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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Reflections on my teenage faith

Jul 14, 2015 by

“Wow! I sure was fed some crap theology when I was a teenager.” I came to this realization while going through an old chest full of letters, notebooks and other papers from my high school years. (I won’t...

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Forbearing family?

May 25, 2015 by

Mennonite Church USA congregations and conferences are like adult brothers and sisters. In a dispute, no one can force the other’s hand. Nor can they appeal to parental authority. They have to figure out for...

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‘Fast’ family

May 11, 2015 by

Sometimes, images echoing the kingdom of God show up in unexpected places. Furious 7, the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, took in an astounding $1 billion in 17 days. In the Washington Post,...

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Family a campus presence through generations

Apr 24, 2015 by and

HILLSBORO, Kan. — According to the registrar, Tabor College has graduated 106 students with the last name of Friesen. Of those, 25 come from one family. The patriarch, Jacob Wall Friesen, was born Dec. 14,...

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Knowing my identity for the sake of my kids

Apr 17, 2015 by

I have middle school-aged children now. My daughter has just finished her first year and my son will start in the fall. This baffles me, for it seems like just yesterday I was the one in middle school worrying...

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Piecing together family ties

Mar 30, 2015 by

My mom loves to sew. When she was only 8 or 9 she begged her mom to teach her to use the sewing machine. She sewed all her clothes while attending high school in Henderson, Neb. She even sewed her own wedding...

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Stop giving bonus points for success

Mar 16, 2015 by

Sociologist Dalton Conley explained on NPR’s Here and Now how families become less cohesive when one sibling is significantly richer than the others. Money triggers family tensions. Siblings with more money...

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