Bearing witness, conveying relevance: Journalism students find engaging ways to share stories of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

By Rachel Lapp
Photos by Zac Albrecht '06

Seated on a reed mat against the wall of a concrete hut, Anna Groff's notes were sparse as she and fellow Goshen College junior Kimberlee Rohrer interviewed Phumile, a young Swazi mother.
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New book released on practical peacemaking for the global church

By Anna Groff

One person can indeed make a difference in the world – starting in their own communities.
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The secret life of microRNA

Bartel receives National Academy of Sciences Award for molecular biology discovery

By Thomas V. Bona '99

For David Bartel, his current work in the research lab is a lot like his memories of his dad's ceramics studio.
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A healing legacy

By Jodi H. Beyeler

When first-year students Stephanie Kennell (Eureka, Ill.) and Kelly Wiebe (Millersburg, Ohio) were both in second grade, they each dressed up as nurses for Halloween,
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Bursting at the seams: Nursing at GC and nationally

By Jodi H. Beyeler

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the U.S. healthcare industry will need more than 2.8 million new workers – most of them nurses – by the year 2010.
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Goshen College Board Policies
Current as of October 18, 2004

Category I: Ends Policies

1.0 Global Ends Statement:

Goshen College students integrate Christian faith, learning and service through an excellent Mennonite college education, at an institution practicing wise stewardship of resources.
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'Ends' are the beginning: Goshen College board embraces new governance model

If you don't know where you are going, how do you know when you have arrived? That question might sound most appropriate for an undergraduate philosophy class, but it is actually the heart of a process that is changing how the Goshen College Board of Directors does its work.
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'Pearl Diver' offers no easy answers amidst visual beauty and tragedy

Though pacifism stands in stark contrast to the violence in the world, when it is tested in real life, the answers are never so clear.
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The process of transformation

Interim President John D. Yordy
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 Peace & Justice Journalism
 HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

 June 2005

'Pearl Diver' offers no easy answers amidst visual beauty and tragedy

Though pacifism stands in stark contrast to the violence in the world, when it is tested in real life, the answers are never so clear. In Goshen College 2000 graduate Sidney King's feature-length film debut as writer and director of "Pearl Diver," he offers a thought-provoking, complex probe into how varying human responses to violence can shake even the closest relationships.

King tells the story of Hannah Eberly (portrayed by Joey Honsa) and Marian Miller (actress Amy Jean Johnson) who, as children, witnessed an unimaginable horror that ended with the murder of their mother. Before the incident, the sisters were inseparable, but afterwards, "we looked around us and saw two entirely different worlds," as the character Hannah says.

The film focuses on the women 20 years later when Hannah is pursuing a writing career in Chicago and Marian's world revolves around family and the Mennonite farming community where the sisters grew up. Yet the memories and secrets they hold from that night continue to haunt and change them. Then Marian's daughter (played by Maddie Abshire) is injured in a farm accident, Hannah comes to help, and their worlds collide. Marian can't understand why Hannah keeps reliving the night of their mother's murder, even writing about it for others to read, and Hannah can't comprehend why Marian is willing to make sacrifices to maintain her cultural and religious values.

King said, as a Mennonite and pacifist, "I was interested in the tradition of nonviolence and how tenable it is in the contemporary world. [The characters] are all struggling with how much of themselves to give up for another."

The film may have special meaning for Mennonite and Anabaptist audience members familiar with references to the historical figure Dirk Willems, Russian Mennonite refugees and the values of mutual aid, privacy and community. "I think a lot of Mennonites will see it and recognize the themes," King said, though "I really tried hard to make it coherent and understandable" to a broad audience.

Filming "Pearl Diver" in Goshen during 17 days in the summer of 2004, King coincidentally benefited from the filming of "Lonesome Jim" which was also written by a Goshen College graduate, Jim Strauss '99, and filmed in Goshen during 2004 (see June 2004 issue of the Bulletin). Able to join the crew on short notice, King, who had studied music and German at Goshen, took part in the operation of a professional film set and observed how experienced actors and a director work together. Goshen residents, including a number of college alums, appeared as extras in the film, helped on the crew and provided the film's original soundtrack.

In "Pearl Diver," northern Indiana has never looked so beautiful, with wide shots of fields, sunsets and small town life. "I was going for a timeless look with warm colors, giving it a fable-like quality," King explained. "The film also intentionally creates contrast between the natural and man-made world."

And though this is his first feature-length film, immediately following college King, who is completing a master's degree in folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, helped write and direct the film "Shroud for a Journey: The Clayton Kratz Story," the story of four Goshen College students who retraced the steps of Kratz in 1920 as he took part in Mennonite Central Committee's effort to deliver aid to the Russian Mennonites, only to disappear forever in the Ukraine.

For more information about "Pearl Diver," visit the Web site: The movie will be shown at the Mennonite Assembly in Charlotte in July and during Goshen College Homecoming Weekend 2005.

– Jodi H. Beyeler
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