The Promise and Challenge of Nonresistance
February 20, 7 pm
Turning the other cheek is a concept Jesus used and is taken to heart by persons who believe in non-resistance. Throughout the centuries this belief has remained the bedrock upon which practices of Anabaptist justice have grown. Titus Peachey, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, and Kevin Ressler will discuss contemporary models of peacemaking.
Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, Free
Moving into the City, Moving out of the City: What Makes People Move
April 3, 7 pm
Steve Nolt, senior scholar at the Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, will explore the movement of Lancaster Mennonites during the 50’s and 60’s from farm to city within the broader context of movement. Christine Baer, Congregational Resource Developer at Church World Service, will guide a discussion of the current movement of Mennonite-connected immigrants from around the world from the city to the countryside.
New Holland Mennonite Church, Free
What Young Historians Are Thinking
June 5, 7 pm
Hear three early career historians. Past presentations have included topics such as the publisher John F. Funk, the activist Anne Knight, and the peace position of the Church of the Brethren. Held in partnership with the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College and the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.
Ridgeview Mennonite Church, Free
The Story of the Pennsylvania Dutch Language
July 17, 7 pm
Mark Louden, PhD, will present the unique story of the Pennsylvania Dutch language. His research traces the ways this language has been sustained and modified by the descendants of German immigrants to North America, including but not limited to Plain Anabaptist groups such as the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.
Martindale Mennonite Fellowship Center, Free
Mission Shirati, Tanzania: Transition to Development
October 9, 7 pm
Come hear the history of Lancaster Mennonite missionaries into East Africa where they not only focused on trying to save souls, but also heal bodies by starting a hospital. While the hospital still stands, agency priorities have shifted the relationship between Lancaster and Shirati.
Community Mennonite Church, Free
The Future Has Multiple Bottom Lines—Business As Ethics
In 1993, the Mennonite Economic Development Agency began ASSETS Lancaster as a pilot domestic economic-development program driven by Mennonite values. Since then it has retained a core of business instruction and mentoring while also branching out to micro-lending, social enterprise training, and more.
Join ASSETS and the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society at 7 pm on November 7 at Neffsville Mennonite Church for a panel discussion, “The Future Has Multiple Bottom Lines.” Participating will be three ASSETS alumni: Jennie Groff, co-owner of the Stroopie Company; Charlie Crystle, CEO of the Lancaster Food Company; and Peter Barber, co-owner of Two Dudes Painting Company.. Jessica King, executive director of ASSETS Lancaster, will moderate the panel.
Jennie Groff, along with her husband, established The Stroopie Company in 2008. Their goal was to produce stroopie cookies, the Dutch stroopwafel, and provide meaningful employment for refugees resettling in Lancaster. Currently, two employees are refugees who were resettled into the same neighborhood in Lancaster City as Groff and her husband. She says, “Our passion in life is to do everything we do as worship to God and to love our neighbors as well.”
As chief executive officer and cofounder of the Lancaster Food Company, Charlie Crystal is responsible for sales, marketing, and business development. Crystal and his cofounder Craig Lauer began the Lancaster Food Company as a way to address poverty in Lancaster City through prosperity and fair compensation. Lancaster Food Company is the third business he has established, having co-founded GiftWorks and Chilisoft. Crystal lives in Lancaster City; in addition to his work, he has served on the boards of the YMCA, ASSETS Lancaster, Lancaster City School District, Lancaster Community Gardens, and as an advisor to Governor Wolf on the Workforce Development Board.
Peter Barber, co-owner of Two Dudes Painting Company which he founded in 1987 with Brian McCaskey, is a lifelong resident of Lancaster City and a graduate of Lancaster Catholic High School and Franklin and Marshall College. As a certified B Corporation, Two Dudes Painting Company strives to be a community-based and involved organization and an environmentally, socially, and ethically responsible business. In 2009, they were recognized by the Samaritan Counseling Center’s Ethics in Business Award for their commitment to corporate responsibility and business integrity. Barber is also actively involved with Landis Valley Museum, LancasterArts, James Street Improvement District, Lancaster YWCA, United Way, Heritage Center Museums, Lancaster Catholic High School, Rotary Club of Lancaster and Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
What Young Historians Are Thinking
June 4, 7 pm Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church, 800 Donegal Springs Rd, Mount Joy, Pa.
History is the study of the past, and people often assume that those who study it are also old. But this is not always the case. Find out what young historians are thinking at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, at Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church, 800 Donegal Springs Rd, Mount Joy, Pa.
Joel Nofziger, coordinator of the Young Historians program, says, “this event is an important way to encourage and support students and early career scholars as the begin to research.”
Rhonda Miller will shed light on the treatment of Bethlehem, Pa. Moravians during the American Revolution. Moravians, historically a peace church, suffered many abuses from their neighbors including confiscation of property, ostensibly in support of the cause of liberty. A former Moravian, John Wetzel, led the campaign against the Moravians, attempting to drive them from Pennsylvania. Miller is a 2016 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, in east Stroudsburg, Pa..
Dominika Hoefle will share the story of Ivan Magal. In 1960, Magal began his Russian language Golos Drooga or “Voice of a Friend” radio broadcast, under the auspices of Mennonite Broadcasting Inc., to support Christian Russian speakers in the Soviet Union and around the world. But his story begins earlier, with a childhood in Czechoslovakia, an encounter with Mennonite worker Paul Peachy in Belgium, and as the first international student at Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Va. Hoefle is a 2016 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va..
Quinton Meil will present on “Amish and Criminal Law: The English Response to Amish Crime and its Implications on Due Process.” He will consider the legal intersection of Amish and English populations noting how inconsistent application of the law has been developed and what areas of tension exist. Meil is a 2016 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa.
This event is free and open to the public.
A Sense of Place—A Conversation with Three Artists
June 17, 7 pm, James Street Mennonite Church, 323 W James St, Lancaster, Pa.
Gain insight into three local Mennonite-related artists during the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s upcoming roundtable, “A Sense of Place in the Arts.” Freiman Stoltzfus, Amy LeFever, and Letitia Weaver will share reflections on art, their backgrounds, and influences as well as displaying some of their pieces. Chad Martin, an artist and pastor, will moderate the evening. “A Sense of Place in the Arts” will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 17, at James Street Mennonite Church, 323 W. James St., Lancaster, Pa.
Freiman Stoltzfus is a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born into an Amish-Mennonite family, the youngest of six children. He works in a wide variety of media, from oil and acrylic paint to pastels, printmaking, photography, and sculpture. Freiman studied at the National Academy and the Arts Students League, both in New York City. In 2010, he was awarded a residency with the renowned sculptor Greg Wyatt in Hastings, New York. He also studied with the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Pellegrin and National Academician Rhoda Sherbell. Freiman’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Pennsylvania, New York, Switzerland, and France. He owns and operates Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Amy LeFever is an emerging ceramic artist from central Pennsylvania, focusing her work on the relationship between part and whole. The major influences in her work include music, deconstructivist architecture, and industrial production processes. She is currently enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Alfred University in New York and completed post-baccalaureate studies at Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania and George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.
Letitia Weaver grew up in Middletown, Pa., attending Herr Street Mennonite Church, a small multi-ethnic congregation in downtown Harrisburg. The intersections of culture and identity flavor her earliest memories, and remain a source of fascination and focus in her work. Letitia studied art at Harrisburg Area Community College, and later at Millersville University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture. She has taught art at Terre Hill Mennonite High School, Lancaster Mennonite School, Harrisburg Christian School, and Nile School, Cairo.
Understanding Multigenerational Anabaptist Businesses
Only twelve percent of family businesses continue for three generations, and only three percent continue for four generations. Join the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society for an evening with two local Anabaptist business leaders, Ken Kauffman of Kauffman’s fruit farm and John Smucker of Bird-in-Hand Corporation, as they reflect on the values that help sustain their businesses. This educational meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 1, at Stumptown Mennonite Church. It is free and open to the public.
In 1915, Al Kauffman began selling his apples and peaches at a roadside stand on South Weavertown Rd., east of Lancaster. In 2015, Lonnie Kauffman, Al’s fifth generation descendant, serves on the board of what is now Kauffman’s Fruit Farm, shipping produce to all fifty states.
In a similar vein, Bird-in-Hand Corporation, built on the John E. and Anna Mary Smucker family homestead, which today consists of numerous hotels and restaurants, a golf course, theatre and more also traces its roots back to farm stands along Old Philadelphia Pike. Today, three generations of Smuckers are on staff at this family-run corporation.
How have these families beat the odds? Kauffman and Smucker will share insights into Anabaptist business values that influence longevity and success, as well as discuss the family structures that help teir families work towards a common good.
Stumptown Mennonite Church is located at 2813 Stumptown Road, Bird in Hand, Pa.
Amish Quilts—A Social History
Amish quilts were not always a familiar part of America’s visual culture. As the broader American culture intersected with Old Order Amish society, Amish quilts have undergone a remarkable transition from utilitarian crafts into works of art, as well as commodities. Janneken Smucker, author of “Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon” will relate stories of local quiltmakers and explore how the commercial success of Amish-branded goods has influenced Amish artisans. Hear her speak at 7 p.m. on March 28 at Ridgeview Mennonite Church.
The Amish began quilting in the late nineteenth century, creating bed covers in the now iconic dark and bold geometric patterns. Times changed in the twentieth century, and the Amish began incorporating lighter colors and more diverse patterns in their work.
One hundred years after quilting began in earnest among the Amish, art collectors began to notice the striking similarities between those simple old quilts and minimalist works of modern art. In 1971, an exhibit titled “Abstract Designs in American Quilts” opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, which reinterpreted quilts, especially the old Amish quilts, as works of art.
Janneken Smucker is a fifth-generation quiltmaker who learned the craft from her great-grandmother. She is also assistant professor of history at West Chester University, with a specialty in material culture.
In Our Blood: Nazism, MCC, and the Invention of Mennonite Ethnicity
May 20, 7 pm
At the height of the second World War, one fourth of all Mennonites in the world lived under Nazi rule. Examining for the first time the profound implications of this encounter for the global Mennonite church, Harvard historian Ben Goossen traces the entanglement of Anabaptist and Aryan ideologies before, during, and after Hitler’s Third Reich in his presentation “In Our Blood: Nazism, MCC, and the Invention of Mennonite Ethnicity.”
Drawing on research from his forthcoming book, Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era, Goossen illuminates National Socialists’ fascination for Mennonite communities, as well as Mennonite Central Committee’s campaign to distance the denomination from Nazism. Goossen asks how these efforts contributed to postwar ideas of ‘Mennonite ethnicity,’ and how this past continues to shape race relations in an increasingly multicultural church.
Ridgeview Mennonite Church, 3723 Ridge Rd, Gordonville, Pa.
How in the World Have We Changed?
In an evening full of change, a panel of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ leaders assembled by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and The Brethren in Christ Historical Society gathered at the Lancaster Brethren in Christ Church on November 9 to discuss major shifts in the Anabaptist world community.
Harriet Sider Bicksler, editor for the Brethren in Christ Historical Society, led the panel entitled “How in the World Have We Changed.” The panel comprised of Emerson Lesher, chair of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society board, as well as Samuel López of the Spanish Mennonite Council; Leonard Dow, pastor of Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia; and Alain Epp Weaver, director of planning and learning at Mennonite Central Committee. They were charged with answering to rounds of questions—first reflecting on the journey Anabaptists have had over the last fifty years and then what it means to be an Anabaptist in the world today. The story they told was of a community moving from plain to integrated, uniform to diverse, insulated to global.
Fifty years ago, Anabaptists were very predictable, in their dress and their background. “In my lifetime, we moved from plain to fancy—my grandparents were plain, my parents grew up plain, but in their young adulthood they took off the covering and plain coat, and that was never part of my experience,” reflected Lesher. “I grew up with a minority mindset; if the majority believed something or did something, they were probably wrong. We were a separatist people, and that has changed.”
The Anabaptist community, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite, and beyond saw a broad change, not just in dress, but also in the people coming to church. Dow reflected on seeing this shift in the neighborhood around Arch Street. Twenty-five years ago, it was predominantly Irish Catholic and Jewish; now it is a diverse community where seventy percent are immigrants. This increased diversity did not come easily. When Mennonite churches were being established in the area, they were not integrated. “We were part of the same church, but we were separated,” said Dow.
Even where people recognized they were part of the same faith family, there was a struggle as the Anabaptist community became more encompassing. López told a story he heard from Ron Collins, who pastored a Spanish Mennonite church in Chicago: “Some Ohio conservative Amish Mennonites wanted to meet the Hispanic Mennonites in Chicago so one day he invited them to go. After the service, after they experienced the charismatic worship, they asked Collins, ‘Are you sure these people are Mennonites?’ But later when the conservative Amish Mennonites left, the Hispanics asked, ‘Pastor Ron, are you sure they are Mennonites?’”
Increased diversity was a touchstone of the evening, especially noting how the growing body of international Anabaptists is reflected by growth among North American Mennonites. Dow noted, “The global south is already here in our urban settings, and from what I hear, it’s coming to a county near you.”
Alain Epp Weaver echoed the sentiment, saying, “We have already heard how the growing church in the global south is the growing church here in the United States—immigrant churches from across the world, they’re in Philadelphia, they’re in Los Angeles. They are not they; they are we.”
What Young Historians are Thinking
David Horst-Lehman presented on “Lessons from the Soil.” He will look at prairie ecology, settlement locations, and seasonal land use to show how early 19th century settlers’ lives mapped onto an indigenous landscape. Land deeds, treaty language, farmers’ diaries, and environmental surveys were used to narrate settler use of Native crops on Native lands rather than settler conquest of a pristine “wilderness.” He integrated that history with the knowledge that his Mennonite and Amish forebearers’ prosperity was not due to their hard work alone but also a system of land ownership that began with the violent eviction of the Potawatomi, and other Native peoples from their farms and homelands. Horst-Lehman is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on environmental history and indigenous/settler interaction in the Midwest.
Monica Roth presented on Mennonite immigration to the Philadelphia area. She took the life of Dielman Kolb, an abnormally well-educated immigrant who left a more detailed record of his life, as a tool for looking at the broader story of German immigration in the eighteenth century, as well as drawing parallels to today’s church and its experience in receiving migrant populations. Roth is an undergraduate student at Brown University.
Devin Manzullo-Thomas presented “Prophet and President: Myron Augsburger and the Mennonite History of Evangelical Higher Education,” looking at the relationship between Mennonites and evangelicals in the years after World War II. Manzullo-Thomas considered such experiences in the context of higher education, using the experiences Myron Augsburger — Mennonite evangelist, theologian, and long-time president of Eastern Mennonite University — as a case study. He is a Ph.D. student in American history at Temple University. He is also director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College.
Music in Worship
Fast, slow, and half slow come together on Monday, July 20, at 7 p.m. Join the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society for “Music in Worship,” an event dedicated to sharing the music from six different Anabaptist groups.
“This is an opportunity to worship in song with both familiar and unfamiliar hymns, languages, and singing styles,” says organizer David Sauder. Lancaster Mennonite Conference will be represented, singing in the fast style, and will be balanced by the slow style of the Amish, with the half-slow of the Groffdale Conference Mennonites somewhere in between. Lancaster Mennonite Conference, Old Order Amish, Old Order Groffdale Conference Mennonites, Old Order Weaverland Conference, Church of the Brethren, and Old Order River Brethren will all be present to share their worship styles.
“This program full of music is not a concert,” stresses Sauder. “It is a hymn sing; the audience is always encouraged to sing along.” Participants will be led in song from the singers’ table, where representatives from each participating group will sit.
This event is not to be missed by any who are interested in hymnody, understanding their Anabaptist neighbors, or in participating in worship through song. Sauder says the event is unique because it represents “one of the few places, if not the only place, where all of these traditions can gather in one setting.”
The event is the third one of it type in the last four years. People should come early for good seating, as each previous hymn sing has drawn upwards of 800 attendees.
“Music in Worship” was held at the Martindale Mennonite Fellowship Center, 352 Martindale Road, Ephrata, Pa. It was organized by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society in partnership with the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Associates.
Celebrate the Anabaptists of Asia with the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society in preparation for Mennonite World Conference Assembly this summer in Harrisburg. This event on Monday, June 1, beginning at 7 p.m. at Mellinger Mennonite Church, showcased Mennonites and Brethren in Christ communities in Asia through a panel discussion, music, and food. The evening featured three panelists, each intimately acquainted with the Asian churches: Aldo Siahaan, Benny Krisbianto, Tuyen Nguyen, and Paulus Thalalthoti.
Siahaan, originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, is a LEADership minister for Franconia Mennonite Conference and also serves on the conference’s credentialing committee. He also pastors Philadelphia Praise Center, a multi-ethnic church on the south side of the city.
Krisbianto was born in Jember, Indonesia. After high school, he went to Bethany Bible College where he graduated. At the age of 22, he moved to the United States. He is pastor of Nations Worship Center in Philadelphia. Krisbianto serves on the boards of Franconia Mennonite Conference and Christopher Dock School. He also represents the Indonesian Mennonites Association (IMA) on the Constituency Leaders Council of Mennonite Church USA.
Nguyen was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1973 as a foreign student. He is bishop over six congregations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, some of which include Vietnamese Mennonite Church, Church for the Needy, Love Truth Chinese, and Abundant Life Chinese Mennonite Church. Since 2010, Tuyen is assisting to develop Mennonite churches, leaders and children’s ministries in Vietnam.
Thalalthoti was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India and moved to the United States several years ago. Thalalthoti pastors the Penn Bible Fellowship in Hatfield, PA. He serves as president of Peace Proclamation Ministries International, Inc, also in Hatfield. Thalalthoti is a mission associate for Mennonite Mission Network in Elkhart, IN.
Sheldon Swatzky will moderate the evening. Swatzky served with the former Commission on Overseas Mission in Taiwan from 1965-1997, first in voluntary service, then as career workers in evangelism, church planting, and teaching ministries. From 1997 to 2009, he served as Director for East Asia for COM/MBM and Mennonite Mission Network. Following retirement, Swatzky served as General Secretary of The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan from 2010-2012.
In addition to the panel discussion, traditional music was performed. Light refreshments followed the program. Mellinger Mennonite Church is located at 1916 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pa. This evening is free and open to the public.
Asia Celebration was one of several events leading up to Mennonite World Conference Assembly, July 21 through 26, 2015, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. It was produced in collaboration with Mennonite World Conference and the Brethren in Christ Historical Society.
The Anabaptists of Africa were celebrated by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society in preparation for Mennonite World Conference Assembly this summer in Harrisburg. This event on Monday, May 4, beginning at 7 p.m. at Manor Brethren in Christ Church, showcased Mennonites and Brethren in Christ communities in Africa through a panel discussion, music, and food.
Rolando Santiago, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society director, says, “This will be a time when we can celebrate the history of a sample of African Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches and the culture in which they are embedded.”
The evening will feature five panelists with deep connections to African Anabaptism: Nelson Okanya, Phil Thuma, Tilahun Beyene, Bukhosi Ndlovu, and Jacob Shenk.
Okanya, currently president of Eastern Mennonite Missions, is a native of Kenya. Prior to starting his presidency, he served as lead pastor at Capital Christian Fellowship in Lanham, Maryland.
Thuma grew up a child of Brethren in Christ missionaries in Zambia and returned there as an adult, working as a doctor and health researcher.
Beyene, of Ethiopia, serves as coordinator for the International Missions Association and works to raise support for the Meserete Kristos Church College.
Ndlovu grew up in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe and joined the Brethren in Christ while attending Mtshabezi Secondary School. He will be joined in sharing the Zimbabwean experience by Shenk, who has worked with the Brethren in Christ churches of Zimbabwe since 1958. He first taught with Brethren in Christ World Missions. Since then he has worked as a pastor, overseer, farm manager, and more.
Mamo Dula moderate dthe evening. Dula was born in Ethiopia and encountered Mennonites when he moved to the eastern part of the country in search of education. He attended the Nazareth Bible Academy, a Mennonite school, and joined the Meserete Kristos Church—the Anabaptist church in Ethiopia. A retired pharmacist, he currently lives in Lancaster, Pa., with his wife Mary Ellen.
The program was interspersed with African music, led by Marcy Hostetler, music director at Lancaster Mennonite School, and her students. The evening ended with light Ethiopian refreshments provided by Hiwet Legeta Mennonite Church.
This event is one of several leading up to Mennonite World Conference Assembly, July 21 through 26, 2015, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. The MWC Africa Celebration was produced in collaboration with Mennonite World Conference and the Brethren in Christ Historical Society.
Latin America Celebration
The rich and vibrant life of Brethren in Christ and Mennonites in South and Central America was displayed with a Latin America Celebration hosted by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. The evening featured a collection of stories, music, and food showcasing the history and life of a sample of countries with Mennonite populations, including Honduras, Colombia, and Guatemala. The Latin America Celebration took place on Monday, February 23, beginning at 7 p.m. at Akron Mennonite Church, Akron, Pa.
Rolando Santiago, Director of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society says, “This will be a time where we can celebrate the history of a sample of the Latin American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches and the culture in which they are embedded.” The evening is one of a series of year-long pre-assembly events leading up to the Mennonite World Conference Assembly on July 21-26, 2015, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
The evening featured four panelists with long standing connections to Latin America: Antonio Ulloa, Hugo Zorilla, Mike Holland, and Linda Witmer. Ulloa is a church revitalization coach with Eastern Mennonite Missions, and has worked through natural church development for over 15 years. Zorilla is a longtime Mennonite Brethren church leader, working as a pastor in Costa Rica, and teaching at a variety of institutions, including Fresno Pacific University and the Latin American Biblical Seminary. Holland has planted Brethren in Christ Churches in Venezuela and Central Pa. He also served with Brethren in Christ World Missions in Grantham, Pa. Witmer has 23 years of international experience, serving under both Mennonite Central Committee and Easter Mennonite Missions with the K’eckchi’ Maya in Guatemala.
Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, moderator of Mennonite Church USA and faculty member at Lancaster Theological Seminary, who grew up among the Puerto Rican Mennonite churches, facilitated the evening.
Following the panel discussion there was music by an ensemble from Roca de Salvación Mennonite congregation in Lancaster. This musical ensemble played contemporary Christian folk music exemplary of the songs of Honduran Mennonites.
The evening ended with a sampling of Latin American desserts, provided by the New Holland Spanish Mennonite Church—Jesucristo es el Señor.