vol. 55 no. 2
Welcome to the second on-line issue of Mennonite Life. As before, we look forward to your feedback on this continuing experiment in Mennonite studies.
Last year's 125th anniversary of the major Mennonite migration to the plains states and provinces of 1874 was commemorated in a rather low-key way, at least compared to the centennial of 1974. One public commemoration in Kansas was the annual meeting in August 1999 of the Swiss Mennonite Historical and Cultural Association of Moundridge. Rachel Waltner Goossen, who teaches U. S. history at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, presented these personal reflections at that meeting, describing the Swiss Volhynian immigration experience and arguing that knowing a particular story helps us understand others' stories as well.
Prairie People: A Swiss Volhynian Kaleidoscope of Images
Rachel Waltner Goossen
Walter Sawatsky, who is professor of church history and mission at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, continues to travel semi-annually on assignments for Mennonite Central Committee as East/West consultant in the former Soviet Union. The two reflections here resulted from travels in central Siberia and Kazakhstan in the spring of 1998. These are stories of the aftermath of massive change and of facing an uncertain future with hope.
Ripe unto Harvest
"Many of us who are shaped by North American culture tend to ignore, dismiss, mistrust or trivialize the significance of place," says Gayle Gerber Koontz, professor of theology and ethics at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana. What is the spiritual significance of place? What would a "Mennonite geography of the spirit" look like? Koontz begins her article with a story about her father, Leland Gerber, a professional photographer in Bluffton, Ohio. In the spirit of place, the photos that accompany her article are his photos of places in and around Bluffton. The article is an adaptation of the first of Koontz's October 1998 Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College.
Place with God: A Mennonite Perspective on the Sacred
Gayle Gerber Koontz
In the category of literary arts, Gordon Houser offers us a short story concerning a close encounter of the spiritual(?) kind. Houser is associate editor of The Mennonite, in charge of features. He has published fiction in The Other Side, The Sheridan Edwards Review and What Mennonites Are Thinking 1998, and poetry in Kansas Quarterly.
Every year since 1947, Mennonite Life has published an annual Mennonite bibliography. This is the first bibliography to appear in our new on-line format, which frees us from some of the space limitations of the print version. In this bibliography, you will also find a link to a Mennonite Life Bibliographies page where we plan to post earlier years of the annual bibliography. 1998 and 1999 are already linked there. Barbara A. Thiesen is Co-Director of Libraries and Technical Services Librarian at Bethel College.
Mennonite Bibliography 1999
Barbara A. Thiesen