presentation.