Dispatches from the Anabaptist Ecosystem (2/19/19)

Dispatches from the Anabaptist Ecosystem (2/19/19) February 19, 2019

Here’s a roundup of some stories that caught my attention from various Mennonite outlets over the past few weeks. If there’s any I should include in a future dispatch, let me know in the comments.

1. Militant Mennonites

Over at Canadian Mennonite, Karl Koop writes about an aspect of Mennonite life that many Mennonites would like to ignore: pro-war Mennonites. Koop writes,

To be sure, there has always been a nonresistant or pacifist thread running through the Mennonite story. Throughout the centuries, one can find countless examples of strong opposition to warfare. Mennonite confessional statements have almost, without exception, maintained principles of nonresistance or pacifism. Yet Mennonite lived-experience has not always mirrored churchly ideals, and sometimes Mennonites have behaved in ways that many modern-day observers would find abhorrent. When brought to the surface, these details can be troubling and can lead to questions about Mennonite identity and the way in which the Mennonite story has been told.

Read more at Called to bleed and die for the sake of the nation.

2. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) helps parents avoid deportation

At The Mennonite Tina Schrag tells the story of a Texas family granted residency after a threat of deportation. Help came from the Mennonite Central Committee, who connected the family to the National Immigrant Justice Center. According to the article,

Tammy Alexander, senior legislative associate for domestic affairs for the MCC U.S. Washington Office, welcomed the outcome for Quiñones and Sanchez but noted that most families in similar situations do not have such a fortunate outcome. “Thousands of parents of young children like Irma and Oscar, many of whom have been in the U.S since they were children themselves, and most with no option to legalize their status, are being torn away from their families by detention and deportation,” she says. “More advocacy is needed to push for humane and sensible immigration laws.”

Read more at Parents who faced deportation granted permanent residency.

3. Amish education in Mexico

Over at Anabaptist Historians, Rebecca Janzen writes of her surprise at discovering Amish school teachers in Mexico:

Many different aid groups have worked in Mennonite colonies (groupings of villages) in Mexico, most notably MCC. One of the most surprising groups to find there, at least from my perspective, were Amish people. I first came across this cultural exchange when I began researching Mennonites in Mexico. Many people would ask me if I knew any Amish people, because I lived in Ohio, and Amish people lived in Ohio. I didn’t and would say so.

Mennonite people usually encounter Amish people as teachers. . . . Still other Amish people, namely the Beachy Amish, are involved in aid work with Mennonites in the Southern Mexican state of Campeche and in other countries.

Read more at How much to change: Amish teachers in Mexico.

4. A cup of hot coffee in Jesus’s name

At Mennonite World Review, Tim Huber writes of Amish Mennonites in Hutchinson, Kansas, who opened “Coffee Corner” to provide a warm drink and pastries to homeless guests:

“The need was here, and it was evident it was time to do something,” said Heidi Mast, whose family attends Center Amish Mennonite Church in rural Hutchinson. “We spent some time praying about it and doing some research and connecting with other organizations in town to make sure that we weren’t duplicating a service.”

Their solution was to use an empty property owned by Lois’ husband and Heidi’s father, Marvin Mast, who owns Golden Rule Property Management. The commercial building just a few blocks from downtown was between tenants and had been empty for several months.

Since Jan. 3 it has been known as the Coffee Corner — a place to warm up and talk to someone friendly.

 Read more at Kansas ministry offers warmth to homeless community.

About David C. Cramer
David C. Cramer is teaching pastor at Keller Park Church in South Bend, Indiana, and managing editor at the Institute of Mennonite Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. You can read more about the author here.
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