Seminars are a staple of the Mennonite Church USA. In general, seminars are one-hour workshops that focus on a wide range of topics. Seminars are also aimed at people of all ages who come to convention: youth, young adults, adults of all ages and intergenerational groups. Some involve experiential learning, some focus on conversation, and others focus on input from one person or a panel of people.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about seminars at convention.
Who can offer a seminar?
There are many ways that seminars are chosen. Mennonite Church USA agencies, some of our best resources across the church, have an opportunity to identify several seminars that they want to bring to every convention. In addition, the convention planning staff does intentional planning of several seminars, to make sure that key topics relating to the convention theme and overall faith formation are definitely addressed. But many of our seminars also come through proposals sent to us by people all across the church, as well as people who may not be Mennonite, but are excellent resource people with an idea to share.
The process for submitting seminars is now closed. The seminar committee will be meeting in mid-October to process all ideas that were submitted, and you should hear back from us by early November regarding whether or not your proposal was accepted.
How long are seminars?
Most seminars last only one hour. In Kansas City, we will also have learning experiences, which focus on experiential and interactive learning, and these will last for two hours.
Are seminar presenters paid?
Unfortunately, our budget does not allow us to pay most seminar presenters or cover their registration.
Who chooses which seminars get presented?
The Convention Planning team gives final approval to which seminars are selected for presentation at convention, but this year we’ve got a seminar committee made up of eight regional representatives from area conferences in close proximity to Kansas City: Central Plains Mennonite Conference, Mountain States Mennonite Conference, South Central Mennonite Conference and Western District Mennonite Conference. Hannah Heinzekehr is chairing this committee. If you have any questions, you can e-mail Hannah directly.
What are the criteria used to select seminars?
Here’s are the questions we look at when we assess seminars:
- Does it fit the convention theme? Does it emphasize discipleship and what it means to journey with God?
- Does it fit one of the priorities identified in the Purposeful Plan? We want to be sure that at least 20% of our seminars explicitly address our goal of intercultural transformation and growing into an anti-racist church.
- Does the presenter have expertise in the area?
- Does it appeal to more than one audience across Mennonite Church USA?
- Can it be presented in Spanish? Another language?
- What is the need for this topic? High, low, medium?
In addition, we want to be sure that seminars reflect the diversity that is present across Mennonite Church USA. As we look at the total package, we must consider:
- Racial/Ethnic diversity
- Gender diversity
- Theological diversity
- Geographic diversity
- Age diversity