Community News

What Young Historians Are Thinking Symposium

June 5, 2017

The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, in partnership with the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College and with the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, welcomes paper proposals for its event “What Young Historians Are Thinking.”

Invited to participate are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, those who have just started careers in history, and those who are “young” in scholarly study of historical topics (no matter what their age). All must be engaged in original research using chiefly primary sources (written and/or oral). All should be a part of an Historic Peace Church (Amish, Brethren in Christ, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Religious Society of Friends/Quaker, etc.) or focusing on one or more of these traditions.

Those interested should submit a 250-word proposal for a 20-minute paper to be given at the symposium, along with a brief autobiographical sketch and full contact information. Send these to Joel Nofziger at Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, PA 17602, or at A limited number of travel scholarships are available. Please note in the proposal whether this will be needed. The symposium will take place at Ridgeview Mennonite Church in Gordonville, Pennsylvania, at 7:00 p.m.

Symposium Planning Committee: Jeff Bach, Simone Horst, Devin Manzullo-Thomas, Joel Nofziger, and Anne Yoder.

Proposals are due April 14, 2017

Call for Papers: Word, Spirit, and the Renewal of the Church

In the fall of 1517, Martin Luther’s challenge to the authority of the papacy and church tradition—along with his appeal to Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)—inspired various reformers to read scripture and to understand the liberating power of the Holy Spirit in new ways. But what started as a renewal movement within the Catholic Church soon led to a host of divisions, giving rise to Protestant, Anabaptist, and other traditions, including those groups known as the Believers’ Church. Among the latter, the deep debts to the renewal impulses of late medieval Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation are unmistakable. In the 500 years since then, the church—including the Believers’ Church movement—has further expanded globally in a great diversity of forms.

This conference seeks to explore the gifts and tensions of the Reformation legacy for the Believers’ Church tradition, with a view toward its ecumenical and global dimensions. The gathering will focus especially on the debates that have swirled around the themes of Biblical authority, the movement of the Spirit, and the renewal of the church.

The conference theme “Word, Spirit, and the Renewal of the Church” can encompass a wide range of disciplines, approaches, and topics. We seek proposals from theologians, biblical scholars, ethicists, historians, pastors, and graduate students that address how the debates of the sixteenth century continue to find expression in contemporary understandings of Word, Spirit, and the renewal of the church. We are especially interested in papers that bring voices from the Believers’ Church into conversation with other Christian traditions.

Possible questions and topics to address include:

  • How does a given understanding of Word and Spirit, and their relation to each other, interact with another doctrine (e.g., creation, Christology, ecclesiology, etc.)?
  • What are some of the theological and sociological dynamics of past and present renewal movements within the Believers’ Church tradition?
  • How do groups in the Believers’ Church tradition interpret the Bible and its authority vis-à-vis other Christian traditions?
  • How has the Reformation called into question the location of the church: where/who is the church today?
  • What are some of the key issues facing comparative theologies, ethics, and practices of grace, discipleship, tradition, enculturation, church unity and renewal, worship and preaching, etc.?
  • How are the central issues of the Reformation relevant to the Believers’ Church, especially in its global dimension?

Presentations should reflect a thoughtful engagement with scholarship but be accessible to a broad audience, including interested lay people. A limited number of travel grants will be available, with highest priority going to presenters coming from the Global South and students.

Please submit a one-page CV and a 250-word abstract for a paper or a complete panel/workshop session (with presenters indicated) by April 1, 2017 to John D. Roth ( Conference organizers will respond by May 1, 2017.

Ephrata Cloister Offers Trip to Poe and the Penitentiary

 See the darker side of history in the daylight.

When: Friday, April 28, 2017

Time: departure, 8:00 a.m.; return 5:00 p.m.

Where: departure from Ephrata Cloister, 632 West Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17522 –

Eastern State Penitentiary, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, both in Philadelphia

Admission: $55.00 per person

Description: The Ephrata Cloister Associates invites you to explore some of the spookier spots in Philadelphia’s history as they take a day long trip to visit Eastern State Penitentiary and the Edger Allan Poe National Historic Site on Friday, April 28. Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 by passive Quakers who believe that solitary confinement was the best was to serve penance. As America’s first prison, it became a model for prisons constructed later. One of its most notorious inmates was gangster Al “Scarface” Capone. The prison closed in 1971, and after years of decay, new efforts to save the monumental structure began in the 1980s.

Following lunch on your own in one of the many nearby restaurants, it’s off to the home occupied by Edgar Allan Poe, one of the nation’s most original gothic writers. The six years Poe lived in Philadelphia were his happiest and most productive. Yet Poe also struggled with bad luck, personal demons and his wife’s tuberculosis. The cellar of the house may have inspired descriptions found in Poe’s The Black Cat.

The trip will depart from the Ephrata Cloister, 632 West Main Street, Ephrata, at 8:00 a.m. and return about 5:00 p.m. The cost for the trip, including admissions and transportation, is $55.00 per person. Reservations for trip are required by April 12, 2017. For reservations or additional information, contact Harriet Eshleman, 59 Cedar Acres Drive, Lancaster, PA 17602, or

Ephrata Cloister is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with assistance from the Ephrata Cloister Associates, a non-profit group supporting the preservation and interpretation of this National Historic Landmark

2017 International Germanic Genealogy ‘Connections’ Conference Extended to Three Days July 28-30

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.The 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference, organized by a young and rapidly growing international partnership, has been extended to three days: July 28-30, 2017. We received a far greater than expected volume of presentation proposals and from a greater than expected number of potential speakers, including many well-known international speakers. By extending the conference to three days, attendees will be able to take advantage of more of the many high-quality sessions that speakers are offering,” said Kent Cutkomp, co-chair of the conference and co-founder of the German-American Genealogical Partnership.

See the Conference Flier: flyer_2017internationalgermanicgenealogyconference_v3

2017 Palatines to America, Pennsylvania Chapter, Spring Conference

Academic Forum, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Palatines to America is offering their Spring Conference on May 6, 2017 at the Academic Forum at Kutztown University. Hours are from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. This one day conference will include lunch and the Annual Business meeting.

Speakers are as follows:
Paul Peucker, PhD: “Moravians in America & The Moravian Archives”
Del-Louise Moyer, MM: “Ornamental Arts at Moravian Boarding Schools”
Hal Merz, MBA: “Tightening the Screws, How Pennsylvania’s Loyalists were treated in the Revolutionary Era”
Roy Gehris: “Finding Military Records”
Please notified your members and display the information of this conference.

For further information and registration, contact Dennis Carroll at or visit, click on Chapters and then Pennsylvania.