North America's oldest communal group topic of Young Center events April 19, 20

Durnbaugh Lecturer Rod Janzen discusses Hutterite history, lifestyle at Elizabethtown College

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ELIZABETHTOWN, PA (03/30/2012)(readMedia)-- Hutterites, a distinct religious sect since the early 16th century, are the topic of this year's Durnbaugh Lectures April 19 and 20 at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall, Durnbaugh Lecturer Rod Janzen presents "The Hutterites in 2012," a brief overview of Hutterite history and a discussion of their core beliefs and present challenges. The lecture is preceded by a reception for the speaker at 5:30 p.m. and the annual Young Center banquet at 6 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Young Center, Janzen continues his discussion of the Hutterites with "Aspects of Hutterite Life: Communal Christianity and 21st-Century Challenges," during which he further details the characteristics of contemporary Hutterite life and some of their major conflicts, including the attraction of evangelical Protestantism and recent divisions among the group. This event includes a catered lunch.

All Durnbaugh events are open to the public. Admission to the Thursday evening lecture is free. Cost for the banquet, which includes the reception, is $18; cost for the Friday seminar, which includes a luncheon, is $10. Reservations are required by April 5 and can be made by contacting the Young Center at 717-361-1470.

The Hutterites are a growing community of more than 50,000 communal Anabaptists located primarily throughout the plains states and the northwest United States and Canada. Their roots are in southern Austria and Northern Italy. After suffering years of religious persecution in Europe, they began their immigration to America in 1873.

Janzen has taught history at Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University for the past 22 years and is recognized as a Distinguished Scholar. His primary areas of interest are American ethnic relations, utopian and communal societies, and distinctive conservative Christian groups, including the Molokans and the Hutterites, about which he has published several books and papers. He also frequently has written about the Anabaptists, Mennonites and Amish. He has served as editor of the Communal Societies academic journal since 1999 and the Pacific Journal since 2006.

Established in 1993 to commemorate the scholarship of Donald and Hedda Durnbaugh, the Durnbaugh Lecture series brings a noted scholar of Anabaptist or Pietist studies to campus annually.

An internationally recognized scholarly research institute, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College conducts and promotes research about Anabaptism and Pietism and interprets the life, faith and culture of Anabaptists and Pietists through public lectures, exhibits and conferences. For more information about the Young Center, please visit

Elizabethtown College, in south-central Pennsylvania, is a private coed institution offering more than four dozen liberal arts, fine and performing arts, science and engineering, business, communications and education degrees. Through personal attention, creative inspiration and academic challenge, Elizabethtown College students are encouraged to expand their intellectual curiosity and are given the opportunity to become a bigger part of the world through experiential learning-research, internships and study abroad. Elizabethtown College's overall commitment to Educate for Service is fulfilled as students are taught intellectually, socially, aesthetically and ethically for lives of service and leadership.

Visit for more information about Elizabethtown College.

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