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Ron MatthiesFour days we met together and heard one another’s stories, explorations, passions, and analysis.  Like the many hued stones we asked people to carry with them while at the conference, each possessed unique features, shapes and origins. Yet there were also patterns.  All of the stones we held were river stones – tumbled and worn by water and sand.  Seeing patterns as well as drawing out unique features that captured our imagination was the focus of the final plenary and the task given to the listening team.

The listening team was comprised of three surprising pairs; combinations of people put together to bring different perspectives on Mennonite peacebuilding, different age and life experiences, people who self-identified as good, bad, and non- Mennonite, and brought a set of artistic talents and sensibilities.  Their assignment: to fan out, to listen, to make connections, to creatively bring back what they heard in final plenary.   

Inspired in part by the poem A Noiseless Patient Spider, by Walt Whitman, the teams mused, ventured and, sought connections “till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.”

Follow the link to see notes and visuals from each of the three teams:

The teams often reflected back words and phrases heard during the conference itself (during presentations or discussions), and want to acknowledge the many conference contributors they drew upon.

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Multimedia Videos

watch past lectures

Watch our special event videos: the Bechtel LecturesMennonite Literature series, the Eby Lecture, and the Sawatsky Lecture.