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Past Events

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 • 7:00 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Anabaptists Around the World

Conrad L. Kanagy, professor of sociology at Elizabethtown College, presents the major findings from the Global Anabaptist Profile (GAP), a study of 22 Mennonite groups from 18 countries. This presentation is the first public report of the results of the GAP, which is sponsored by Mennonite World Conference and the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (Goshen College, Ind.). John Roth (Goshen College) and Conrad Kanagy are codirectors of the study.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Collecting Data While You Pass the Jell-O Salad: Researching Amish Fiction at Potlucks and Reunions

Valerie Weaver-Zercher, managing editor of trade books for Herald Press, discusses the approach of narrative scholarship as it relates to her research for Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels, which received the 2015 Dale Brown Book Award. Her features and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Christian Century, among others.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Writing About Amish Women

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology at SUNY Potsdam and the 2015 Snowden Fellow, explores the challenges of writing about Amish women's lives and the role of women in Amish communities. Johnson-Weiner is author of New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State and Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools and coauthor (with Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt) of The Amish.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

From Conservative Amish Mennonite to Evangelical Anabaptist: A Historical Overview of the Conservative Mennonite Conference 

Nate Yoder, professor of church history at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and archivist for Eastern Mennonite University, discusses the growth and change of the Conservative Mennonite Conference, which is the topic of his recent book,  Together in the Work of the Lord: A History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference (Herald Press, 2014).

Saturday, April 18, 2015 • 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Seminary Ridge Museum
at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

Brethren and Mennonites and the Battle of Gettysburg

The daylong event includes a tour of Seminary Ridge Museum, a visit to Marsh Creek Brethren meetinghouse, and lectures by Stephen Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater College and author of Gettysburg Religion, and Roger Heller, retired history teacher and volunteer with Adams County Historical Society.

9:30 a.m. Refreshments
10:00 a.m.       Tours of Seminary Ridge Museum and visits to the cupola
11:30 a.m. Lunch (vegetarian option available)
12:30 p.m.    Lecture: "Gettysburg Religion: Pursuing Faith in a Small Town on the Eve of the Civil War"
Stephen Longenecker
1:15 p.m. Travel to Marsh Creek meetinghouse
1:30 p.m. Lecture: "Conscientious Objection in Civil War Adams County" 
Roger Heller
2:15 p.m. Closing comments by Stephen Longenecker

Cost is $30, which includes museum admission, refreshments, lunch, and presentations. Reservations are required by April 8.

Friday, April 10, 2015 • 8:30 am to 2:30 pm
Susquehanna Room, Myer Hall

How a Maverick Amish Group Impacted Federal Hate Crimes

The seminar will explore the motivation behind the Amish beard cutting attacks in Ohio in 2011 and the subsequent federal prosecution and trial of sixteen “Amish” defendants. Presenters will trace the legal proceedings and the reversal of the hate crime convictions. They will explain how this case will influence interpretation of federal hate crimes motivated by religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and country of origin. An informal format will allow ample opportunity for discussion.

8:30 a.m. Gathering and Introduction
8:45 a.m.       "The Bergholz Story: The Community, the Attacks, and the Trial"
--Donald Kraybill 
9:30 a.m. Inside the Bergholz Community: A Conversation with Johnny Mast
10:30 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. The Investigation: A Conversation with Detective Joe Mullet
11:45 a.m. Lunch 
12:45 p.m.    Keynote Address: "Amish on the Cutting Edge: Hate Crimes, Interstate Commerce,
and the Unlikely Case of U.S. v. Mullet"
--Kyle Kopko
1:30 p.m. Discussion with Kyle Kopko
2:00 p.m. Wrap-up panel with program participants and Attorney Larry Etzweiler
2:30 p.m. Dismissal

Program Participants

Larry Etzweiler is a retired attorney whose career in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office was significantly devoted to prosecuting criminal cases and law enforcement. He received his law degree from Rutgers-Camden School of Law in 1975 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1976.

Kyle Kopko is an assistant professor of political science and director of the pre-law program at Elizabethtown College. Kopko’s research on judicial behavior and constitutional law has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Election Law Journal, Judicature, and Justice System Journal. He received a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University.

Donald Kraybill is senior fellow at the Young Center of Elizabethtown College. He assisted the prosecutors and served as an expert witness at the federal trial for the Bergholz defendants. Kraybill is the author of numerous books on Amish society including, most recently, Renegade Amish: Hate Crimes, Beard Cutting, and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers (Johns Hopkins, 2014).

Johnny Mast is a former member of the Bergholz community who was an eyewitness to many of the events preceding and during the beard-cutting attacks. He also served as a witness for the prosecution at the federal trial in Cleveland.

Joe Mullet is a detective in the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department. He grew up in the Amish community of Holmes County, Ohio, and is fluent in Pennsylvania Dutch. Detective Mullet participated in the investigation and prosecution of the Bergholz defendants. He was the first officer to respond on the scene after the late-night beard cutting attack in Holmes County.


Cost for the seminar is $10, which includes lunch. Reservations are required by March 26. Parking will be available on Cedar Street and in the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren parking lot. To locate Myer Hall on the college campus, see the campus map.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 • 5:30 pm
Leffler Chapel and Performance Center

* Please note the change of venue and format for this event *
The annual Young Center gathering gives faculty, staff, students, church leaders, and other friends of the Young Center the opportunity to socialize and learn about the Center’s activities and programs. This year, the gathering will celebrate the retirement of Young Center senior fellow Donald B. Kraybill. The format will be a reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres.

The registration deadline for the banquet has passed. Interested persons are invited to attend the Durnbaugh Lecture (see below), which does not require reservations. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015 • 7:00 pm
Leffler Chapel and Performance Center

The Young Center: From Swamp to International Center of Scholarship
* Please note the change of venue and start time for this event *

Donald Fitzkee will emcee the program, which celebrates the retirement of Donald Kraybill. The program will begin with an update on Young Center activities by director Jeff Bach followed by relfections by several of Kraybill’s former students and colleagues. Kraybill will then reflect on his teaching and work at Elizabethtown College and trace the Young Center’s birth, growth, and contributions to the world of Anabaptist and Pietist studies.

Donald B. Kraybill, Distinguished College Professor and senior fellow at the Young Center, is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous journal articles and books, including  The Amish and Renegade  Amish: Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes, and the Trial of the Bergholz Barbers , both published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Thursday, March 12, 2015 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Amish in Focus: Photos and Stories

Professional photographer Dennis Hughes of East Petersburg, Pa., has been taking pictures of the Amish and other Plain groups since 1986. His 18,000 wide-ranging images, taken in various counties in Pennsylvania and other states, illustrate his sensitivity and respect for Amish people and their way of life. Hughes’s photographs have appeared in various publications, including those of Young Center scholars. He will show some of his photos and tell behind-the-scene stories related to them.

A reception honoring Hughes for the generous contribution of his slides to the Hess Archives and Special Collections will follow the program.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 • 7:00 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Eberhard Bethge and the Myth of Bonheoffer the Assassin: Recovering a Consistent Christ-Centered Ethic in "a World Full of Nazis"

Perhaps the most commonly known fact about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life is that he was executed for being involved in efforts to kill Hitler. But what if this “fact” is actually a myth? What if, in fact, he was executed for saving the lives of Jews and being a conscientious objector? What if the life and teachings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer from 1932 to 1945 were actually a consistent expression of the love of neighbors and enemies that is articulated in his famous book, Discipleship? In this lecture, Mark Thiessen Nation, professor of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and coauthor of Bonhoeffer the Assassin?: Challenging the Myth, Recovering His Call to Peacemaking  (Baker Academic Press, 2013), will argue that the latter is true, thus challenging the impressions left by Bonhoeffer’s influential biographer and friend Eberhard Bethge. Following Nation’s lecture, Brian Newsome, professor of history at Elizabethtown College, will give a response. Newsome’s specialties are modern history in Europe and northern Africa.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Religion and Terror in Northeastern Nigeria: Boko Haram, Christians, and Modern Muslims

Musa Mambula, Young Center Fellow in Spring 2007 and minister and educator in Nigeria, will discuss Boko Haram’s recent attacks and takeover of the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren (EYN) and Kulp Bible College in Nigeria. Brian Newsome, professor of history at Elizabethtown College, will respond. The event is cosponsored by the Young Center and the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Heroes and Heretics: Pietists and Anabaptists in the Evangelical Imagination

American evangelicals have both revered and condemned the Pietist and Anabaptist traditions. The view they have taken has often depended on the historical context and the tensions within the evangelical subculture at the time. Jared Burkholder will examine several episodes in historical memory and what they say about all three groups and their places on the landscape of American society.

Burkholder is professor of history at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, where he also directs the Office of Faith, Learning, and Scholarship. Burkholder's research interests are in American religious history with an emphasis on Pietism, Anabaptism, and evangelicalism. He is coeditor of  The Activist Impulse: Essays on the intersection of Anabaptism and Evangelicalism (Wipf & Stock, 2012) and A Cord of Many Strands: Seventy-Five years of Christian Higher Education at Grace College and Theological Seminary (BMH, forthcoming).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Gibble Auditorium, Esbenshade Hall

(For the location of Esbenshade Hall, see #15 on the campus map.)

The Amish and Federal Hate Crimes

Donald B. Kraybill and an Amish guest will discuss the Ohio beard-cutting attacks and their impact on national hate crime laws. Following the talk and a question-and-answer period, copies of Kraybill's newly released book, Renegade Amish: Beard Cutting, Hate Crimes, and the Trial of the Bergholz Barberswill be available for sale and signing.

Kraybill, Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow at the Young Center, is the author or editor of numerous journal articles and books, including  The Amish  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).

Thursday, October 2, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Looking Backward on a Career: How Growing Up Mennonite Prepared Me for Leadership

Shirley Hershey Showalter was the first woman college president of Goshen College, first Mennonite college president to be given a leadership award by the Knight Foundation, and first person in her family to go to college. Like most Mennonites, she has received strong messages about the dangers of pride and humility. Few, if any, Mennonite women of her generation were taught to “lean in.” In this talk, Showalter will reflect on how she dealt with conflicting aspirations in the writing of her award-winning memoir,  Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing following the talk.

Showalter grew up on a Mennonite family farm near Lititz, Pennsylvania. She was named the first woman president of Goshen College in Indiana, a position she held from 1996 to 2004. After six years as an executive at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she became a full-time writer. Her memoir was named a Best Spiritual Book of 2013 by Spirituality & Practice.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

German Pietists as Translators in An Introduction to German Pietism

Pietism was a late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Protestant movement that encouraged spiritual transformation and new birth. Convinced that Germans suffered from a lack of models of true Christian piety, Pietists such as Gottfried Arnold and Gerhard Tersteegen turned to the Catholic mystics from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, translating their writings from Latin and French into German. Doug Shantz will examine their strategies as translators, and their effort to use the past to inspire new spiritual vitality and engagement in the present. Copies of Shantz's book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

Shantz is professor of Christian thought at the University of Calgary, where his courses include “Medieval and Reformation Christianity,” “Radical Protestantism in Early Modern Germany,” “Spiritual Autobiography in the Modern Age,” and “Christianity in the Developing World.” The author or editor of several books including A Companion to German Pietism (Brill, forthcoming), Shantz focuses his writing and research on Protestant reform movements in early modern Germany, especially German Pietism. His recent book,  An Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), was awarded the Brown Book Award for 2014. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing following the talk.

.The Dale Brown Book Award is given annually to the book chosen by a panel of independent judges for making outstanding contributions to the field of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. It is named in honor of Church of the Brethren theologian and long-time peace worker Dale W. Brown.

Friday, June 6, 2014 • 7:00 pm 
Hoover 110

Spiritual Manifestations: The Union of Shaker Art and Vision

Eleanor Potter and other Shaker women created drawings and messages in the 1800s during a time when Shaker communities experienced many visionary spiritual events. Jane Crosthwaite will discuss the importance of these drawings and messages and share illustrations from Eleanor Potter’s work.

Crosthwaite is professor of religion at Mount Holyoke College. She has taught courses on women in religion, American religious history, and ethics as well as advanced seminars on the Shakers. She is the author of The Shaker Spiritual Notices of Eleanor Potter (Richard W. Couper Press, 2013).

June 5–7, 2014

Privileged Speech: Prophecy, Pietism, and Beyond  

Speaking from divine inspiration has been a claim among numerous minority groups in Christianity throughout the early modern period and beyond, especially in the Anabaptist movement, the Pietist movement, and the evangelical awakening. This study conference offers a forum for examining the claims and content of inspiration, the status of the speakers, and the reception of prophetic speech.

Conference web page  

Friday, April 4, 2014 • 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
The KAV, Brossman Commons

Cloth, Commerce, and Collecting

In this hands-on session led by Janneken Smucker, participants will hone their skills in identifying characteristics of Amish quilts, consider the relationship of these objects to consumer culture, and analyze material culture including quilt-related objects made for the consumer market. Attendees are invited to bring a quilt for comment by Smucker.

The March 20 registration deadline for the seminar has passed, but interested persons are invited to attend Smucker's Thursday evening lecture, which is open to the public and does not require reservations. 

Smucker is an assistant professor of history at West Chester University and the author of numerous works on Amish quilts, including Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). She serves on the board of the national nonprofit Quilt Alliance.

Thursday, April 3, 2014 • 7:30 pm
Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren

Abstract Art or Country Craft? The Quilts of the Amish

In 1997, art critic Robert Hughes called Amish quilts “America’s first abstract art.” At the same time, these country crafts can be found in “Amish country,” where they help attract tourists eager to take home a souvenir of their visit. Janneken Smucker will explore these and other paradoxes of this material manifestation of Amish culture. 

Smucker is an assistant professor of history at West Chester University and the author of numerous works on Amish quilts, including Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). She serves on the board of the national nonprofit Quilt Alliance.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014 • 6:00 pm
Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall


The annual Young Center dinner gives faculty, staff, students, church leaders, and other friends of the Young Center the opportunity to socialize and learn about the Center’s activities and programs.

A reception for Durnbaugh Lecturer Janneken Smucker will be held at 5:30, preceding the dinner.

The March 20 registration deadline for the banquet has passed. Interested persons are invited to attend Janneken Smucker's 7:30 lecture (see below), which is open to the public and does not require reservations.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Gibble Auditorium, Esbenshade Hall

9/11 and the Heroes of Flight 93

Mal Fuller was an air traffic control watch supervisor at Pittsburgh International Airport and participated in the shutdown of the nation's airspace after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In his talk, Fuller discusses the events of 9/11, the heroes of Flight 93, and the crash outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Fuller, now retired, is a member of the board of directors of Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, the Bowers Writers House, and the Young Center.

The Flight 93 Story

The Flight 93 Timeline

Biographies of Passengers and Crew of Flight 93

Thursday, March 20, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Why Have the Amish Survived? A Synthesis

The persistence of the Amish has attracted scholars’ attention for over 70 years. Those working in the social sciences and humanities have published hundreds of studies that contribute in some small way to answering the question: Why have the Amish survived? Cory Anderson has synthesized all known academic Amish-focused publications since 1942 and will present a theory that integrates the diverse foci of this research question.

Anderson is completing a PhD in rural sociology at Ohio State University. His research focuses broadly on the plain Anabaptists with a particular focus on Amish-Mennonites. He is a founding co-editor of the new periodical Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies.

Thursday, February 27, 2014 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Narrating the Harrowing Journey of Four Hutterites During the Great War

Duane Stoltzfus will present highlights of the story of four Hutterite men who were chained in the dungeon at Alcatraz when they refused to perform military service during World War I. The experiences of David, Joseph, and Michael Hofer, and of a brother-in-law, Jacob Wipf, came to be regarded as exhibit A among accounts of prisoner abuse during the war. Two of the Hofer brothers died at Fort Leavenworth in 1918. Stoltzfus will also describe the research process that led to his recent book, Pacifists in Chains, including visits with descendants of the four men and a tour of the basement cells at Alcatraz.Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

Stoltzfus is professor of communication at Goshen College and copy editor for The Mennonite Quarterly Review. He formerly worked as a staff editor at The New York Times.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 • 7:00 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Desert Safaris for Palestinian-Israeli Reconciliation

As a Palestinian Christian, Salim Munayer learned about reconciliation from his father. Twenty years ago he took his first group of Israeli and Palestinian Christians on a camelback safari in the desert. His ministry of peacemaking and reconciliation flows out of a lifetime of learning. In this talk, Munayer will discuss his life experiences and his ministry.

Munayer is the founder and director of Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation in Jerusalem, a nonprofit organization promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and a professor of theology at Bethlehem Bible College.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Amish Women's Literacies

Vi Dutcher will discuss the literacy practices of women members of a particular northeastern Ohio Amish community. Whether she is writing as a scribe for a newspaper column, making cards to send to shut-ins, handing down time-honored recipes to younger women, contributing to a circle letter, writing poetry for friends and family, or writing a letter to The Blackboard Bulletin editor in order to impart wisdom to a young Amish woman teaching school, a northeastern Ohio Amish woman practices literacy that is both public and private and always sacred. These women use literacy tools that they have both inherited and selected, shaping them to meet their needs while, in turn, meeting church-appointed communal needs.

Dutcher is professor of rhetoric and composition and director of the writing program at Eastern Mennonite University.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Gathering Storm Clouds: The Pacifist Culture of York County during the American Revolution 

During the American Revolution, peace groups in York County faced significant decisions. Join the militia, as required by the law of 1777? Support the war efforts in some other way? Harbor British and Hessian prisoners? Pay fines or have property taken from them? Go to trial in a York tribunal? Move to other lands to escape persecution? James Fritz will address these and other questions that tested the faith of pacifist religious groups in York County during that time period. 

Fritz holds a J.D. from Widener University School of Law and is completing a master’s degree in American Studies at Penn State University. He has been an adjunct professor and a lecturer on historical topics, and has worked with several regional historical preservation societies.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Peace, Love, and China: Brethren Missionaries in Twentieth-Century China

Three Elizabethtown College students will present findings from their research on Brethren in China in a time of conflict and changing roles for women. Bella D’Ascanio will discuss the work of two single Brethren women missionaries, Nettie Senger and Anna Blough; Cesar Vera will examine the impact of the Communist Revolution as Brethren were forced out of China and attempted to return; and Caitlyn Whirt will discuss the evangelistic work of Brethren women and the role of Chinese “Bible women.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Jacob Albright and the Pietist Roots of the Evangelical Association 

Jane Donovan will discuss Jacob Albright, one of the originators of the Evangelical Association in the early 1800s. The group was shaped by the pietistic influences of John Wesley and later became part of the Evangelical United Brethren.

Donovan teaches in the religious studies program at West Virginia University. She holds a D.Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary, and is the author of seven books and numerous articles. Her research focuses on the Second Great Awakening and American Methodism.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Love, Language, and Differences among Pietist and Quaker Immigrants in Early America 

In his first letter from Pennsylvania to his Pietist sponsors in Germany, Francis Daniel Pastorius reported that the Quaker founder William Penn had openly announced to the English-speaking residents his special “love” for the Pietist and Mennonite settlers of Germantown as well as his “desire that [they] also should love them.” Patrick Erben will trace the radical reformist ideas that compelled early modern Protestants like Penn and Pastorius to conceive of the new colony as a spiritual community across differences in language and religion. Erben will also discuss why and how this language of love gave way to new and old quarrels among Pietists and Quakers of various stripes, creating in the process some strange bedfellows—such as followers of the eccentric mystic Johannes Kelpius and the renegade Quaker George Keith.

Erben teaches early American literature and culture at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. His recent book,  A Harmony of the Spirits: Translation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), was awarded the Brown Book Award for 2013. Currently, he is working on a selective edition of the published and unpublished writings of Francis Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown, Pa., and leader of the first group of Pietist and Anabaptist immigrants to North America.

The Dale Brown Book Award is given annually to the book chosen by a panel of independent judges for making outstanding contributions to the field of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. It is named in honor of Church of the Brethren theologian and long-time peace worker Dale W. Brown.

Thursday, September 19, 2013 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

"Mind the Slurs":  Old Order River Brethren Tunes 

The Old Order River Brethren are a small Anabaptist-Pietist group in Pennsylvania and Iowa. Their musical style features memorized hymn tunes sung from a small hymnal without musical notation. These tunes have a slow, a capella melodic style somewhat like Amish singing. This presentation by Myron Sauder will feature transcriptions of River Brethren melodies along with a chance to listen to and sing them.

Sauder teaches high school at Sonlight River Brethren School in Mount Joy, Pa.

June 6-8, 2013 

Amish America: Plain Technology in a Cyber World

This international conference will highlight the challenges and impact of recent technology (the Internet, social media, and telecommunications, for example) on manufacturing, family life, consumption, medicine, and leisure for Amish and other Plain communities in North America. In addition, conference presentations and seminars will cover many other aspects of Amish life including health care, mental health, social services, agriculture, business, history, quilts, and Amish-themed fiction.

Plenary addresses:

  • “What the Amish Can Teach (and Learn From) Nerds and Geeks” by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired and widely read writer on the nature and impact of technology

  • “A Tale of Two Kitchens: Gender and Technology in Amish Communities” by Karen Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology at SUNY Potsdam

  • “Thrill of the Chaste: The Secret Life of an Amish Romance Novel” by Valerie Weaver-Zercher, writer and editor

  • “Amish Participation in Medical Research: A Partnership of Trust and Mutual Benefit” by Alan Shuldiner, founder and director of the Amish Research Clinic

View schedule, speaker, and registration information.

View the conference brochure.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 • 7:30 pm
Sanctuary--Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren

The Whisker War: Why the Beard Cutters Were Charged with Federal Hate Crimes

Donald B. Kraybill will describe the Bergholz “Amish” clan and the events that led to the beard cutting attacks in Ohio in fall 2011. He will explain how renegade bishop Sam Mullet scuttled traditional Amish beliefs and practices, instigated novel rituals, and became highly critical of other Amish leaders. He will also show why Mullet and 15 of his followers were charged with federal hate crimes and on what basis the jury found them guilty. 

Kraybill served as an expert witness at the three-week trial in federal court in Cleveland last fall. He is senior fellow at the Young Center and the author or editor of numerous journal articles and books, including The Amish, which will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in spring 2013.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 • 6:00 pm (reception at 5:30)
Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall

The annual Young Center dinner gives faculty, staff, students, church leaders, and other friends of the Young Center the opportunity to socialize and learn about the Center’s activities and programs.

Cost for the banquet is $18, and reservations are required by March 28. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 • 7:30 pm  
Bucher Meetinghouse

Born-Again Brethren in Christ: Religious Identity in an Age of Evangelicalism

Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, the Brethren in Christ Church transformed from a small, separatist religious society into a growing mainstream evangelical denomination. Central to this transformation was the church’s increasing investment in the larger American neo-evangelical movement. In this lecture Devin Manzullo-Thomas will examine the ways Brethren in Christ members ratified or resisted the claims of the neo-evangelical movement in an effort to construct a new identity for their denomination.

Devin C. Manzullo-Thomas is assistant editor of Brethren in Christ History and Life and adjunct professor of interdisciplinary studies at Messiah College. He holds a master’s degree in history from Temple University.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Speaking Peace: The Rhetoric of Lawrence Hart, Southern Cheyenne Peace Chief and Mennonite Minister

As an ordained Mennonite minister and a traditional Cheyenne peace chief, Lawrence Hart (1933- ) has a gift for “enlarging the tribe”—reconciling and commemorating the often tragic history of U.S. government and Native American relations. For over 40 years, he has been widely sought as a speaker, mediator, and advocate for national Indian affairs. In her lecture, Marie Dick will discuss Hart’s life and work as well as the rhetorical strategies he uses as tools to address the rhetorical dilemma of pacifism.

Marie Dick is an associate professor of mass communications at St. Cloud State University, focusing on health communication, risk/crisis communication, public communication, and media effects. Her academic preparation includes degrees in political science, rhetoric, and communication studies.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 • 7:00 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Palestinian Refugee Return and Durable Peace Building
No solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is possible without a viable solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees. Alain Epp Weaver will offer a constructive analysis of peace-building actions supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and carried out by Zochrot, an Israeli organization dedicated to “remembering the Nakba [Arabic for ‘catastrophe’]” and to promoting constructive conversations within Israeli Jewish society about Palestinian refugee return as a critical component to durable peace building.

Alain Epp Weaver is director of the planning, learning, and disaster response department at MCC. He previously worked for 11 years in the Middle East, including as director of MCC’s programs in Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. Epp Weaver holds a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago, and is the author or editor of eight books including States of Exile: Visions of Diaspora, Witness, and Return and Under Vine and Fig Tree: Biblical Theologies of Land and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

This lecture is cosponsored by the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking and the Peace and Conflict Studies program.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Peace in the Face of Religious Violence 

Samuel Dali will examine the tensions between Christians and Muslims in northeastern Nigeria, which resulted from violent attacks on Christians by some radical Muslim extremists. For decades, Muslims and Christians in Nigeria lived peacefully as neighbors, a condition that has been interrupted in recent years by extremists on both sides seeking to radicalize their religious responses. Dali will describe some of the efforts for peace by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiar Y’anuwa a Nigeria, or EYN), including a program of microloans to help Muslims whose homes or businesses were destroyed when other Christians retaliated violently against attacks by Muslim extremists. He will also highlight work by EYN to form peace clubs cultivating Christian peacemaking. 

Dali is president of Ekklesiar Y'anuwa a Nigeria. He earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Birmingham in England and is an ordained minister. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012  
Gibble Auditorium, Esbenshade Hall

Caring for the Patient in the Time of Genomics: Small Science at the Clinic for Special Children

The Clinic for Special Children is a small medical practice by design—it has not adopted the modern medical system as its scientific or business model. It uses modern technology, but with a different focus: to do “small science,” basic research on a small scale, with the case study as the fundamental unit of work and a priority on spending time with the patient. Dr. D. Holmes Morton will discuss the benefits of this way of practicing medicine.

Plain People and Modern Medicine: The Clinic for Special Children as a  Model for Health Care in North America's Plain Communities

Dr. D. Holmes Morton will discuss how the work of the Clinic for Special Children has affected medical outcomes and provided economic value for the Amish and Mennonite communities it serves and for Plain communities in general. He will also describe initiatives to start similar clinics in other communities with large Amish and Mennonite populations.


Dr. D. Holmes Morton cofounded the Clinic for Special Children, a nonprofit medical center for children with inherited metabolic disorders, and serves as its medical director.

After graduating from Trinity College, Morton studied medicine at Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston. In 1986 he moved to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study biochemical genetics under Richard Kelley, and in 1988, he moved to Dr. Kelley’s new laboratory at Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins to develop methods for diagnosis and treatment of the Amish variant of glutaric aciduria type 1. His work there led him to establish the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in 1989.

Morton is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders. In 1993, he was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, and in 2006 a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. The Clinic for Special Children is recognized internationally for innovative studies in the discovery and treatment of inherited disorders such as GA1, maple syrup urine disease, Crigler-Najjar syndrome, and other disorders that occur in Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities.

For more Information about Holmes Morton’s work, see these references:

Kevin A. Strauss, Erik G. Puffenberger, and D. Holmes Morton. “One Community’s Effort to Control Genetic Disease.” American Journal of Public Health 102, no. 7 (July 2012): 1300-1306.

Kevin A. Strauss, et al. “The Science and Economics of Prevention.” Strasburg, PA: Clinic for Special Children, 2011.

Trisha Gura. “Genomics, Plain and Simple: A Pennsylvania Clinic Working with Amish and Mennonite Communities Could Be a Model for Personalized Medicine.” Nature 483 (March 1, 2012): 20-22.

Kevin A. Strauss, and Erik G. Puffenberger. “Genetics, Medicine, and the Plain People.” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 10 (2009): 513-536.

D. Holmes Morton, Caroline S. Morton, Kevin A. Strauss, Donna L. Robinson, Erik G. Puffenberger, Christine Hendrickson, and Richard I. Kelley. “Pediatric Medicine and the Genetic Disorders of the Amish and Mennonite People of Pennsylvania.” American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics 121C, no. 1 (August 15, 2003): 5-17.

D. Holmes Morton. “Through My Window—Remarks at the 125th Year Celebration of Children’s Hospital of Boston.” Pediatrics 94, no. 6 (1994): 785-791.

D. Holmes Morton. “Difficult Learning.” Paper presented at the May 20, 2000 Elizabethtown College Commencement, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

D. Holmes Morton. “The Glutaric Acidurias of the Amish: A Sense of Progress 1988-2011.” Unpublished essay.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Transformations in 20th-Century Mennonite Peacemaking: J.R. Burkholder as Activist and Agent of Change

Keith Graber Miller, recipient of the 2012 Dale W. Brown Book Award for Prophetic Peacemaking: Selected Writings of J. R. Burkholder, will discuss J.R. Burkholder's influence as an ethicist, church leader, and social change agent, placing him within the context of twentieth-century shifts in Mennonite peacemaking. A former professor at Goshen College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Burkholder helped Mennonites move with integrity beyond the sometimes-passive quietism of an earlier era toward a cautious-yet-faithful engagement with the world. "He did so," says Graber Miller, "without dismissing the value of the core peace convictions of his Anabaptist-Mennonite faith, without selling the Mennonite soul to Reinhold Niebuhrian-style compromise and political realism, and without uncritically accepting all of the rhetoric of the Christian and secular left." Burkholder will attend the lecture and offer comments following Graber Miller's presentation.

Graber Miller is professor of Bible, religion, and philosophy at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. Ordained in Mennonite Church USA, he is the author or editor of five books and the contributor of chapters in more than a dozen books. He received his Ph.D. from Emory University.

The Dale Brown Book Award is given annually to the book chosen by a panel of independent judges for making outstanding contributions to the field of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. It is named in honor of Church of the Brethren theologian and long-time peace worker Dale W. Brown.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Reformation Poland: Conversion in the Civic Conversation 

Virginia Zickafoose, the Snowden Fellow for Fall 2012, will discuss the role of Radical Reformation views, religious pluralism, and alternative political models in sixteenth-century Poland.

Zickafoose researches, writes, and translates source material on early modern Poland-Lithuania. She earned a Ph.D. in early modern European and American history from Georgetown University in 2006.

Thursday, September 20, 2012 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

In the Line of Duty: Brethren and Their Early English Hymns

Samuel Funkhouser will explore the early English-language hymnbooks of the Brethren, beginning with the first of these books, The Christian’s Duty, in 1791. He will give special attention to the sources used in the compilation of The Christian’s Duty, and the questions they raise about Brethren worship, doctrine, and inter-denominational relations at the turn of the nineteenth century. He will also give an overview of the ways in which the hymns contained in Duty were retained, modified, or discarded in subsequent Brethren hymnbooks, up to and including those published by the Old German Baptist Church and the Brethren Church shortly after the divisions of the early 1880s.

Funkhouser recently received an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he wrote a thesis on early English-language Brethren hymnody. He is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren.

June 6–8, 2012

Pietist and Anabaptist Intersections in Pennsylvania:
The Life and Influence of Alexander Mack, Jr. 
This study conference commemorates the 300th birthday of Alexander Mack, Jr., an important Brethren leader. Mack was a weaver, minister, and writer of poetry, doctrinal and devotional works. From his childhood in Germany and the Netherlands to his short time in the Ephrata community to his mature years as a minister in the Germantown congregation of Brethren, Mack’s life represents many intersections of Pietism and Anabaptism as well various religious and cultural experiences.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

The Amish and the Haredim: Ultra-Religious Communities and the Modern State
These two highly religious and visible communities in the U.S. and Israel have fought numerous legal and extra-legal battles with the state in the name of basic principles like religious freedom. Benyamin Neuberger will discuss the groups, comparing their basic attitudes towards the state, its political system, government, laws and judiciary.

Benyamin Neuberger is professor of political science and African studies at the Open University of Israel. He has published widely on nationalism and ethnicity. Neuberger was named the Snowden Fellow for 2010, but was unable to fulfill his appointment until this spring.

Friday, April 20, 2012 • 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Young Center

Aspects of Hutterite Life: Communal Christianity and 21st-Century Challenges
Rod Janzen will continue his discussion of the Hutterites by focusing in greater detail on important characteristics of contemporary Hutterite life as well as major conflicts, including the influential attraction of evangelical Protestantism and recent divisions.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 • 7:30 pm
Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall

The Hutterites in 2012
Rod Janzen will give an introduction to the life of this growing population of 50,000 communal Anabaptists. The presentation will include a brief history of the Hutterites, a discussion of their essential beliefs, and a review of their present challenges.

Rod Janzen is Distinguished Scholar and professor of history at Fresno Pacific University, where he has taught for the past 22 years. Since 1999 Janzen has served as editor of Communal Societies, the academic journal of the Communal Studies Association. He is the author of a number of books that deal with communal, Anabaptist, and/or utopian societies, including The Hutterites in North America, published in 2010 by the Johns Hopkins University Press.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012 • 6:00 pm
Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall

The annual Young Center dinner gives faculty, staff, students, church leaders, and other friends of the Young Center the opportunity to socialize and learn about the Center’s activities and programs. 

A reception for Durnbaugh Lecturer Rod Janzen will be held at 5:30, preceding the dinner.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 • 7:30 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

Starvation Volunteer: A Conversation with an Elizabethtown Alum 
Robert Willoughby ’47 will discuss his experience as a conscientious objector during WWII and his participation in U.S. government research on human starvation. (This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, the Open Book Initiative, and the Office of the Dean of Faculty.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 • 7:00 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Communal Peace during World War I
Ryan Long will discuss the challenges facing Hutterite colonies during World War I. The Hutterites used the events of the war to strengthen their identity and reconnect to their history, actions that secured their future as a separate communal society in North America.

Ryan Long is a 2011 graduate of Elizabethtown College with a major in religious studies.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 • 7:00 pm 
Bucher Meetinghouse

The Unchristian Slave Trade: Brethren and Slavery 
The Brethren were strong opponents of slave holding. Some Brethren even paid for slaves in order to free them. However, a few rare individuals held slaves. Jeff Bach will examine these tensions among Brethren, especially in the period just prior to the Civil War.

Jeff Bach is director of the Young Center and associate professor of religious studies at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata and co-author of Genius of the Transcendent: Mystical Writings of Jakob Boehme.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Thrill of the Chaste: Tracing the Ancestry of the Amish Romance Novel

The birthdate of the Amish romance novels is frequently given as 1997, when Beverly Lewis’s blockbuster novel The Shunning was published. But the first Amish romance novel had appeared almost a century earlier, and Amish-themed novels continued to appear in ensuing years, refracting many of the social, religious, and literary movements of the twentieth century. Valerie Weaver-Zercher, the Young Center’s Snowden Fellow for Fall 2011, will discuss the connections between recent Amish-themed novels and much older novels of the same genre.

Weaver-Zercher is a writer and editor whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Orion, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Sojourners, and other venues.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 • 7:30 pm 

Bucher Meetinghouse

LECTURE (rescheduled from September 8)
Civil War-Era Anabaptists and the Modern Nation-State 
Steve Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater College (Va.), will discuss the growth of national government during the Civil War and the consequences of this for Anabaptists. Newly empowered by a popular cause, conscription, civil religion, and sheer size, the worldly kingdom became much more threatening to traditional Anabaptism nonconformity.

Longenecker is a specialist in American religious history and the author of Shenandoah Religion: Outsiders and the Mainstream, 1716-1865 and The Brethren during the Age of World War: The Church of the Brethren Encounter with Modernization, 1914-1950. His current research project is the religious history of antebellum and Civil War-era Gettysburg, Pa.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

An Amish Paradox: Diversity and Change in the Holmes County, Ohio, Amish Settlement
The authors of the 2011 Dale Brown Book Award winner, An Amish Paradox, will discuss their reasons for and methods and experiences in studying the Holmes County Settlement in Ohio. They will focus on the dialectic and dilemmas that characterize Amish attempts to adapt and yet stay true to their cultural and religious heritage in the areas of family, education, economics, and health care. They will also comment briefly on the Amish community as a model for and its future in American society.

David L. McConnell is professor of anthropology at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. His research interests include social and cultural change, the indigenization of modernity, and the anthropology of education. Charles E. Hurst is emeritus professor of sociology at The College of Wooster, where he taught for 38 years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 • 7:30 pm
Bucher Meetinghouse

Anabaptism and the Netherlands: A Model of Toleration
Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center, will explore how Anabaptists in the Netherlands moved from feared religious sect to respectable citizens to advocates for tolerance for Anabaptists in other parts of Europe.

In addition to serving as Young Center director, Bach teaches courses on the history of Anabaptist and Pietist groups and communal societies. He is the author of Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata and co-author with Michael Birkel of Genius of the Transcendent: Mystical Writings of Jakob Boehme.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 • 7:30 pm
Leffler Chapel

The Enduring Power of Forgiveness
Steve Nolt and Terri Roberts will address “What I’ve Learned about Forgiveness” and Kenneth Sensenig will discuss “The Worldwide Witness of Nickel Mines” during this event that follows the conference on forgiveness.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 • 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Power of Forgiveness: Lessons from Nickel Mines

Using the fifth anniversary of the tragedy at Nickel Mines as a backdrop, this one-day conference will explore the moral dilemmas arising from violence and the potential power of forgiveness for personal healing and restoration of relationships.

The conference will benefit counselors, therapists, pastors, leaders, and others interested in the process and potential of forgiveness.

The keynote address will be given by L. Gregory Jones, vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs at Duke University and senior strategist and professor of theology at Duke Divinity School. Widely recognized as a scholar and church leader on forgiveness and reconciliation, Jones is the co-author of Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace (with Celestin Musekura) and the author of Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis.

View schedule, speaker, and registration information.

View conference brochure.

Elizabethtown College