Lecture Series

Two notable lecture series took place at Grebel in January and March

Food & Faith: Mennonites Farming Locally and Globally

This year’s theme for the Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies series was faith and culture’s contribution to the ways and reasons that farmers, specifically those who are Mennonite, grow our food. The first of the two events opened on January 31 with a film screening of Paul Plett’s Seven Points on Earth, offering a glimpse into the lives of Mennonite farmers around the world. The viewing was followed by a conversation with the filmmaker in which the audience asked about his story-telling process. Paul explained the care he took to treat these farmers’ stories with dignity and respect, highlighting the commonalities of Mennonites across cultural contexts.

Paul PlettFilmmaker Paul Plett speaks at the screening of his film "Seven Points on Earth"

PanelistsPanelists Chris Mullet Koop, Angie Koch, Sarah Martin-Mills, Mark Reusser, Lloyd Frey speak on a panel during the Farmer's Breakfast event.


February 1 began with a farmers breakfast panel in which local Mennonite farmers (pictured above, l-r) Chris Mullet Koop, Angie Koch (BA 1999), Sarah Martin-Mills, Mark Reusser, and Lloyd Frey shared their experiences in food production. Topics of the panel included pacifism in relation to the land and the importance of inviting consumers to see and understand food production. It was rewarding to hear diverse experiences of caring for farmland while shining a light on food production. Angie remarked that it is important to “draw people into their food story.” This discussion displayed the ways that Mennonite values of community and creation care can contribute to the farming lifestyle.

Fretz Lecture

David gives his talk in the grbeel chapelThe current J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Scholar, Prof. David Y. Neufeld, presented his research to an enthusiastic audience on March 12. In his lecture, titled “Where Moth and Rust Destroy: Archives and the Contest over Anabaptist Information,” he outlined how some document production and distribution by authorities stimulated more repression of Anabaptists in Zurich in the early stages of the movement (1525). “We see archives not as neutral repositories of historical evidence, but as places where people have produced, organized, and systematized information in pursuit of specific goals.” David’s lecture was a fascinating window into the social history of archives.