Great personal or gift giving idea. Volumes I & II contain 32 faith stories of ACRS speakers in the past.

$18.00 each or both $30.00. Limited supply available.
Volumes III & IV are currently being edited for publication.

Coming Soon, the Orie Miller story!

Much more to come at the ACRS Annual Meeting, May 11th. See “Looking Ahead” on the 2014-15 Events page. Or you can preview a flier prepared by Mennonite Publishing House: Click on MyCallingToFulfill_PromoSheet.pdf

Appreciating Our Founding Partners

In 2014 and 2015 ACRS honored retiring members of the original ACRS Steering Committee with dinner and a plaque of recognition and thanks: Ray C. Gingerich, Founding Director; Calvin W. Redekop, Founding Chair of the Steering Committee; and Robert Lee, Founding Steering Committee Member.

Past Programs (2014-2015)

  • Miss a program? You can always request the CD of that program for $5 through Terry Burkhalter, .
  • For a list of past ACRS programs, speakers and titles, click on this link to view a PDF file: ACRS_DVD_Inventory_for_web_page.xlsx
  • Questions about the events? Email Terry Burkhalter at

April 13
Speaker, Dr. Vernon Jantzi

In the last Breakfast session for the spring of 2015, Vernon Jantzi explored the dilemmas he faced as a Mennonite peace witness: “In Search of Peace: Mixing with Missionaries, Militants and the Military”

Vernon’s talk explored dilemmas involved in positioning the historic Mennonite peace witness in the midst of a church planting venture in Costa Rica and Central America in which decisions had to be made regarding how much that missionary outreach would be like all other Protestant efforts. How central the peace witness would be? How or should pacifist Anabaptist’s collaborate with armed revolutionary efforts committed to creating more just societies in Central America? Today the issue has become how or if the peace witness might involve some level of collaboration with the US Military in relation to trauma awareness and resilience work among other things? Is it possible to be prophetic, a faithful disciple and committed to the Great Commission?

March 9

Speaker, Dr. Amir Akrami

Dr. Amir Akrami, visiting scholar from Iran and an expert on Rumi and Islamic mysticism.
A Muslim scholar from Iran is teaching at Eastern Mennonite University this academic year (2014-2015) as part of a new three-year visiting scholar series.

The first visiting scholars at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Interfaith Engagement (CIE) taught several courses on Islam and contemporary issues in Iran during the academic year, their first full one at EMU.

A husband-and-wife team from Tehran, Iran, Amir Akrami and Sheida Shakouri Rad are splitting a faculty position at the CIE, supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Akrami, who holds a PhD in the philosophy of religion, taught an “introduction to Islam” course, fall, 2014. Shakouri Rad taught a course fall (2014) on “women and Islam,” the topic of her doctoral dissertation.

February 9, 2015

Speakers, Pat Hostetter Martin & Roy Hange

Roy Hange and Pat Hostetter Martin spent a significant number of years in their twenties and thirties living outside the United States. Roy lived in Egypt (‘82-‘85), with his wife Maren in Syria (‘91-‘97), and in Iran (‘98).

Pat and her husband Earl lived in Vietnam (‘66-’69 & ‘73-’75) They lived (‘79-’82) with their three children, in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, in the large southern island of the Philippines, Mindanao.

Their experiences in societies so different from their childhood Mennonite communities and culture opened up for them new ways of looking at the world and at themselves. Pat and Roy shared some of the experiences that transformed them and how new truths have emerged in their interface with the “other.”

January 19, 2015

Speaker, Evan Knappenberger

“Twistifyin’ and Testifyin’: Perspectives on Mennonite Conflict!

As confessors of a nonresistant Christ, Mennonites and other Anabaptist’s have a special relationship to conflict. Though they were brutally murdered for their beliefs and have historically renounced violence, they still manage to engage in effective ideological conflict on a broad scale. As a former US Army operational intelligence analyst, Evan K. Knappenberger will present an analytic treatment of Mennonite conflict on both local and regional scales, drawing lessons from Mennonite conflicts of the past and how they might relate to current conflicts. Come find out, January 12th!

Great reading to get to know Evan a little better would be a Mennonite Weekly Review article titled: Sunday school materials connect veterans, peace churches, Dec 15, 2014 by Tim Huber, Sunday_school_materials_connect_veterans__peace_churches___Mennonite_World_Review.html

December 8, 2014

Speaker, Lisa Schirch

“Navigating the Path to Peace in the Pentagon”

Lisa Schirch is director of Human Security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. connects policymakers with global civil society networks, facilitates civil-military dialogue and provides a conflict prevention and peacebuilding lens on current policy issues. She is also a Research Professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, and a US liaison at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.

There are new initiatives at the Pentagon to support training for the military in how to engage with civilians. She asked the question: Can an institution created to wage war play any role in peace? What are the dangers and dilemmas? Lisa laid out her vision for the role of the military in supporting peacebuilding.

November 10, 2014

Speakers:(L – R) Becca Martin, Erin Nafziger, and Becca Jo Longenecker

They spoke about three prominent topics that EMU’s undergraduates are talking about.

  • Becca Jo Longenecker talked about technology and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yik Yak, and Tinder and how students are using them to build community. But with the rapidly accelerating creation of new sites and new personal pieces of technology, how do we set limits or establish etiquette for what is appropriate and productive when it comes to technology?
  • Becca Martin talked about student safety and the concern on EMU’s campus that there are not enough student services focused on educating about and caring for students after the fact of sexual assault or dangerous situations arising around alcohol consumption. It is common campus knowledge that students are not abiding by the Community Lifestyle Commitment. How can we update this document to reflect the community of students who are here now and will be here in the future, recognizing that the majority of our student body is no longer Mennonite?
  • On behalf of Safe Space and Student Government Association, Erin Nafziger reflected on last year’s Listening Process surrounding EMU’s hiring policy. She will talk about the student-led events that were held in support of change and Safe Space’s purpose at EMU. She will also speak to the current feelings among students about LGBTQ issues.

Becca Jo Longenecker & Becca Martin are this school year’s (2014-’15) Student Government Association (SGA) Co-Presidents. Erin Nafziger serves as SGA Secretary.

October 13, 2014

Our October presenter was Ann Graber Hershberger, Chair of MCC US Board of Directors, who help us understand and examine the way MCC is functioning since the major restructuring in 2010. The title of her presentation was: “Approaching the 2020 Centennial: MCC as a true binational partnership”.

Ann Graber Hershberger

Ann described how the new structure works and has brought MCC:

  • stronger connections with the church,
  • clearer lines of accountability within the MCC system,
  • healthier relationships between MCC in Canada and MCC in the U.S., and
  • greater clarity between regional and national responsibilities in MCC U.S.

Ann Graber Hershberger has worked in family health, community health, international health, and nursing education since 1976. Ann and her husband Jim, have spent 10 years in church sponsored service in Central America. She has been a consultant for a Nursing School in Nicaragua, and has been on the board of MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) since 1997, and is currently the chair of MCC U.S.

September, 2014

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the last minute due to emergency surgery. Fortunately we rescheduled Lisa Schirch for the 8th of December.

Past Programs (2013-2014)

April 2014

Restorative justice and the Mennonites – what were we thinking, anyway? This was our provocative question for our April gathering. Howard Zehr and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz invited us along as they explored some possible answers to this question.

•Co-Director of Mennonite Central Committee’s Office on Justice and Peacebuilding.
•Lorraine has written numerous articles, co-authoredand writtenseveral books. She has served on the international Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA) Board.

•Author, prolific writer, photographer and lecturer.
•Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. This was the most formative and “seminal” book written in the field of justice.

•Howard has published highly recommended portrait/interview books; best known are The Little Book of Restorative Justice…

March 2014

In March our ACRS breakfast featured Darryl Byler. Daryl, currently Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, reflected on his various roles as an advocate for peace, both nationally and internationally.

As a pastor in Mississippi he promoted Civil Rights, later in Washington DC he used his law degree to advocate for more just and peaceful national policies. For the five years prior to his coming to CJP and EMU, Daryl guided MCC’s efforts to promote peace in the Middle East. Daryl had recently returned from Iran and shared that experience as he reflected on advocacy for peace as a ministry of the church.

February 2014

In February our ACRS breakfast featured Burton Buller on the theme of media and mission.

When did your family first get a radio? A TV set? Go to see a movie? Within most of our lifetimes, the Mennonite Church we are part of went from a media taboo to embracing the possibility of media as mission. Buton Buller pioneered this new vision and will tell of his experience at the ACRS breakfast on Monday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 a.m.

Following is a very brief resumé on Burton:
p(. Burton Buller, a native of Henderson, Nebraska, now living in Massanutten, Virginia, began working with film in 1968 for the Mennonite Central Committee. His subsequent work has included being CEO of Family Life Network in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Director of Third Way Media, Harrisonburg, Virginia and now managing partner of Buller Films LLC. He formerly chaired the Electronic Programming Committee of the National Council of Churches and sat on the board of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition. While operating photography, film, video and printing businesses in Nebraska, he served as the chairman of the Central States MCC board, and sat on the MCC US and MCC binational boards. He worked to begin the Nebraska MCC sale, acting as the vice chair for the inaugural years. Currently he is on the executive committee of the North American Section of the World Association for Christian Communication where he serves as treasurer. His films have won numerous awards, including the Cine Golden Eagle, and have been broadcast on CBS (“Sixty Minutes”), ABC, NBC and on the Learning, Discovery and Hallmark channels. Burton is a graduate of Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, and the University of Nebraska (M.A., Journalism). He attends Shalom Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. When he is not making videos, he enjoys motorcycling and wood working.

Like all of our other sessions, if you have missed this one, you can order a CD.

January 2014

In January our ACRS breakfast featured Carolyn Yoder and Elaine Zook Barge, the first two directors of STAR, to tell the story of this unique program which brings together the latest understanding of trauma with our vision of a peace that heals, a peace in which truth, justice and mercy meet.

September 11, 2001! While the President and his advisers planned a war of retaliation, Church World Service and EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding planned a response of healing. How to cope with trauma? How to activate the vision of peacebuilding amid fear and angry anxiety?

Together they planned Seminars of Trauma Awareness and Resilience—STAR. These seminars have brought together religious and civil society leaders from around the world. Since 2002 STAR has offered this training and this vision to some 10,000 persons and has given a new focus to peace-building and doing justice. Where might STAR lead the Mennonite Church in the next decade and beyond? This was the question participants were asked. Be sure to order a CD if you were unable to attend.

STAR logo Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR)

December 2013

On December 9 Norman Kraus examined Mennonite response to the civil rights movement of the ‘60s from his involvement in Goshen, IN, and southern states. As he revisits this period, Norman asks, “How did Mennonite’s ‘nonresistant nonconformity’ affect their race relations in the post-Civil War developments of Jim Crow society? Should we think of Martin Luther King as a modern Anabaptist martyr? How does the legacy of that response affect us today as we work with issues of race, immigration and other justice issues?”

November 2013

The year 2013 marks 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 feature 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 was: 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.

See December ACRS breakfast meeting with Norman Kraus who described the participation of the church community of Goshen, Indiana in this movement toward equality and desegregation.

October 2013

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.

September 2013

  • 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.