Gold or not, West Coast beckoned

May 27, 2019 by

By the mid-19th century, North American Mennonites and Amish had barely crossed the Mississippi River, venturing west only as far as southeastern Iowa. That changed with the discovery of gold in California in...

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History: From Mennonite to Missionary

Apr 15, 2019 by

North American Mennonite history is peppered with schisms prompted by disagreements over issues such as prayer meetings, revival meetings, conversion experiences and Sunday schools. Seven groups that split...

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A Mennonite college at a state university

Mar 4, 2019 by

Illinois State University’s academic programs are organized into six colleges: Applied Science and Technology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts and the Mennonite College of...

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Book review: Spiritual cousins not so distant

Feb 18, 2019 by

For many Mennonites, the Brethren in Christ are distant spiritual cousins. The BIC, while firmly Anabaptist, have also drawn deeply from the wells of pietism and Wesley­anism, which has created some...

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The first non-Western Mennonites

Jan 21, 2019 by

Mennonites today are found on every continent of the world (save for Antarctica, of course). But in the mid-19th century, the original Anabaptists’ spiritual descendants lived only in North America and...

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Book review: ‘Surviving Failure’

Dec 17, 2018 by

Forty years ago, Merle and Phyllis Pellman Good already were among the highest-profile entrepreneurs in the Mennonite church. Their Good Enterprises, based in Intercourse, Pa., included book publishing,...

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From ‘Tauferkammer’ to Burkina Faso

Dec 3, 2018 by

In 1743, 275 years ago, the Swiss city of Bern dissolved its Commission for Anabaptist Affairs, or Tauferkammer. It had been established in 1659 to oversee the elimination of the local Anabaptist population....

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History: At war’s end, a last gasp of violence

Oct 22, 2018 by

One hundred years ago next month, on Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice brought World War I to an end, ceasing the four-year-old conflagration that resulted in 40 million casualties, unprecedented destruction and...

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History: An evolution from Amish

Sep 8, 2018 by

In the 21st century, “conservative” is wrapped in layers of often-ambiguous political, religious and cultural meanings. That’s a big reason why the Conservative Mennonite Conference this summer decided...

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History: A grand adventure in Alaska

Jul 30, 2018 by

By the early 1870s, the young General Conference Mennonite Church was earnestly desiring to begin its own mission program. Since its creation in 1860, it had financially supported the Dutch Mennonites’...

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Book review: ‘The Russian Mennonite Story’

Jul 16, 2018 by

According to popular lore, the sojourning Mennonites in Europe found refuge in Russia, where they flourished until 1917, when the Russian Revolution unleashed horrific persecution of these peaceful, faithful...

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History: When Mennonites persecuted Mennonites

Jun 18, 2018 by

Since Anabaptism’s birth nearly five centuries ago, adherents have been persecuted for their faith by civil authorities, from Austrian archdukes to American courts to Vietnamese police. For the Mennonite...

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History: A Beachy Amish dalliance while on the lam

May 7, 2018 by

He arrived in the Beachy Amish community as Bill Sousa, a drifter with an aimless soul. He left as Ernest Collins, a convicted felon who rejected his brief dalliance with Anabaptism. Nearly 40 years later, his...

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History: How confirmation came to be

Mar 26, 2018 by

Martin Bucer has been called “the father of Protestant confirmation.” That makes the early Anabaptists, particularly Pilgram Marpeck, grandparents of the now-common rite. Bucer was a Catholic monk who was...

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History: Lancaster chooses its own path

Feb 12, 2018 by

Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s divorce from Mennonite Church USA became official Jan. 1. The separation reflects the tensions that have plagued the denomination since its inception, but it says more about...

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History: Remembering some anniversaries

Jan 1, 2018 by

As 2017 passes into the annals of history, let’s remember some of the year’s more important and interesting Anabaptist anniversaries. 475 years ago (1542) — Authorities in Leeuwarden, capital of the...

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Book review: ‘Plain Meetinghouses’

Dec 4, 2017 by

With all the attention given to the way plain Anabaptists live their daily lives, it’s easy to forget that they are, at a fundamental level, a worshiping people. Beth Oberholtzer and John Herr have created...

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History: Alternative history — what if?

Nov 20, 2017 by

What if? It’s one of the great history games, speculating on alternative outcomes if events had happened differently. What if Abraham Lincoln had decided not to go to the theater on April 14, 1865? What if...

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Still BIC but no longer Brethren

Oct 30, 2017 by and

The Canadian BIC has swapped a noun for a verb. After years as the Brethren in Christ, the 67-congregation Anabaptist denomination has renamed itself the Be in Christ Church of Canada. The change, which had...

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Yoders celebrate 300 years in America

Oct 9, 2017 by and

SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. — Perhaps no other name is as closely linked with the American Mennonite and Amish faiths than Yoder. It’s the 598th most common last name in the United States, according to the U.S....

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