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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Anabaptists: best supporting actors

Feb 25, 2019 by and

A new film dramatizing the life of Reformation leader Ulrich Zwingli is giving moviegoers a chance to see early Swiss Anabaptist leaders on the big screen — as long as they can get to Switzerland. The...

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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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Drinking coffee with Canada’s National Mennonite Historical Society

Dec 3, 2018 by

Over the Nov. 15-17 weekend, I listened to no less than 30 academic presentations in a space of 2.5 days as Canada’s National Mennonite Historical Society hosted scholars and speakers for the annual...

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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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Discovered documents detail French Nazi resistance

Dec 3, 2018 by and

More than seven decades after World War II ended, revelations about Mennonites and the war continue coming to light. Stéphane Zehr of Anduze, France, presented research about French Mennonite resistance to...

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“Djagalah Anak Kambing Koe” (“Tend My Lambs”)

Nov 12, 2018 by and

Renewal 2027 is a 10-year series of events organized by Mennonite World Conference’s Faith and Life Commission to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. This series...

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Commemoration at the Presidio

Oct 26, 2018 by

Recently I had the privilege of being asked to speak in San Francisco at the event, Presidio 27: “Mutiny” at the Stockade. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the peaceful sit-down by 27 Army...

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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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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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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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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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Book review: ‘Plantation Jesus’

Jul 30, 2018 by

Another book on racism? Haven’t we moved beyond that topic yet? Isn’t it time for all of us to get over it? It is precisely these responses to racism that prompted Skot Welch, Rick Wilson and Andi...

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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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A Lancaster historian seeks Mennonite hair art

Jul 9, 2018 by

It’s a well-known story. It was July 25, 1896, and there had been a party at the home of John Musser in Witmer, Pa., and many young Mennonites had gathered to socialize, perhaps discussing the quarterly...

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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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Longhurst: Will truth be told?

May 21, 2018 by

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008, Canada has been wrestling with the legacy of its residential school system for indigenous children. The topic has fueled discussion in the...

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Kennel-Shank: Misplaced superiority

May 21, 2018 by

I felt a surge of pride to be Mennonite while reading Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, a history of U.S. racist and antiracist ideas. He described the 1688 Germantown Petition Against Slavery as...

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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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Slavery not blessed

Mar 26, 2018 by

I strongly reject the contention of Mark Noll in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (as echoed by John Longhurst in his Feb. 26 column, “Lessons from a Long-Ago Conflict”), that “Christian” white...

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Scholars uncover hidden stories of the Holocaust

Mar 19, 2018 by and

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — In 2004, Joachim Wieler of Wei­mar, Germany, opened a small wooden box he inherited after his mother’s death. To his surprise and horror, it contained letters his late father wrote...

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