What the Amish can teach us about surviving apocalyptic times

May 11, 2020 by and

I took a walk the other day, because getting some respite from the narrow confines of my little suburban home is a blessing these days. About half a mile from our house, there’s a ubiquitous slice of strip...

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Kehrberg: Giving up my essentials

Apr 20, 2020 by

People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors. — Dorothea, Middlemarch In response to COVID-19, our county issued a “stay home, stay safe”...

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Andres: Parasites, islands and tables

Mar 23, 2020 by

Parasite received much attention after it collected top awards at the Oscars last month. The film is an engrossing and fable-like story that lingers in your thoughts long after the credits play. Set in South...

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Book review: All That Belongs

Mar 9, 2020 by

Catherine has spent her professional lifetime preserving the histories of others. As an archivist, she gathers the ephemera of people’s lives, bringing order to the sometimes mysterious, sometimes disordered...

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Sibling band’s tour a different kind of education

Feb 24, 2020 by and

There are three members in the band Girl Named Tom. But Tom isn’t one of them. A nickname for the youngest Liechty sibling, Bekah, “Tom” became the inspiration for Caleb, Joshua and Bekah’s sibling...

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Andres: Family dynamics

Feb 10, 2020 by

During the recent film awards season, The Farewell has garnered a lot of attention. A comedy-drama written and directed by Lulu Wang, the film centers around Chinese American Billi, who learns her grandmother...

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Miller: Please, don’t talk about that

Nov 25, 2019 by

Dear Family: I know we’re all looking forward to gathering at Grandma’s house this Christmas to enjoy holiday food and catch up on the latest happenings with our loved ones. But, as you all remember, last...

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Family reunited after deportation

Sep 2, 2019 by and

Deportation tore their family apart four years ago in Iowa, but now the Mennonite pastoral couple of Max and Gloria Villatoro — along with their three daughters — are reunited in Mexico and discovering how...

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In all sincerity

Jun 24, 2019 by

The bride’s grandparents led the wedding procession. The two grandmothers walked down the center aisle; a grandson pushed the grandfather’s wheelchair. The attendants were next, followed by the groom and...

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Miller: The old farmhouse

Jun 10, 2019 by

When I heard my Amish grandparents’ farmhouse was being razed because of black mold, and a new house would be built, I knew change was coming to a place that seemed timeless. I spent summer vacation there,...

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Religious leaders statement on child deaths in detention

Jun 7, 2019 by

Joining an ecumenical and interfaith coalition effort, Mennonite Church USA executive director Glen Guyton recently signed on to the Religious Leaders Statement on Child Deaths in Detention. Convened by...

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Kodachrome memories

May 20, 2019 by and

HARLEYSVILLE, Pa. — America’s love affair with 35mm slides ran from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Fortunate indeed are those stuck to Kodachrome, its colors not diminished by half a century of casual...

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Miller: Grandma testifies

Feb 18, 2019 by

Tears come to my grandma’s eyes when she tells us goodbye and thanks us for coming to visit. “I’m not worthy,” she says. Silly Grandma. We have visited her seldom, far less often than she deserves. She...

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The waste of love

Oct 23, 2018 by

I wake up with a dark hole of emptiness eating through my chest, and it takes me a second to realize why. My little girl is gone. The child that I loved from the minute I set eyes on her is gone. I still...

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Book review: ‘A Midwife in Amish Country’

Sep 17, 2018 by

In her excellent 2013 study of the Amish romance, Thrill of the Chaste, Valerie Weaver-Zercher decisively argues that books about the Amish are predominantly written for an evangelical Christian audience. The...

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Washington Witness: Prison impacts families

Sep 10, 2018 by

With more than 2 million men and women held in U.S. jails and prisons, the need for criminal justice reform has become evident. But legislators disagree on what these reforms should look like. Some believe...

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Christmas imperfections

Dec 18, 2017 by

The screams were interrupted by yet another festive tinkle of shattering glass. Another ornament hit the hardwood floor, sending shards of Christmas cheer in every direction. The kids were helping decorate....

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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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The strangest day of my life

Aug 23, 2017 by

I’ve been looking forward to watching this eclipse for months. I love bizarre, dream-like experiences where the normal rules of life don’t seem to apply. Like when I was in Thailand, exploring a...

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Plain groups: work-family bond resists worldly ways

Mar 27, 2017 by and

HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — Today’s North American economy presents daunting challenges for building the ideal faith community, according to David Martin of Cheyenne, Wyo. “Why does there seem to be among...

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‘Come as you are’ — and meaning it

Jan 30, 2017 by and

LANCASTER, Pa. — Raymond Gephart grew up in a family plagued by the abuse of drugs and alcohol. His two older sisters were put into foster care. Today, 58-year-old Gephart lives in Lancaster with his new...

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Book review: ‘Simple Pleasures’

Sep 12, 2016 by

In the creative nonfiction course I teach every spring, I talk about a memoirist’s ability to both convey personal experience and also make connections with an audience. This interplay between the individual...

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3 meditative questions to enhance your day

Jun 24, 2016 by

Our oldest daughter is finishing up her last week of school. First grade has been full of excitement, growth opportunities and new experiences. Over the course of the past year, I have seen her beautiful...

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More than our family tree

Dec 7, 2015 by

Betsy Poling didn’t grow up Mennonite. Neither did her parents or her grandparents or her great-grandparents. Of German-Irish background, Poling grew up in Lima, Ohio, where she attended a Church of the...

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On stories, sadness and spoilers

Aug 17, 2015 by

I was pacing in the living room. My son had been making his way through the Harry Potter series all summer, and he was reading the climactic chapter in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince....

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