Tag Archives: Andrew Huth

Pastors, leaders travel to Israel and Palestine

by Brook Musselman, for the Come and See tour

This week, we are sharing several reflections from participants on the October 2014 “Come and See” tour to Israel and Palestine. The tour is part of a broader initiative by Mennonite Church USA which encourages Mennonite pastors and leaders to travel to the region, to “come and see” what daily life is like for those who live there. 

Our group of 12 pastors and leaders–from Atlantic Coast, Eastern District and Franconia Mennonite Conferences–traveled to the West Bank town of Bethlehem, having intellectually prepared ourselves by reading the history of and various perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict. We weren’t prepared for our encounter with the hard realities of life in this country that would shake our hope in humanity and reshape our worldview.

Photo by Sheri Wenger.
The group sits on steps outside of the Damascas gate, Jerusalem. Photo by Sheri Wenger.

One day, we were taken to a shrinking, dusty Palestinian village that sat in the shadow of a recently-built Israeli settlement. Our guide showed us the farm land that had been confiscated from the villagers for the use or disuse of the settlers. We saw the pond where the village children used to swim in the summer heat before they were chased away by armed settlers who came to the pond for their own recreation. We passed the entrance to the village where a checkpoint was often set up that made access to the outside world incredibly difficult.

We heard the perspectives of Jews who are hardened to the suffering they cause by decades and centuries of fear, persecution, and constant threat. They told us of the hope they have because of Zionism and the establishment of their homeland, but we were deeply frustrated to see the harm that this continues to cause nearly 70 years after independence.

Photo by Sheri Wenger.
The group on a tour of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The church is said to be built over the place where Jesus was born. It was site of refuge for Palestinians during recent violence. Photo by Sheri Wenger.

We also met Jews who love their country but cannot support the oppressive actions of their government, so they endure teargas, rubber bullets, beatings, and arrests by the Israeli Army to stand alongside those without power.

In our brief time touring both sides of the dividing wall, we heard stories from the people that were both encouraging and discouraging. At times, we felt like throwing up our hands and admitting that there is no hope for justice or peace in this place. Each of us felt frustrated by the discrimination, inhumanity, and senseless violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people. We also felt anger toward the international community and especially our own government that acknowledges these atrocities but doesn’t take action.

But in spite of the discouragement we so often felt, we heard story after story showing the tenacity of the Palestinian people and their hope for a future. One of our guides was a Palestinian Christian with ancestry tracing back to the earliest disciples, who works tirelessly and daily risks imprisonment to raise awareness and promote peace in the area. Stories like this inspired us to come home and tell the stories of those in need of a voice and to promote shalom at home and abroad by encouraging all to be peacemakers in our broken world.

CD graduates are reminded to live greatness

CD grad 2013
Christopher Dock Mennonite High School Class of 2013 members share a laugh together during the school’s 58th Annual Commencement on Saturday June 8,2013. Photo by Mark C Psoras\The Reporter

by Jennifer Connor, jconnor@thereporteronline.com
Reposted by permission from The Reporter

In a commencement ceremony that emphasized the three main pillars of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School’s mission, the school graduated 84 students in the Class of 2013 Saturday night. Christopher Dock “seeks to ignite passion for learning, faith and life,” according to its website and demonstrated so in this year’s ceremony.

Senior Class President Tyler Denlinger launched the ceremony by delivering the welcome address, thanking those who have walked alongside the graduates throughout their schooling journey. Later in the ceremony, Denlinger, who also graduated summa cum laude and received the Paul R. Clemens Bible Award, received the Christopher Dock Award as the male student who demonstrates all-around campus citizenship, leadership and scholarship during high school. Marissa Joy Souder was the female recipient.

Among the 84 graduates were exchange students. Prior to the ceremony, Bogusia Stone who has hosted Dohee Kim, a student from South Korea, for the past three years excitedly anticipated the ceremony, proudly waving her “parent ticket.”

“I even have a mom ticket!” Stone said. Dohee, who received the Charles Clemmer Art award for excellence in the subject of art, will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall.

Hometown principal of graduating seniors and exchange students Camilo Hurtado and Daniel David Ramirez Zea was even in attendance, visiting all the way from the students’ home country of Columbia.

Midway through the ceremony, engaged students watched an energetic and passionate speech delivered by Andrew Huth, a documentary photographer and youth pastor at Ambler Mennonite Church. Huth was adopted at the age of nine from South Korea and emphasized how the change from having nothing to having everything influenced his life path.

Huth began his speech by turning the podium away from the audience of parents, teachers, family and friends — and instead faced it towards the students on stage.

Andrew Huth at CD grad 2013
Andrew Huth challenged students to live greatness. Photo by Lauren Pupillo

The students gave Huth their full attention as he described the development of his career, focusing on the two biggest criticisms he ever received and how they influenced him to change his focus.

The first criticism came from a local newspaper photography editor shortly after Huth decided he wanted to be a newspaper photographer. When Huth asked the editor to share his biggest critique the editor said the photography showed that Huth was afraid to engage people since many of his photos were taken from a distance or behind.

“I then began to approach my assignments by not taking any photographs until I was sitting, eating and talking with my subjects,” Huth said. “If you want the good stuff, you can’t get that at a distance.”

His second biggest criticism came from the vice president of the Associated Press and Director of Photography in an interview in Manhattan. Huth sat nervously as the vice president viewed his portfolio silently and then prompted him to give his biggest critique.

The vice president said he had many great single images but he wanted to see more and be told a story with the pictures. In that moment, Huth decided he wanted to become a documentary photographer.

His speech, entitled, “Don’t Dream of Greatness,” emphasized that one must live and breathe the greatness they aspire to possess. He encouraged students to look at their causes and those they want to help not as projects but rather as partners.

“Dreaming is such a dangerous thing – you’re so close to the real thing but it’s not quite there,” Huth said. “Everyone thinks of changing the world but never themselves. Don’t dream of greatness but do and become greatness.”

Huth’s message seemed to fit in well with the Class of 2013’s Bible verse that class vice president Elizabeth Curis shared. From Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord your God is with thee.”

God@Work: Conference Assembly 2012

Did you miss this year’s Conference Assembly?  Do you want to share something that happened with a friend?  Listen to both business sessions and the evening worship, check out the photo gallery, or share this highlight video with your congregation!

[tab:Podcast]

Joint afternoon session with Eastern District:

 

Download the podcast

Franconia delegates session:

 

Download the podcast

Evening worship:

 

Download the podcast

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Thanks, Andrew Huth, for these beautiful photos!

View the gallery

[tab:Highlight Video]

Photos by Andrew Huth (andrewhuth.com), video by Ben Wideman, editing by Kristine McClain (rethinkcreativeservices.com), music from jewelbeat.com.