Mennonite Life – summer 2012, vol. 66

Editor's Note

We are particularly pleased to announce with this issue the launch of the Cornelius and Hilda Krahn Mennonite Life Endowment. Dr. Cornelius Krahn was the founding editor of this journal and his family has generously provided funds that will help ensure its on-going work. Additional details of his life and work as well as about the endowment fund are included in the tribute written by his daughter, Marianne Krahn Miller.

In the summer of 2011 Grace Hill Mennonite Church located east of Newton, Kansas, celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of its founding as a congregation in Michalin in the province of Kiev in the Russian Empire. Their celebrations included a summer presentation series that linked developments over five hundred years of Anabaptist and Mennonite history to the particularity of their own congregation. We present here the first four presentations in this series by Lois Barrett and Mark Jantzen. These articles demonstrate a broader sweep of Mennonite history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries made useful to thinking about and commemorating Christian and Mennonite identity at the congregational level. Because the presentations were made from notes and not polished manuscripts, there are some differences between these articles and the actual lectures, which can be viewed in their entirety here.

Kirsten Beachy presents a tasty literary piece that provides recipes even as it redefines Mennonite femininity to include being wickedly funny on top of elegant cooking and graceful writing.

The next set of five articles reflects a wide variety of contemporary concerns with peace, faith formation, conflict, worship, and theology. In what might be a first for Mennonite Life, this series starts with a sermon by Patty Shelly that looks to extend the peacemaking aspect of Christian faith by exploring the common ground shared by all three Abrahamic faiths. Jennie Warkentine's research on Faith and Life Resources' Jubilee and Gather 'Round Sunday School curriculum concludes with specific recommendations for the next generation of curriculum writers. Alyssa Schrag takes up the recent hot-button issue of Mennonite involvement as perpetrators in the Holocaust, a topic covered in the last three years with articles in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Journal of Mennonite Studies, The Mennonite, and Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter. Austin McCabe-Juhnke analyzes controversies and conflicts involved in creating the 1992 blue Hymnal: A Worship Book that is used both by the Church of the Brethren and Mennonite Church USA. The final piece by Melanie Zuercher reflects on the life and legacy of Mennonite theologian Gordon Kaufman on the first anniversary of his passing.

This year we present all three winners in the high school division of the John Horsch Mennonite History Essay Contest. We thank the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA and the three authors for making that material available to us.

The issue concludes with a section about books. Troy Osborne reviews German Mennonite Soldiers by Mark Jantzen. The last word goes to the 2011 version of the Mennonite bibliography.

We wish to make a wider circle of readers and researchers aware of two helpful journal indices. The Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter, published by the German Mennonite Historical Society, has been indexed by Helmut Foth for the volumes from 1936 to 2010. This index can be downloaded in pdf format here. Articles from Mennonitische Blätter, the main journal of German Mennonites from 1854 until World War II, has been listed by author and article title through late 1884 by a variety of Bethel students in an Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded by clicking here and scrolling down to the appropriate link.

Mark Jantzen, associate professor of history, chaired the editorial committee for this issue. Other members included Nathan Bartel, associate professor of literary studies; Rachel Epp Buller, assistant professor of art; Rachel Pannabecker, director of Kauffman Museum; Barbara Thiesen, co-director of libraries; John D. Thiesen, archivist and co-director of libraries; and Lisa Thimm, assistant professor of mathematics. Anna Yoder did the layout and Melanie Zuercher was the copy editor. Both are staff of Bethel College Institutional Communications.

Rachel Epp Buller will serve as lead editor for the next issue of Mennonite Life. Contact Mennonite Life at