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Let's talk peace

Let's Talk Peace

 

East Coast

Great Lakes

Central States

West Coast

Scheduled Events

 

Let’s talk peace offers dynamic speakers to help probe the meaning of Christ’s call to be a people of peace, especially in our context of war, militarism and empire.  Invite a speaker to your community. Arrange for a presentation, a workshop or a panel.  Check out the speaker profiles which are organized by region of the country.

See the guidelines and suggestions (right column) to help everything go smoothly.

Speakers represent their own experiences and perspectives reflective of our common peace witness, but do not necessarily speak on behalf of Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

East Coast

Ann Graber HershbergerAnn Hershberger  (Spanish/English) 

Location:  Harrisonburg, VA

Background/Experience:  Work in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the wars, drug wars and dictatorships of the 1970’s-1990’s. Partnerships with churches seeking to follow Jesus’ way of peace in contexts of violence and war.

Presentation Themes:  The impact of war, forced recruitment, indiscriminate killing, physical and emotional trauma on individuals and church communities, stories of courage and peacemaking among churches in Central America

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops, etc.

Age Groups:  Open to all age groups

Contact Information:  PH:  540 908-8051    E-mail:   a.g.hershberger [at] gmail.com

 

Jim HershbergerJim Hershberger  (Spanish/English) 

Location:  Harrisonburg, VA

Background/Experience:  Work in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the wars, drug wars and dictatorships of the 1970’s-1990’s. Partnerships with churches seeking to follow Jesus’ way of peace in contexts of violence and war.

Presentation Themes:  The impact of war, forced recruitment, indiscriminate killing, physical and emotional trauma on individuals and church communities, stories of courage and peacemaking among churches in Central America

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops, etc.

Age Groups:  Open to all age groups

Contact Information:  PH:  540 908-8005    E-mail: Jimhersh254 [at] gmail.com

 

Earl Martin

Earl Martin 

Location:  Harrisonburg, VA

Background/Experience:  MCC work in Vietnam during the war and in the Philippines during martial law. Advocacy work in MCC’s Washington office.  A founding member of the Voluntary Gas Tax which promotes creation care.  Travel to North Korea. War tax resister.

Presentation themes:  The impact of war on ordinary people, the problem of unexploded munitions, peace advocacy and witness to government, war tax resistance and environmental concerns, all addressed through story-telling (biblical and personal).

Presentation settings:  Sermons, Sunday School classes, presentations in schools, universities, service clubs and more.

Age groups:  All ages

Contact information:  PH:  540 432-6388 (home)  540-908-1480 (cell)    E-mail: patearl [at] aol.com    

 

Chantelle Todman Moore

Chantelle Todman Moore 

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Background/Experience:  Grew up in a military family with father in the Air Force, worked in urban/international social services, served as Program Director for the Oxford Circle Community Development Association, current Director for MCC E. Coast programs in Philadelphia.

Presentation Themes:  The negative impact of reduced spending on education and social services in a context that privileges military needs over marginalized groups, the positive effects and challenges of participating in a church community that addresses the needs of a growing neighborhood community with diverse young families.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, Presentations with Q & A.

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult/Youth/Children

Contact Information:  PH: 215 535-3624  E-mail: chantelletodmanmoore [at] mcc.org

 

Conrad Moore

Conrad Moore

Location:  Womelsdorf, PA

Background/Experience:  Former gang member in Philadelphia and Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War. Violent life-changing events led Moore to a decision to stop fighting.  He has been actively involved in peace education and peacebuilding since 1996.

Presentation Themes:  The impact of war and militarism on communities of color, lack of opportunities in communities of color which makes military enlistment attractive, the hidden cost of war, the impact of war on women and children, racism in the military, urban peacebuilding.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday school/Christian Ed, workshops, panels, sermons

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults/Youth

Contact Information:  E-mail: njemaartwear [at] yahoo.com

 

Jay ParrishJay Parrish

Location: E. Petersburg, PA

Background/Experience:  Geo-physicist with work experience in remote sensing in the private sector and for county/state governments, taught online course for the Dutton Institute at Penn State University on drones and remote sensing.

Presentation Themes: moral/ethical questions related to unmanned aerial systems (drones) and remote sensing, peaceful uses for these technologies, personal experience and dilemmas as an Anabaptist teaching about drones in a secular context.

Presentation Settings:  workshops, Sunday School/Christian Ed, discussion formats, sermons

Age Groups:  Adults/young adults, Youth

Contact Information: Ph: 717 468-5748     E-mail: parrishjay [at] gmail.com

 

Titus PeacheyTitus Peachey 

Location:  Lancaster, PA

Background/Experience:  Alternative Service in Vietnam during the war. MCC work in post-war Laos. Peace Education at MCC, 1988-Present.  Visits to Colombia and the Middle East.  Counselor on the GI Rights Hotline.

Presentation Themes:  Conscientious objection to war, resisting taxes for war as a peace witness, cluster munitions and the long-term impact of war, the journey of soldiers toward peace, Jesus’ way of peace in a militarized society.

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults, Youth

Contact Information:  PH:  717 859-1152  ext. 367     E-mail:  tituspeachey [at] mcc.org

 

Rachelle Lyndaker SchlabachRachelle Lyndaker Schlabach 

Location:  Washington D.C.

Background/Experience:  Director of MCC Washington Office since 2007, with responsibility to write and speak about militarism and U.S. policy toward the Middle East.  Lyndaker  Schlabach has traveled to the Middle East and serves on the board of Churches for Middle East Peace.

Presentation Themes:  U.S. militarism, U.S. policy toward the Middle East, Pentagon spending, including theological reflections on these topics.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, interactive workshops and seminars, sermons

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult, Youth

Availability:  Fall, 2013-Summer, 2014

Contact Information:  Ph:  202 544-6564    E-mail: rachelleschlabach [at] mcc.org 

 

Theo SittherTheo Sitther

Location:  Washington, D.C.

Background/Experience: Theo is a Senior Legislative Associate for International Affairs at MCC’s Washington Office. In this capacity he monitors U.S. foreign policy and has traveled to Colombia and Afghanistan.

Presentation  Themes:  Story telling from Colombia and Afghanistan; the impact of war, armed conflict and U.S. military aid/presence in these countries.  The role of the church in Colombia in working for a just peace, the role of Christians in the U.S. in helping to create opportunities for peace in Colombia and Afghanistan. 

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/adult education settings

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult

Contact Information:  PH:  202 544-6564, ext. 118     E-mail:  theositther [at] mcc.org,  

 

Gwen WhiteGwen White (available to present w/ Rod White or alone)

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Background/Experience:  A pastor, psychologist and mother of four grown boys, Gwen has visited Iraq, Sarajevo and Serbia, Palestine/Israel and Colombia. She has practiced contemplative prayer for 30 years.

Presentation Themes:  The myth of redemptive violence, the trauma experienced by combat veterans, Jesus’ life and teaching as an alternative to our culture’s propensity to glorify violence, peacebuilding in the context of the countries visited

Presentation settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, sermons, workshops, etc. 

Age Groups:   adults/young adults

Contact Information:  E-mail:  gwhite [at] eastern.edu

 

Rod WhiteRod White (available to present w/ Gwen White or alone)

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Background/Experience:  Pastor for 27 years, participant in learning tours to Palestine, El Salvador, Honduras  and Colombia, active in movement against gun violence in Philadelphia.

Presentation Themes:  Peace theology, impact of militarism in Palestine and Colombia, proactive peacemaking/protest, connections between gun violence and militarism

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult, Youth

Contact information:  PH:  215 468-2726     E-mail:  rod [at] circleofhope.net,   

 

John YeattsJohn Yeatts

Location:  Grantham, PA

Background/Experience:  Vietnam War era conscientious objector, pastor and teacher

Presentation/Themes:  The biblical basis for nonviolent resistance, interaction with students not committed to biblical pacifism, experiences resisting the VN war, father’s conversion to Christianity and pacifism.

Presentation settings:  Any setting is fine, but not available on Sunday mornings

Age Groups:  adults/young adults/youth

Contact Information:  PH:  717 766-0531, ext. 7075     E- mailJyeatts [at] granthamchurch.org   

 

 

Great Lakes

 Sarah AdamsSarah Adams 

Location:  Central Ohio

Background/Experience:  Four-year assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Lebanon and Syria, 2010-2013. This assignment included work with churches and community groups re: the affects of war and displacement, and non-violent solutions to conflict.

Presentation Themes: armed conflict, civil war and external influence, religion and militarism, cluster munitions, peacemaking efforts in Lebanon and Syria.

Presentation Settings: Flexible.  Preference for Sunday School settings or presentations with opportunity for questions and answers

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults

Availability:  December, 2013—June, 2014

Contact Information:  E-mail:  csgomar [at] gmail.com

 

Eileen AhearnEileen Ahearn 

Location:  Madison, Wisconsin

Background/Experience:  Practicing psychiatrist with veterans, doing clinical and research work on post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Involved locally with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War

Presentation Themes:  Moral, medical and spiritual issues that arise from exposure to violence and death, including moral injury and chronic guilt, the role of the church in reaching out to combat veterans

Presentation Settings: General presentations and/or panel discussions

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults

Availability:  September, 2013—June, 2014  Any days except Sunday or Wednesday.

Contact Information:  E-mail:  Eahearn1 [at] gmail.com

 

Nathan BeachyNathan Beachy (Presenting with Crandall Miller)

Location:  Cleveland, OH

Background/Experience:  Medical doctor for 22 years, first in Nigeria with MCC and now at the county hospital in Cleveland, OH.  In both settings he has observed the struggles and challenges that come with poverty, especially as it relates to health care. Nathan attends Lee Heights Community Church which has a long history of leadership in local initiatives to improve community life through peacemaking.

Presentation Themes:  The need to seek justice as informed by the teachings of Jesus  and care for the most vulnerable around us, reallocation of resources away from the violence and divisiveness of military action and war toward initiatives that reduce poverty. 

Presentation Settings:  workshops with question and answer time, Sunday School or sermon time

Age Groups :  Adults/Young Adults/Youth

Contact Information:  PH:  216 904-2337 (cell),  216 991-2934 (home),  E-mail: nbeachy [at] roadrunner.com

 

Crandall MillerCrandall Miller  (Presenting with Nathan Beachy)

Location:  Cleveland, OH

Background/Experience:  A participant in community-based efforts to raise awareness of poverty, and create cooperative efforts to address local poverty, specifically targeting children and families. Crandall attends Lee Heights Community Church which has a long history of leadership in local initiatives to improve community life through peacemaking.

Presentation Themes:  The priority of addressing poverty at local, national and global levels as a peacemaking effort, reallocation of resources away from the violence and divisiveness of military action and war toward initiatives that reduce poverty.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, Interactive workshops and seminars

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults, Youth

Contact Information:  PH:  216 214-1399 (cell)    216 397-9204 (home),   E-mail: cranm [at] sbcglobal.net,  

 

Saulo PadillaSaulo Padilla  (Spanish/English)

Location:  Goshen, IN.

Background/Experience: Lived in Guatemala during 15 years of war/conflict/genocide. Father was kidnapped and tortured, which led to exile and refugee status in Canada. Experienced the impacts of military-caused forced migration then and now. Current Immigration Education Coordinator for MCC U.S. National Program. 

Presentation Themes:   Personal story of family migration/separation resulting from U.S. militarism, U.S. and Guatemala's genocide history,  militarism as an instrument of oppression and poverty (in Guatemala and the U.S.), lessons from Guatemala to apply to our current context as residents in a military superpower.  U.S. military aid and economic oppression in Guatemala and Central American countries.

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops

Age Groups:  Adults, Youth/Young Adults

Contact Information:  PH:  574 534-4133   E-mail:  sp [at] mcc.org 

 

Jorge VielmanJorge Vielman  (Spanish/English) 

Location:  Goshen, IN

Background/Experience:  MCC Great Lakes Peace and Justice Coordinator, with a degree in Peace Studies from the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.  Vielman was born in Guatemala and fled due to the political repression in 1989 at the age of 25.

Presentation Themes:  The impact of U.S. military aid on Vielman’s family and church community, and their response to the militarized evangelical theology espoused by President Rios Montt.  Lessons from Guatemala to apply to our current context as residents in a military superpower.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops, sermons

Age Groups: Adults/young adults/youth

Contact Information:   Ph:  574 534-4133     E-mail: jvielman [at] mcc.org

Available all week and weekends with sufficient lead time.

 

 

Central States

Chappell DeckertJen and Aaron Chappell Deckert

Location:  Newton, KS

Background/Experience: Jen and Aaron are MCC alumni, having served in Colombia. Jen is currently a social worker and professional mediator, while Aaron is an Organization Development Consultant.

Presentation Themes:  U.S. militarism, drug policy and free trade in Latin America, with a specific focus on Colombia.  Peacemaking initiatives in the U.S. and Latin America.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, small groups and interactive settings as well as larger church gatherings.

Age Groups:  Open to all ages

Contact Information:  Aaron:  PH:  785 764-4593    E-mail:  acdeckert [at] gmail.com  

  Jen:  PH: 785 764-5273    E-mail:  jchappelldeckert [at] gmail.com  

 

Tony BrownTony Brown

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Background/Experience: Tony Brown is a world-renown singer with extensive international travel to contexts that have experienced violence, including Uganda, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Japan, Korea, China, Ethiopia and Vietnam

Presentation Themes:  Songs and stories of peace, hope and justice, the long-term impact of war and militarism on the countries of Vietnam, and Uganda.

Presentation Settings:  All settings, weekends are best, piano required.

Age Groups:  Open to all ages

Contact Information:  PH:  623 826-3613   E-mail: brownahb [at] cs.com 

 

Gilberto FloresGilberto Flores  (Spanish/English)

Location:  Cedar Hill,  TX

Background/Experience: Pastor in Guatemala during war years with close connection to two members who later became president, one of whom was recently tried for war crimes.  Learned to apply Anabaptist theology in a context where religion was used to justify war and violence. Current Associate Conference Minister of Western District Conference, Mennonite Church USA.

Presentation Themes:  The connection between militarism, religion and politics.  Militarism as an instrument of oppression and poverty (in Guatemalan and the U.S.). Peace as conversion to the way of Jesus, peacemaking as a holistic journey, peacemaking as a prophetic challenge to the powers.

Presentation Settings:  sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops

Age Groups:  Adults, Youth/Young Adults

Contact Information:  PH:  214 960-6065    E-mail: gfcamposg66 [at] gmail.com

 

Mike MartinMike Martin

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Background/Experience:  Founder of RAWtools, a project to transform weapons into garden tools, create alternatives to violence and foster a cycle of peace.

Presentation Themes:  The role of fear in gun violence and militarism, demonstration of turning a gun into a garden tool (2-3 hours required), the story of the beginning of RAWtools and the transformation of an AK-47 into a garden trowel.   Advance planning required for demonstration 

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, Workshops/Seminars

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults, Youth

Contact Information:  PH: 719 203-8069    E-mail: mailpacifisticuffs [at] gmail.com

 

Jane Yoder ShortJane Yoder Short

Location:  Kalona, IA

Background/Experience:  MA in theology,  Co-coordinator of a local ecumenical group featuring educational speakers called Just Peace Outreach Group, Coordinator of congregation’s participation in Iowa City’s free lunch program, writer on numerous peace issues via Iowa City Press Citizen’s Group.

Presentation Themes:  Peace theology, being a people of peace in a militarized society, the cost of opposing war, the moral questions that surround weaponized drones

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults, youth, children

Contact Information:  PH:  319 683-2547    E-mail:  wilmajane17 [at] gmail.com

 

Mary and Peter Sprunger FroeseMary and Peter Sprunger-Froese (Presenting alone or together)

Location:  Colorado Springs, CO

Background/Experience:  Over 30 years with ecumenical intentional community serving the poor and initiating peacebuilding and protest efforts in a heavily militarized setting.

Presentation Themes:  Biblical/Anabaptist perspectives on peace, nonviolence as practice and lifestyle, war tax resistance, communal witness for the long haul, way of Jesus versus way of the world.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday school/Christian Ed, workshops/seminars, sermons, schools, universities, clubs;  interactive preferred with stories/songs/theater options

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult/Youth

Contact Information:  PH: 719 471-3405    E-mail:  marysprungerfroese [at] gmail.com

 

West Coast

Dick DavisDick Davis 

Location:  Southern California

Background/Experience: Former Southern Baptist Pastor and Active Duty U.S. Army Chaplain. Mennonite Pastor since 1994. Current Conference Minister of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference.

Presentation Themes:  Experience as an Army chaplain, theology of discipleship, Christian responsibility as a citizen of God’s kingdom, conscientious objection to war.

 Presentation settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed Hour, interactive workshops/seminars, sermons, presentation with Q & A

Age Groups:  Adults/Young Adults 

Availability:  September, 2013-June, 2014, Not available on short notice.

Contact Information:  PH:  214 608-6334   E-mail:  DickDavis [at] Pacificsouthwest.org

 

Dina Gonzalez PinaDina González-Piña  (Spanish/English) 

Location:  Fresno, CA

Background/Experience:  Twenty years of Christian higher education work, co-pastor (with husband) of a 1st generation Latino church that includes undocumented and economically impoverished families, strong commitment to peace and justice.

Presentation Themes:  The war on immigrant communities who feed us even though they are often invisible, justice and militarism issues on the U.S./Mexico border, the beauty of ethnic diversity and the role of Christians in bringing unity.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, workshops and seminars, lectures

Age Groups:  Open to all ages

Contact Information:  PH:  559 453-2231; 559 304-1854   E-Mail:  dgonzale [at] fresno.edu

 

Mike IzbickiMike Izbicki

Location:  Riverside, CA

Background/Experience:  A graduate of the US Naval Academy and nuclear submarine officer, Izbicki received a conscientious objector discharge from the Navy in 2011 on the basis of his new understanding of Jesus’ way of peace.

Presentation Themes:  Personal transformation and commitment to the way of peace. How civilians can walk alongside members of the military who are wrestling with issues of conscience.

Presentation Settings:  Sunday School/Christian Ed, Workshops, Panels, not available for Sunday morning sermons

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult, Youth

Availability:  Fall, 2013-Summer, 2014

Contact Information:  E-mail:  mike [at] izbicki.me

See:  http://izbicki.me/blog/co-testimony-the-development-of-my-beliefs

 

Peter LumsdainePeter Lumsdaine

Location:  Whidbey Island, Washington 

Background/Experience:  Two decades on staff of nonprofits such as the  Resource Center for Nonviolence, Global Exchange and the Interfaith  Peace Coalition - taking him into war zones of the Philippines, Mexico and occupied Iraq as well as US Strategic Command nuclear missile bases and the American prison system. Co-founder of ARROWS,  Alliance to Resist Robotic Warfare & Society. Active in Evergreen Mennonite Church. Father of young children. Many church,college, community presentations.

Presentation Themes:  Hope for the 21st Century. How followers of Jesus can effectively challenge the emerging Robotic/Biotech matrix of global control, including its drone strikes and electronic surveillance across the Middle East, the Western Hemisphere, Africa and Asia; how we can protect the Creator's sacred gift of natural life on Earth; finding new ways to wage peace, economic justice, Creation care, and simple living in an era of high-tech materialism, resource wars and deepening planetary crisis.  

Presentation Settings: Talks/lectures (evening or afternoon), Sunday School, Sermons, workshops/seminars and slideshows.

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult, Youth, Children

Contact Information:  PH:  360 341-3790  E-mail:  tierralinda [at] live.com  

 

Weldon NislyWeldon Nisly

Location:  Seattle, WA

Background/Experience:  An MA in Peace Studies from AMBS and 40 years of peace/pastoral ministry including   peace witness in Colombia (1977), Nicaragua (1984, 1990), the former Soviet Union (1988), Iraq (2003, 2010), war tax resister for over 40 years. 

Presentation Themes:  The Way of Jesus or the way of empire, contemplative prayer and active peacebuilding in an age of terrorism and permanent war, war tax resistance as peace witness, envisioning the paradigm shift from Just War to Just Peace.

Presentation Settings:  Open to all settings…sermons, Sunday schools, workshops, retreats…Welcomes interactive forums with Q & A

Age Groups:  Youth/young adult, adult, children’s time during worship

Availability:  Fall 2013—Summer 2014  Best availability begins in December, 2013.

Contact Information:  Until 12/13 weldon [at] seattlemennonite.orgChurch: 206-361-4630
Anytime:  PH:  206 349-2461 (cell)    E-mail:  nislyweldon [at] gmail.com    

 

Steve RatzlaffSteve Ratzlaff

Location:  Fresno, CA

Background/Experience:  Pastor, MCC service in Bolivia, visits to Colombia and Puerto Rico, board member of the Peace Tax Fund and war tax resister for 40 years.

Presentation Themes:  resisting taxes for war as a peace witness, Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund, conscientious objection to war, the military budget and economic justice.

Presentation Settings:  Sermons, Sunday School/Christian Ed, seminars, interactive workshops, etc.

Age Groups:  Adult/Young Adult, Youth

Contact Information:  Ph:  559 307-1555   E-mail:  ratzlaffs [at] sbcglobal.net