History: Mennonite sisterhood of service

Nov 11, 2019 by

In 1890, American Mennonite women had few opportunities to serve the church in a formal capacity. Pastoral ministry was reserved for men, and Mennonite mission work was still in its infancy. David ­Goerz...

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History: How Congo became a Mennonite stronghold

Sep 30, 2019 by

Aaron Janzen believed passionately in missions. A member of the Mennonite Brethren from Mountain Lake, Minn., he wrote of the value of leaving “homeland, kin and kindred, ease, comfort, physical and...

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History: Enduring witness of the ‘Bloody Theater’

Aug 19, 2019 by

The 17th century has been called the Dutch Golden Age, when the Nether-lands rose to international prominence in commerce, art and science. It was a gleaming era of prosperity for many, including...

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History: Big family begat bigger church

Jul 8, 2019 by

Christian (1788-1846) and Christiana Buzzard Holdeman (1788-1865) had Mennonite church leaders in their family tree. Christian’s father had been a minister, while Christiana’s great-grandfather was the...

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History: 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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History: 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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History: 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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History: 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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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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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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History: Catalyst of Anabaptist ideas

Oct 9, 2017 by

Five hundred years ago, on Oct. 31, 1517, German monk and theology professor Martin Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church by nailing his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg. This simple act ...

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History: White supremacist’s racist ‘faith’

Aug 28, 2017 by

More than 5,200 miles separate Charlottesville, Va., from the now-disappeared Russian Mennonite col­ony of Molotschna. But according to the geography of racial and ethnic hatred, they’re located virtually...

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History: Bethlehem ’83: coming together and apart

Jul 17, 2017 by

When the General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church met in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1983 for their first joint convention, MC moderator Ross Bender and his GC counterpart, Jacob Tilitzky, placed their...

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History: An antiwar conspiracy?

Apr 24, 2017 by

The president had squeaked by in the general election. A key plank in his platform had been opposition to foreign military intervention. But in a matter of months after his inauguration, he reversed...

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History: The ‘Anabaptists’ who weren’t

Jan 30, 2017 by

Before the Radical Reformation and before the Protestant Reformation were the Waldensians. While Protestant Christianity celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2017 and Anabaptists prepare to do likewise in eight...

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History: Who can get the Amish vote?

Nov 7, 2016 by

Despite a drive to garner Old Order Amish votes this year, historical evidence suggests Donald Trump won’t get them as tries to become the 45th president of the United States. Two Republican operatives...

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The CO Mennonites once found objectionable

Aug 15, 2016 by

Nearly 50 years ago, the self-proclaimed greatest boxer of all time became the greatest religious conscientious objector to war of all time. Because of his Muslim faith, Muhammad Ali, the talented and...

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