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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Reflections on Ukraine: Can it happen again?

Oct 17, 2018 by

Women in Odessa, Kherson, Zaporozhe, Dnipro and Kiev adorn themselves in the colors and fragrances of happy gardens that belie Ukraine’s brutal history. Men without shirts in the villages of what had been...

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A civil rights reunion

Oct 10, 2018 by

While on the faculty of Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., J. Lawrence Burkholder participated in an integration effort on March 31, 1964, in Saint Augustine, Fla., which made headlines in newspapers...

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Swiss project highlights reconciliation in Bern

Oct 8, 2018 by and

A decade ago in Switzerland, a process of reconciliation emerged among Anabaptists and contemporary representatives of the government that oppressed them during the Reformation. To make that reconciliation...

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Mennonites and empire

Sep 26, 2018 by

Every Mennonite in the small town of Goessel, Kan., knows the date 1874. It is emblazoned on the “Turkey Red Wheat Palace,” erected on the centennial of Mennonites’ migration to the Great Plains from...

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Opinion: Late for the 500th birthday party

Sep 24, 2018 by

A new direction and a different interpretation are mother’s milk to the historian. At times this is helpful. At other times, not so much. Anabaptism, defined from its inception by its enemies, more recently...

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Curiosity about Anabaptists creates teachable moments

Sep 17, 2018 by and

SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. — People who come to northern Indiana with curiosity about the Amish and Mennonites often find their way to an Amish-country attraction that teaches them about Anabaptism. About 260 people...

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Our hymns shape our church

Aug 27, 2018 by

“Out of the fullness of the heart, the language of each mortal springs. If you would truly know a man, just listen to the songs he sings.” — Amish hymn writer John Paul Raber, Songs from Within...

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What do historians look like?

Jul 30, 2018 by

The first time I submitted a piece of scholarship for consideration to an academic journal — at age 21 and having just earned B.A. in history — a rejection letter came in quick response. Why? Because I...

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Anabaptism’s 500th anniversary is 2025, not 2027

Jun 19, 2018 by

At times of historical celebration, there is often debate as to the veracity of classical interpretations of a movement’s beginnings. Such a debate is with us again, as we begin to commemorate the...

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Statue to honor martyr

Jun 18, 2018 by and

STEINBACH, Man. — Manitoba sculptor Peter Sawatzky has been commissioned to create a bronze statue of martyred Anabaptist Dirk Willems. Based on an engraving of Willems by Jan Luyken in Martyrs Mirror, the...

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Group seeks forgiveness for trauma of Münster

Jun 11, 2018 by , and

MÜNSTER, Germany — An unprecedented time of forgiveness came in May to the site of a notorious and violent Anabaptist uprising. A litany of healing and exchanges of understanding were part of a national...

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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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No guarantees for this life

Mar 5, 2018 by

God doesn’t promise that if we obey him we will have an awesome life. Nor a decent life. Or even life itself. Anneken Jans was a young heiress who chose to be baptized as an adult, an illegal practice in the...

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Shaped by persecution

Jan 29, 2018 by

As part of a privileged Christian majority, do Mennonites in North America still carry remnants of their martyr past? For centuries, persecution shaped the character of Mennonite communities. Early Anabaptists...

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Account of an Anabaptist immigrant

Jan 10, 2018 by

My name is Henry Clemmer. I was Henrich (or Heinrich) until I immigrated to an English-speaking colony in Pennsylvania. My last name also has many variations in Switzerland from where my family originates:...

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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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Former prison becomes Swiss Mennonite couple’s home

Dec 11, 2017 by and

Spears to pruning hooks. Swords to plowshares. And since April 1, Anabaptist prison to cozy apartment. Already a tourist hotspot for Mennonites, portions of Trachselwald Castle could even become an...

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Did the Anabaptist reformers ‘win’?

Nov 29, 2017 by and

Theologian Karl Barth, a supreme definer of Christianity in the twentieth century, continues to influence Christian thinkers, notably with his admonition, “The church must always be reformed.” Not many...

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Swiss official offers apology for persecution

Nov 27, 2017 by and

It can’t change the past, but it can impact the future. In surprise comments delivered in early November, a government official in Bern, Switz­erland, requested forgiveness for persecution by the church and...

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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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What faith cannot do

Oct 30, 2017 by

Faith is a miracle worker. It moves mountains and heals the sick and brings about the impossible. Faith is the evidence of a world unseen. But did you know that there is something faith cannot do? The past few...

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Anabaptists only one facet of World War I dissent

Oct 24, 2017 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While many events have honored heroism and sacrifice during World War I, a different kind of conference gathered in an unlikely place to pay tribute to those who opposed the Great War a...

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‘Muted Voices’ conference recalls Hutterite martyrs

Oct 23, 2017 by and

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The tale of four Hutterite conscientious objectors who refused even to wear a military uniform, let alone serve in the U.S. Army during World War I, is well known in Hutterite colonies and...

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Fundamentally flawed: How Mennonites failed to be faithful

Oct 23, 2017 by

I grew up believing my Mennonite religious tradition originated as a part of the Anabaptist movement. I would’ve been incredulous if someone had told me then that our theological underpinnings originated...

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