10 speakers. Limited to 150 attendees.

A live, intensive, intimate, purely unique event. The first-ever of its kind in 300+ years.

Friday’s KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Prof. Marci Hamilton, Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Pulitzer-nominated Author
“What About Children’s Rights? Overturning WI v. Yoder”

Saturday’s KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Galen Guengerich, MDiv, PhD, Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (New York City); Member of the Council on Foreign Relations
“A Revised Understanding of God, Belonging, and Freedom”

We want this inaugural historic event to be truly memorable. The smaller group gives everyone in attendance the chance to connect meaningfully and develop lasting relationships.

Get tix - Livestream or Attend in Person
Our generous sponsors:

Friday’s KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
“What About Children’s Rights? Overturning WI v. Yoder”

Prof. Marci Hamilton

Pulitzer-nominated Author; Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Founder, CEO + Academic Director, CHILD USA

Saturday’s KEYNOTE SPEAKER: “A Revised Understanding of God, Belonging, and Freedom” Galen Guengerich, MDiv, PhD

Author; Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (New York City)

The 1971-2 Supreme Court Case WI v. Yoder + Elam’s Personal Story

Elam Zook

Writer, Speaker + Director for the Development of Amish Literature, The Amish Heritage Foundation

The Functionalist Problem in Kraybill’s Riddles of Amish Culture

Prof. Michael Billig

Professor of Anthropology, Franklin & Marshall College

An Amish Spring: The Rise of a New Leadership + Torah’s Personal Story

Torah Bontrager

Writer, Author, Speaker + Founder, The Amish Heritage Foundation

What Happens When an Amish Person Goes to Trial (Mary’s Personal Story)

Mary Byler

Sexual Assault Survivor, Plaintiff in landmark Amish case

Ex-Muslims of North America (Comparative Analysis)

Sarah Haider

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Ex-Muslims of North America

The Health Costs of Religious Disaffiliation or Shunning: Ex-Ultra Orthodox Jewish Comparisons

Joel Engelman

PhD Candidate, Clinical Psychology Program, Bowling Green State University

Navajo Sovereignty, Educational, and Entertainment Issues: A Comparative Analysis

Brian Young

Navajo Writer + Filmmaker, MFA Writing for Fiction candidate Columbia University

The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List OR Why We Name Names

Barbra Graber

Founder, The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List Former Director and Professor, Eastern Mennonite University’s theater program

PANELIST: Women Entrepreneurs: Blockchain & Female Leadership in the Age of #MeToo

Kim Gleason

Executive Director, Two Worlds Co-Founder, Native Women’s Business Summit

PANELIST: Women Entrepreneurs: Blockchain & Female Leadership in the Age of #MeToo

Lizzy Hershberger

Amish Escapee + Forthcoming Memoir Author, Life Behind Blue Curtains

PANELIST: Women Entrepreneurs: Blockchain & Female Leadership in the Age of #MeToo

Cheryl Sherwin

Human Resources Director, ONE Lodging Management (Aimbridge Hospitality)

What Our Attendees Are Saying

“Your journey and current mission resonate very deeply with me.

I was elated beyond words to discover your organization, its good works, and, in particular, this conference at Franklin & Marshall.”

Attendee

“I am so thankful my husband and I will be able to attend your two day seminar and meet you in September at Franklin & Marshall College.”

Attendee

“I am very passionate about my Amish background. I love the culture and it has helped to shape who I’ve become but I am still able to see its many flaws.

It took years of hard work and feeling very ignorant about how to behave and succeed in a professional and academic environment but I am now the only person I know who is Ex-Amish and has a Bachelors degree.”

Attendee

Sovilla Coblentz and Lucinda Coblentz's Amish Story

Watch this episode with Sovilla and Lucinda and Founder Torah Bontrager to get the background for what we’re trying to do via the conference and nonprofit.

Sovilla and Lucinda talk about:

  • Escaping the Amish as Young Female Teens
  • Wearing Lipstick
  • Seeking the Path of Personal Freedom

 

Friday, September 28 - Saturday, September 29

Set in the oldest Amish settlement in the USA: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

1-3 hours by Amtrak or car from New York City, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.

Meet Our Speakers + Panelists

Intention

Your first-ever chance to experience an authentic, deeply personal event about us Amish.

And learn about yourself in the process.

Connection

Be part of charting a new course of history––with daring voices determined to steal back an entire nation’s story.

Impact

Benefit for a lifetime from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

With all the high-touch attention and exciting interaction you get ONLY from being at the forefront of a revolutionary movement.

Want to Sponsor Us?

We’d be super grateful for your gift. We offer all-access passes to our event. That’s in addition to bespoke sponsor packages.

An Unforgettable, Historic Event

Set in the oldest Amish settlement in the USA: Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Friday, September 28, 2018
Saturday, September 29, 2018

1-3 hours by Amtrak or car from New York City, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.

3-6 hours by air or car from Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Harrisonburg, VA, Raleigh, NC, and Goshen, IN.

VENUE: Franklin & Marshall College | 415 Harrisburg Ave | Lancaster, PA 17603

Schedule

Doors open: 12pm

End: 10pm

All topics are followed by Q&A with the speaker.

12:00-12:50pm - Doors Open / Check-in at Registration Desk

Snacks / Gift bag

1:30pm - Welcome + Housekeeping

SPEAKERS: Torah Bontrager, Elam Zook

Torah and Elam will tell their stories in one sentence and review the conference’s agenda.

1:40pm - Presentation by Elam Zook: "The 1972 Supreme Court Case WI v. Yoder + Elam Zook’s Personal Story"

SPEAKER: Elam Zook (with comments from Torah Bontrager and her views on WI v. Yoder)

No library in the world has any section on a credible body of Amish literature. Elam will provide an overview of the 1971-2 Supreme Court case WI v. Yoder, which directly created an embrace of ignorance and a poverty of literature among our Amish people, and in the process, ran roughshod over our legal rights as Amish children and subsequent adults.

WI v. Yoder is responsible for freezing us Old Order Amish in time; we have stopped evolving from this point forward.

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A (includes 10-min comments from Torah and her views on WI v. Yoder)

2:30pm - KEYNOTE by Prof. Marci Hamilton: "What About Children's Rights? Overturning WI v. Yoder"

SPEAKER: Marci Hamilton

Prof. Hamilton will speak on WI v. Yoder, which directly created an embrace of ignorance and a poverty of literature among our Amish people, and in the process, ran roughshod over our human and legal rights as Amish children and subsequent adults.

In her Pulitzer Prize nominated book, God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, she writes extensively about WI v. Yoder and calls this case “a love letter to the Amish.” She says, “A decade ago, it was taboo to criticize religion or religious believers in print. They were a benign presence in America right next to apple pie. I wrote God vs. the Gavel then to defeat this taboo, because it was masking a reality most Americans would want to know.”

While religious conduct provides many benefits to society, it is not always benign. The thesis of her book is that anyone who harms another person should be governed by the laws that govern everyone else – and truth be told, religion is capable of great harm. A sensible accommodation between church and state has to be made so that both the church and state can do their important work.

Format: 60 minutes with Q&A

––

BIO: MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice, and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations. She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts. Her textbook, CHILDREN AND THE LAW, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.

Hamilton has been a vocal and influential critic of extreme religious liberty, advocating for the vulnerable about overreaching. Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores (1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki (7th Cir. 2015). She has represented numerous cities dealing with church-state issues as well as claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA). The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.

Hamilton has been honored with the 2018 Pennsylvania State University Department of Philosophy Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2017 University of Pennsylvania Law School Louis H. Pollak Public Service Award, the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child abuse and neglect, statute of limitations, constitutional, RFRA, RLUIPA, and First Amendment issues.

Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.

3:30pm Break + Refreshments (incl. Amish desserts)

Ice Breaker Activities / Participant Bonding

3:55pm Presentation by Prof. Michael Billig: “The Functionalist Problem in Kraybill’s Riddles of Amish Culture”

SPEAKER: Prof. Michael S. Billig

Much of contemporary Amish scholarship manifests an implicit functionalist paradigm that harkens back to mid-20th-century social science. This perspective tends toward optimistic, even “Panglossian,” explanation of traits, in which everything that the Amish do or believe has a use, purpose, or reason; i.e., a function. The vagaries of history and the ebb and flow of power may be acknowledged, but they are relegated to minor explanatory factors.

Michael will present a close reading of Donald Kraybill’s popular The Riddle of Amish Culture. It demonstrates the functionalist premises behind many of the explanations offered in Riddle. That the Amish themselves read and respect Kraybill’s work leads to a paradoxical situation in which Kraybill’s narratives are taken to be true explanations, which then become another doctrine that must not be debated or self-corrected.

Read Prof. Billig’s essay (co-authored with Elam Zook) “The Functionalist Problem in Kraybill’s Riddle of Amish Culture”, published in Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies for the background on this talk.

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A

––

BIO:

I am a native of the Rockaway Beach section of Queens in New York City. I attended NYC public schools and graduated from Far Rockaway High School (as did Richard Feynman, my former teacher, Robert Murphy — and, alas, Bernie Madoff). I attended Columbia University after being recruited as a fencer (believe it or not!). At Columbia, the core curriculum general education program lit an intellectual fire that set me on the path to academia. After changing my major six or seven times — once on consecutive days — I finally found anthropology. Where else could one be a social scientist, humanist, and natural scientist in a single quasi-respectable discipline? I was sitting one afternoon in the Hall of African Peoples at the American Museum of Natural History, and I had an epiphany in which I knew that anthropology would be my future career. My parents were not pleased with this career choice, but the epiphany won the day.

After getting my BA, I entered the graduate program in anthropology at Columbia. Although I still consider Columbia (especially Harris, Fried, Murphy, Alland, Price, and Holloway) to have provided me with my most important formative experiences in anthropology, after two years of graduate school I felt that I had exhausted the place. Having gotten an MA at Columbia, I entered the graduate program at Harvard University.

My dissertation research at Harvard (under the supervision of Prof. Peter Ellison) compared the effects of demographic constraints on marriage in two Indian states (Rajasthan and Kerala) with different marriage norms and sex ratio patterns. I began this project with the hypothesis that demographic constraints have important effects on marriage practices, especially on wealth transfers at marriage, but I ended up by minimizing the role of demography and affirming the salience of culture. Although it may not always be direct or readily apparent, this affirmation of culture against economic, demographic, and other simplistic determinisms has been the major theme of all my subsequent research. I consider myself an economic anthropologist, but much of my work undermines the neo-classical, rational choice, incentivist, functionalist, and adaptationist paradigms so dominant in the social sciences.

I began teaching at F&M in 1986 and received my Ph.D. from Harvard in 1987.

4:35pm Break
4:50pm Presentation by Torah Bontrager: "An Amish Spring: The Rise of a New Leadership + Torah’s Personal Story” (with a short film: Stories of 10 Amish Escapees)

SPEAKER: Torah Bontrager

Peter Buffet says that he, like his father Warren, invests in undervalued assets. For Peter, those assets are women and girls. Women are standing up in every sector of society in the MeToo age. However, for the entire length of our 300+ years of history, there hasn’t been a single female in a leadership position among my Amish people, neither inside nor outside the church.

Through my personal story, I’ll address our biggest challenges and the solutions we’re implementing to establish a new generation of Amish leaders, who can serve as a model for a more just and safe world––and help usher in a 21st century era of global peace and compassion..

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A

5:30pm Interview with Mary Byler: “What Happens When an Amish Person Goes to Trial (Mary’s Personal Story)”

INTERVIEW-STYLE CONVERSATION: Mary Byler (in-person, via Zoom, or filmed) with Torah Bontrager

Mary Byler is one of less than a dozen cases [we’re still fact-checking this number] of Amish sexual assault on public record.

Excerpts from Legal Affairs article: To the hordes of tourists who travel to Amish country each year to go to quilting bees and shop for crafts, the “gentle, peaceful folk” represent innocence. They are a people apart, removed in place and arrested in time. The myth of the Amish is amplified in movies like Witness and television shows like Amish Mafia. The license the Amish have been granted rests on the trust that the community will police itself, with Amish bishops and ministers acting in lieu of law enforcement.

Through her personal story, Mary will share the shocking betrayals she had to face from the US criminal justice system and our own Amish people––and the challenges she faced as an “immigrant” transitioning into a foreign world.

Format: 10 minutes + Q&A

6:00pm Dinner

On your own, but we’ll recommend restaurants for people to meet at to continue the discussions. Torah and Elam welcome anyone to join them for lunch.

8:00-10:00pm Live Music Performance by Tanisha Avent, uplifting R&B singer-songwriter from Brooklyn; Venue: Tellus360’s second floor lounge

Venue: Tellus360’s second floor lounge. Tanisha is doing a special live performance for us to close out our day on an uplifting note. This event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Bring your friends, family, colleagues, etc.

 

BIO: Tanisha Avent is a Brooklyn-born, R&B singer and songwriter and has been passionate about music and the arts ever since she can remember. Her inspiration and creativity sparked while listening to Whitney Houston every morning with her great grandmother. Tanisha was shy, but her family encouraged her gift, and motivated her to make others happy by singing.

Tanisha began songwriting at 16. She has the uncanny ability to capture true feelings and life experiences. “I feel like I have to inspire people,” Avent said. “My brand represents authenticity and reality. With music being my only passion, I could not imagine life without it.”

Tanisha is currently writing and recording while also giving time to performing, interviewing at radio stations, shooting music videos and developing her social media.   In addition, Tanisha is also working with Shannell Red (formerly of Big Drawz) who is  a 5x Grammy nominated singer/songwriter who has penned records for Destinys Child, Jaheim, Faith Evans, Trey Songz and Chris Brown to name a few.  “I am very excited to be working closely with the talented Tanisha Avent on upcoming projects”.

“What you see of her is just the beginning,” her manager said. “There is a real story here. The passion and fire shown through her songs are from her own life experiences, as well as her friends and family. Tanisha’s goal is to uplift her fans through her songs.”

Tanisha is currently working on her debut music project which will be available during the last quarter of 2018.  In the meantime you can find her collection of original and remixed songs which are available on I-tunes, Youtube, Soundcloud and Spotify.

Doors open: 8:15am

End: 8:00pm

All topics are followed by Q&A with the speaker.

8:15am - Doors Open / Check-in at Registration Desk

Snacks / Gift bag

9:20am Welcome

SPEAKERS: Torah Bontrager, Elam Zook

Torah and Elam will recap Friday’s outcome and review the day’s agenda.

9:30am KEYNOTE by Galen Guengerich, MDiv, PhD: “A Revised Understanding of God, Belonging, and Freedom”

SPEAKER: Galen Guengerich

In his book God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age, Rev. Guengerich says that “discovering where you belong is the first step toward being set free.” He says that we need a God we can believe in—and a way of being religious that doesn’t insult our intelligence but unites us in community, grounds our morality, and engages us with a world that still holds more mystery than answers.

[Most of the Amish who leave the Church aren’t aware of any options for support, or a sense of belonging, other than the Mennonite Church or fundamentalist/born-again Christianity. Hence they convert––mostly to fundamentalism (a trend that AHF wants to research). AHF aspires to offer more alternatives to our Amish people in their quest for personal freedom, belonging, and understanding God.]

Format: 60 minutes with Q&A

––

LONG BIO: Galen Guengerich, raised conservative Mennonite, is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, an historic congregation located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He is the tenth person to hold this position in the congregation’s 197-year history. His last name is pronounced GING (rhymes with “sing”) — rich.

Galen was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 2004). His doctoral dissertation is titled Comprehensive Commitments and the Public World: Tillich, Rawls and Whitehead on the Nature of Justice.

He is author of God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age (Palgrave Macmillan) and writes a column on “The Search for Meaning” for Psychologytoday.com, as well as writing occasionally for Huffington Post and for FaithStreet, as well as other national media.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he focuses on how traditional religious beliefs and practices, both in the US and abroad, usually reinforce patriarchy to the detriment of women and democracy. In addition, he chairs the Multifaith Clergy Advisory Council at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and he also chairs the Advisory Council of the Palestinian Scholars Program at the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Recently, Galen gave an address at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem titled, “Pluralism Revisited: A View From the New World” for a conference on “Critical Reflections on Alternative Paths to Modernity.” In 2013, he visited Afghanistan with a delegation of CFR members and fellows, meeting with top military, diplomatic, and civilian leaders in Kabul, as well as in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces. Also in 2013, he spoke in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a visit hosted by Christopher Hudson, MBE, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. In 2012, he was part of a 15-member delegation of senior clergy from New York City to visit Israel and the West Bank, the first such delegation to meet with a broad spectrum of religious and political leaders, including Shimon Peres, President of Israel, and Salem Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Galen serves as a Lecturer in Preaching and Worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His sermon at All Souls on the Sunday after 9/11/01, titled “The Shaking of Foundations,” was selected as one of seven responses to 9/11, along with speeches by President Bush, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Giuliani, for Representative American Speeches 2001 – 2002.

In the past, he served for 12 years on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Alliance, the national non-partisan advocacy voice for religious pluralism; he served as chair of the Interfaith Alliance board from 2008-2012. He has also served on the boards of Dads and Daughters, the national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights organization, and the New York City Audubon Society.

Galen lives in Manhattan with his wife, Holly G. Atkinson, MD, who is Distinguished Medical Lecturer and Medical Student Adviser at the CUNY School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor, Department of Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

You can learn more about him at http://www.allsoulsnyc.org

SHORT BIO:

Galen Guengerich is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, an historic congregation located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 2004).

He is author of God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and writes a column on “The Search for Meaning” for psychologytoday.com. He has also written for Reuters, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, TIME magazine, as well as writing occasionally for Huffington Post and FaithStreet, as well as other media. He has appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Galen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he focuses on how traditional religious beliefs and practices, both in the US and abroad, usually reinforce patriarchy to the detriment of women and democracy. In addition, he chairs the Multi-faith Clergy Advisory Council at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and he also chairs the “Humanities in a Conflict Zone” initiative at the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University.

Galen lives in Manhattan with his wife, Holly G. Atkinson, MD, who is Clinical Medical Professor and Medical Student Adviser at the CUNY School of Medicine and Assistant Medical Professor, Department of Medical Education, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

10:30am Break

Participant Bonding

11:05am Presentation by Sarah Haider: “Ex-Muslims of North America: A Comparative Analysis”

SPEAKER: Sarah Haider

From EXMNA’s brochure: “Caught between rejection from those closest to them and a public discourse that often excludes or misconstrues their experiences, people who leave Islam can feel as if they have nowhere to turn.” Replace “Islam” with “the Amish Church” and the statement reflects our situation.

Sarah will share the work that she is doing on behalf of her culture of origin and how their challenges and solutions might apply to the mission of AHF.

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A

––

BIO: Sarah Haider is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA), which envisions a world where every person is free to follow their conscience.

Born in Pakistan and raised in Texas, Sarah spent her early youth as a practicing Shia Muslim. In her late teens, she began to read the Quran critically and left religion soon after.

In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam. The issues that ex-Muslims face mirror the issues that we Amish face.

Sarah is particularly passionate about civil liberties and women’s rights. You can reach Sarah at @SarahTheHaider and read more about EXMNA at www.exmna.org.

 

11:45pm Lunch
On your own, but we’ll recommend restaurants for people to meet at to continue the morning discussions. Torah and Elam welcome anyone to join them for lunch.
1:30pm Presentation by Joel Engelman: “The Health Costs of Religious Disaffiliation or Shunning: Ex-Ultra Orthodox Jewish Comparisons”
SPEAKER: Joel Engelman

Joel will present recent research findings on how various psychological processes and experiences involved in leaving religious communities affect the wellbeing of those who leave them. Joel will also explore structural differences and similarities found amongst insular religious communities.

Through his research on individuals who have left Orthodox Jewish communities, Joel will explore the commonalities between the Orthodox Jewish and Amish experiences of leaving religious communities that encompass the individual’s entire being: their understanding of the world, their language, and their support systems.  Finally, the common challenges of those who choose to leave insular religious communities will be discussed.

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A

––

BIO: Joel Engelman was raised in the insular religious Satmar Hasidic community in New York City, which he left at the age of 18. He is currently a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Bowling Green State University.

Joel is researching the psychological processes involved in religious disaffiliation and religious switching, particularly for individuals from more insular or conservative religious groups. He is interested in how those processes could potentially impact psychological wellbeing. Further, he is interested in understanding how developmental, social, and personality factors affect the individual processes of religious disaffiliation and religious switching. Finally, he is interested in comparing the exit experiences from specific religious groups and how they impact wellbeing.

2:10pm Break
2:25pm Presentation by Brian Young: "Navajo Sovereignty, Educational, and Entertainment Issues: A Comparative Analysis by a Native Filmmaker & Writer”

SPEAKER: Brian Young

Through his personal story as a first-generation college student, Brian will talk about Navajo sovereignty and educational issues, including the similarities between how Natives and the Amish are exploited in film/TV.

Brian is the editor for Torah’s podcast and appears in several episodes of Season 1 where he and Torah discussed the many uncanny similarities of their life stories. They are both the first of their family to graduate from the Ivy League, Brian from Yale and Torah from Columbia. Both of them have a mission to educate the outside about what life is really like inside their respective cultures.

Format: 20 minutes + 20-minute Q&A

––

BIO: Brian Young is full-blooded Navajo, semi-fluent in Navajo, and an enrolled member of his nation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in Film Studies and produced the first-ever fitness channel spoken entirely in a Native language (Yeego Nitl’aa’). Currently he’s a candidate for graduation in Columbia University’s MFA Writing Program, where his thesis is The Whimpering Water Monster (a Middle Grade, #OwnVoice, Native American, Urban Fantasy novel, at 76,000 words, currently under revision).

He’s written an article, “Why I Won’t Wear War Paint and Feathers in a Movie Again,” published on Time Magazine’s website and co-directed a short documentary, A Conversation with Native Americans on Race, for the New York Times.

3:05pm Break + Refreshments

This is an extended break. Some speakers might offer group discussions (workshop-style) but this will be an informal, impromptu offering.

Originally, we had planned to have workshops in separate rooms but the building we’re in doesn’t accommodate this additional space.

3:35pm Presentation by Barbra Graber: “The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List OR Why We Name Names”

SPEAKER: Barbra Graber

After going public as an incest and sexual assault survivor in 1992, Barbra began to file the names of perpetrators disclosed confidentially to her by other survivors. Like her, they had been abused by those from within her Anabaptist-Mennonite faith community and were often church leaders. In September 2015, she published her account of sexual violation online, naming the names of those who harmed her.

In April 2016, together with others, she launched The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List. The MAP List aims to post publicly available and previously circulated documents relevant to the sexual abuse crisis among Anabaptist Mennonites. It seeks to document cases of those clergy and church workers who have been convicted, sanctioned, dismissed, or sued as a result of abuse. The MAP List can include any Anabaptist / Amish / Mennonite-related church worker, paid or volunteer, lay or ordained, living or dead, including teachers, coaches, and medical or mental health professionals who have served in our communities.

Barbra will discuss how the naming of names publicly can empower survivors, hold unexposed abusers accountable, and prevent more abuse.

Format: 20 minutes + 10-minute Q&A

––

BIO: Barbra Graber is a former Director and Professor of Eastern Mennonite University’s theater program, the founder of Survivors Standing Tall website, and the founder of The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List. She was editor at the blog Our Stories Untold for four years between 2013 and 2017. In 2015, Barbra joined with others to form an Anabaptist Mennonite chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), now known as SNAP Mennonite. She facilitates a SNAP survivor’s peer support group in Harrisonburg, Virginia on the first Thursday of every month. Contact her for more information or go to the snapnetwork.org website to find other SNAP support groups near you. Exact meeting locations are not publicized in order to create a safe, confidential, and anonymous experience. Even though SNAP was started by Catholic survivors and the word ‘Priests’ is in its title, all sexual abuse survivors and their loved ones of any religion, or no religion, are welcome.

Barbra graduated from Eastern Mennonite College with a B.A. in English then returned to join the faculty of what became Eastern Mennonite University to fill the role of Director and Professor of EMU’s theater program over more than two decades between 1981 and 2005. Her academic theater career remains the highlight of her work life as she sees now how it helped her to break the silence, stand tall as a sexual assault survivor, and begin working to make it safer for others abused to come forward.

While at EMU, she co-founded a community-based professional theater company called Theatre AKIMBO. AKIMBO went on to create original dance and theater performances for a variety of national church gatherings and conferences through the 90’s. Three dramas called “Suzanne, Tamar, and the Concubine” were taken from sacred texts in which violence against women is clearly depicted and performed to accompany a presentation by Marie Fortune of Faith Trust Institute at the 1992 Sexual Violence: Framing the Ethical Questions conference.

Barbra received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1986 and took an additional year of graduate coursework in the Program for Gender Studies at USC. You may connect with her at www.TheMapList.org and www.SurvivorsStandingTall.org or at 540-214-8874.

4:05pm Break
4:20pm PANEL of Women Entrepreneurs: Blockchain & Female Leadership in the Age of #MeToo

PANELISTS: Kim Gleason (Navajo), Lizzy Hershberger (Amish), Cheryl Sherwin (Mennonite) and possibly other entrepreneur women from closed cultures with Torah Bontrager

Kim Delfina Gleason is Executive Director of Two Worlds (Native American Theater and Film) and Co-Founder of Native Women’s Business Summit.

About Native Women’s Business Summit: We prioritize our collective experiences as Native Women entrepreneurs. We know every study about the racial and gender pay gaps, wealth disparities, sexual trauma, (etc.) that Native American women are the most afflicted community in this country, intersecting in such profound ways that discrimination is not a hidden experience, but rather a very visceral challenge that Native Women face every day. This summit our first step to tackle the unmet needs of Native American women by weaving our power and culture with basic entrepreneurship skills to become business leaders for our communities and families.

About Two Worlds: Two Worlds is a progressive Native American organization with a mission to entertain, inform and inspire our diverse communities through theater, short films, education and collaborative projects. With a primary focus of creating an affirmative depiction of modern Native American life as opposed to reinforcing cultural stereotypes commonly found in the entertainment industry, in a way that is both engaging and informative to both Native American communities and the public at large.

You can learn more at http://www.nativewomenlead.org and http://twoworldsnm.wordpress.com


Lizz​y Hershberger was raised Swartzentruber Amish and first left at age 15. She was forced to return to the church due to a lack of resources that prevented her success in the outside world. She left again at age 17, with only a few personal items and $5 to her name.

Although she has happy memories from her childhood, she has also suffered many kinds of abuse. She was an unwanted child born before her mother married, sexually abused by uncles at a young age, and raped dozens of times at age 14 by a married Amish preacher. Lizzy has overcome suicidal episodes, deep depression, and anxiety. These periods have been replaced with gratitude for each new opportunity to pay her knowledge forward to others who want to transform their traumas.

Lizzy is a mom-preneur​, co-founder of a parenting group, school board member, and speaker. She lives in southern Minnesota on a ranch with her husband of 22 years. They have four children.


More bios coming….

6:00-8:00pm Closing Reception: Hors d’Oeuvres & Cocktails at Freiman Stoltzfus Art Gallery, Hosted by Freiman Stoltzfus (Amish-Mennonite artist)

BIO: Freiman Stoltzfus is a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born into an Amish-Mennonite family, the youngest of six children. From an early age, his artistic ability was recognized and encouraged, in particular by his mother. He began depicting the people and landscapes of the Amish community.

Freiman studied at The National Academy and Arts Students League, both in New York City. He is proficient in a variety of media, including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, drawing, watercolor, printmaking, photography, collage, and sculpture. His work is inspired by personal interests, including music, the four seasons, poetry, Amish quilts, Gothic architecture, and geometry.

Art is the most profound expression of the human spirit.
We all share it in many ways; sometimes joyous and vivid,
at times melancholy and reflective. Art, like life, is unstoppable.

In 2010, he was awarded a residency with the renowned sculptor Greg Wyatt in Hastings, New York. He also studied with the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Pellegrin and National Academician Rhoda Sherbell.

Freiman has a great love of adventure and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. While living in France and Italy,he studied language, music, art, and spent much time in the great museums and churches which have influenced his work.

Freiman’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Pennsylvania, New York, Switzerland, and France. His work is in private and corporate collections in the United States and abroad. He owns and operates Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Dinner
On your own, but we’ll recommend restaurants for people to meet at to continue the discussions. Torah and Elam welcome anyone to join them for dinner.

Reserve your Early Bird ticket today!

Want to sponsor us? We’d be super grateful for your gift. We offer all-access passes to our event, in addition to bespoke sponsor packages.

Students, Sponsors, Sexual Assault Survivors + Press

Students: We have a limited number of $10.00 student tickets available for current students with a valid ID.

Sponsors: We offer all-access passes to our event. That’s in addition to bespoke sponsor packages.

Sexual Assault Survivors: We have a limited number of complimentary tickets available, paid for by sponsors.

Press: We’d love to offer an all-access pass to our event, including dinner/lunch with available Speakers, Founder, and Board Members before/after the conference.

Volunteer

We need volunteers to help promote this event, starting yesterday. 🙂

And to help at the event itself.

If you can’t swing for one of the tickets but really want to attend, email us for information on how we can help each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Event Details: Where, When + How to Get There

Set in the oldest Amish settlement in the USA: Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

STARTS: 12pm (noon) on Friday, September 28, 2018
ENDS: 8pm on Saturday, September 29, 2018

1-3 hours by Amtrak or car from New York City, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.

3-6 hours by air or car from Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Harrisonburg, VA, Raleigh, NC, and Goshen, IN.

VENUE: Franklin & Marshall College:  415 Harrisburg Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603

What is your refund policy?

Because this is a nonprofit and inaugural historical event, we can’t offer refunds. However, you may certainly donate or transfer your ticket to someone else. Just make sure to email us (via the Contact page) with the name of the person who’ll be attending instead. That’s super important so we can add them to our guest list; otherwise, for security reasons, we’d have to turn them away at the door and we don’t want that to happen!

I'm a member of the press and would like to cover your event.

Thank you for your interest! We’d love to give you access to the entire conference, as well as put you in touch with speakers/attendees to interview before, during, or after. Click here to find the section with the info on how to reach us about this.

Do you offer discounted student or abuse survivor tickets?

Yes, click here to find the section with the info on how to get one.

I'd like to volunteer.

Awesome! Click here to find the section with the info on how to do that.

Don't Be Shy

This is your only chance to be part of this very unusual, wildly historic event and experience. 🙂

Future generations will look back and recognize this as a major shifting point in Amish evolution.