Annual Gathering Schedule: Meet Your Speakers!

Every Session and Speaker for Annual Gathering - September 17th-19th, 2021




Sessions and Speakers, ANNUAL GATHERING 2021 [All on Zoom, Interactive]


*Sessions will be recorded, except Saturday’s STAR Training. Recordings only available to registered attendees at Annual Gathering. 

Register HERE for Annual Gathering next weekend! 

 *Members must register on Eventbrite to receive link to attend. Having trouble? Email

Friday Lunchtime Workshop: 12 pm EST

“Sitting with suffering: keeping hold of your faith while working in a violent world”

Living and working in settings that expose us to suffering can be difficult. This session will explore ways in which we can faithfully walk (sit/dance) with those who are suffering and recognize God in the experience. We will explore ideas that can help us build resilience when our work exposes us to suffering on a regular basis.



Beth Good is a nurse with a Master’s in Public Health Nursing and a PhD in Nursing Science and Research. She currently works at Eastern Mennonite University as the director of Intercultural Programs. Previously, Beth worked with Mennonite Central Committee as the global Health Coordinator as well as co-representative for the MCC Kenya program. Beth and her family have lived in Kinshasa, DRC (1984-1985), Kenya (1989-2001) and Bukavu, DRC (2016-2018) and Kenya (2018-2019). Beth’s expertise is in the area of public health in vulnerable settings, trauma healing and sexual gender-based violence.




➸ Friday Annual Gathering Opening Session & Prayer: 1 pm EST

“Praying for Ourselves, Our Patients, Our World”

Join MHF Executive Director and Board Members for a formal welcome to 2021 Virtual Annual Gathering. Hear about MHF’s vision for Annual Gathering and supporting all healthcare professionals who seek to integrate faith and values with healthcare practice. To ground our entire gathering, we will offer a time of prayer both in the large and small groups. Come to say hello to your fellow MHF members and Annual Gathering attendees, meet MHF’s new Executive Director and newest Board Members, and center yourself in prayer for one another, for the many patients we are serving, and for our world in this extraordinary time.



MHF Executive Director, Cate Michelle Desjardins, and members of the MHF Board of Directors.



Friday Night Plenary: 7 pm EST

​​“The five life standards for the healing professions: caring more with less”

Convening at the end of the first half-day of our Virtual Annual Gathering, this plenary session will inspire participants to re-center on the essential function and key opportunity that Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship offers to Anabaptists within the healing professions. A brief history of the origins and core mission of its predecessor organizations (Mennonite Medical/Nursing Associations) will highlight the utility of these networks for the context of those pathfinding Anabaptist health professionals. Discussing the emerging issues of moral distress and injury within health systems that are colored by the Medical Industrial Context, a young professional’s voice will advocate why Anabaptist values and practices are especially important for current and future Anabaptists called into the healing professions amid increasingly trying times. A concluding description of MHF’s emerging Five Life Standards Project will serve as an invitation to participate in mutual support in authentic discipleship and service within the healing professions.



Lyubov Slashcheva joined the MHF Board in 2015 and was re-elected to a second 3-year term in 2018. She served as Vice-President of the Board for 2016-17 and President, 2017-19. Lyubov completed her undergraduate studies at Eastern Mennonite University in 2011, doctoral dental training at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia in 2016 fellowship in Geriatric & Special Needs Dentistry in 2018, a residency program in Dental Public Health in 2019, and was certified as a Diplomate with the American Board of Dental Public Health in 2021. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia with her partner, Scott Roser, and three children, working primarily as a dentist at the local community health center. They are active members of Shalom Mennonite Church, are avid cyclists, and enjoy growing and cooking food.




➸ Saturday Workshop, 9 am EST

“Introduction to Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience for Cultural Competence, Racial Healing and Equity (Intro to STAR)”

This 2-hour online training teaches the basic concepts, models, and strategies of the 5-day Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience – STAR Training for cultural competence, racial healing and equity. STAR is a research and practice-supported training integrating neuropsychology, trauma healing and resilience, restorative justice, nonviolent conflict transformation, and broadly defined spirituality. While inclusive of the traditional psychiatric/medical model understanding of psychological trauma, this training is designed for those seeking to understand and address psychological trauma from a broader more inclusive bio-psycho-social-racial-spiritual-cultural perspective with those who identify with the Mennonite/Anabaptist perspective.


Intro to STAR is produced and administered by the Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute and is based on the STAR curriculum created and produced by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA. MHF is grateful to offer this training through a grant from Mennonite Health Services.



Crixell Shell, MS, Assistant Executive Director, Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute

(i.e. Peacebuilding) and Local Coming to the Table (CTTT) Racial Healing Talking Circle Group Leader, is a cisgender, African American woman with a professional legal and technology background. She was in the first Minnesota Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) training cohort in 2010 and, since then she has been an integral part of the development of the STAR Training and CTTT in Minnesota. Crixell facilitates multiple CTTT gatherings a month, and she is on the national CTTT leadership team. Crixell is a Master Certified STAR Trainer. Crixell will be the Executive Director of Peacebuilding as of January 1, 2022. Crixell’s pronouns are she/her/hers.

Donna Minter, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of Peacebuilding and Master Certified STAR Trainer, is a European American cisgender woman. She is a licensed psychologist who has practiced pediatric neuropsychology for over 25 years in outpatient and inpatient clinics and educational settings. For 19 years she has conducted court-ordered mental health evaluations and provided expert court testimony. She is a Master Certified STAR Trainer who administers, implements, and conducts trainings and talking circles in Minnesota, throughout the USA, and internationally. On December 31, 2021, Donna will step aside as Executive Director of Peacebuilding and continue as a trainer/facilitator under Crixell’s leadership. Donna’s pronouns are she/her/hers. Donna is a board member of Mennonite Health Fellowship and an active member of Faith Mennonite Church in Minneapolis.


➸ Coffee Chat & Networking, OPEN TO ALL [Do not have to register for Annual Gathering], 11 am EST

All MHF Members and anyone interested in learning more about MHF and getting to know fellow Christian and Anabaptist healthcare providers are welcome to join us for a fun, informal Zoom “Coffee Time”. We will have a chance to chat as a large group, catch up on where we are serving and significant life milestones, and shift into breakout rooms for more networking and guided conversation. Come for a mix of serious and fun as we get to know one another in MHF!  



MHF Executive Director, Cate Michelle Desjardins, and members of the MHF Board of Directors.


➸ Affinity Group Meetings, 3 pm EST

            Chaplains, Nurses, Physicians, All Others

            Come to spend time with those who share your discipline in MHF. Facilitated by MHF Board Members and Committee Leaders, we will get to know one another and also discuss how MHF can best serve you as your serve in your particular calling. We will divide up roughly by profession and have a chance to share more deeply what it has been like to serve in this last year and to dream together of how MHF can be the best resource possible for those like you! This is a unique opportunity to be with those who share both your vocational calling and your faith – don’t miss it!



Members of the MHF Board of Directors and MHF Committee Leaders





➸ Sunday Breakfast Session: 9am EST

“Ethics for Breakfast”: Discernment Around Real-Life Ethical Issues from an Anabaptist Perspective

All healthcare providers are faced with ethical questions and concerns – some of us on a daily basis.  We must be equipped with the language and discernment skills to make ethical decisions quickly and be ethical leaders in our contexts. Bring your coffee and your curiosity to discuss a series of case studies in healthcare ethics. How do we, as professionals and Anabaptist Christians, practice discernment in matters where serious ethical questions arise? Participants will be invited to explore the ethical cases through the four pillars of ethics as well as the core convictions of Anabaptist faith. The four pillars of ethics are:

  • Autonomy — Does it show respect for the patient and their right to make decisions?
  • Non-maleficence — Does it harm the patient?
  • Justice — Are there consequences in the wider community?
  • Beneficence — Does it benefit the patient?


Joann HunsbergerJoann B. Hunsberger is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist from Baltimore, Maryland. She also serves as Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University. A graduate of Goshen College, Temple University, and Drexel University where she received her MD degree in 2010, she joined the MHF Board in 2017. She was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Board in 2018 and Vice-President in 2019. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Joann and her husband, Matthew Kanagy, now make their home in Baltimore with their four children. Joann enjoys leading singing at church, planting green things in the city landscape, exploring the city by foot, visiting the Chesapeake coast line, and making frequent visits back to her parents’ farm in Pennsylvania. 




➸ Sunday Plenary Session, Prayer, and Conference Closing: 2pm EST

From Our Depths: Sharing Our Stories of Courage and Creativity during Covid19


Everyday caregivers have gone about their work in extraordinary circumstances and ways while providing care during Covid. Listening deeply to one another’s stories of challenges and rewards can be inspirational and instructive to many parts of life that offer constant opportunities for synergy and transformation. As we reflect on how God has been at work among, in and through all of us this past year and a half, let us listen for the threads that bind us to one another and our God who lives and loves through us.




Charlene Epp serves as a Holistic Community Caregiver, drawing from years of experience as a chaplain, Conference Minister, teacher, Spiritual Director. These roles have included serving on a Conference Minister Team of three supporting 17 congregations representing urban and rural settings across Colorado and New Mexico. Charlene’s primary ministry has been as a chaplain in acute care, Level 1 trauma centers and hospice settings. Along with entire hospital coverage, she has served on a Palliative Care team and provided specialized care in the Behavioral Health Unit, Breast Cancer Center, Emergency Department, Labor & Delivery, Mom/Baby, NICU, Pediatrics and PICU. Her work has included staff support based on trauma-informed models such as RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events, a Caring for the Caregiver program developed at John Hopkins Hospital). Charlene’s roles also include elementary and preschool children from large urban to small rural migrant communities and as Children’s Garden Coordinator at the New York Botanical Gardens.  Charlene also provides Spiritual Director, co-facilitating groups and companioning individuals in their spiritual walk. Charlene received her MDiv degree from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and is ordained in Mennonite Church USA. Charlene and her marital partner, Duncan Smith, share the joy of having called many places “home” in their life together, currently living in Anacortes WA. Among the many delights of living, Charlene enjoys gardening, hiking, hosting guests, quilting, reading and writing.


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