On a cold day in Philadelphia, December 2015, the historian’s family visited Independence Hall and enjoyed stopping in front of George Washington’s statue. With hand on a book, the sculptor captures the importance of our first president for his many accomplishments at a place where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted and signed. In his other hand he holds a sword, symbol of his role as Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary forces. My family and descendants to come in this great land are indebted to you, President Washington.
Pennsylvania 2015 brought together over 7000 Anabaptists from around the world, representing some 80 countries. Worship was inspiring and the speakers spoke of their lives in the global south. The Brethren Choral Sounds Choir from Zimbabwe (pictured) thrilled the audience with their lively and energetic music. Nearly five centuries later, from their early 16h century origins in Switzerland, Mennonites are now a global people speaking many different languages, but testifying to a common faith in God.
In 1725 Heinrich and Anne Funck built a flour mill along Indian Creek, in what is today Telford, Pennsylvania. The old mill remains and is located on Mill Road in Telford, Montgomery County, Pa. Heinrich and Anne raised a large family and one of their grandsons, Joseph Funk, eventually set up a print shop in Singers Glen, Virginia, to print song books and other materials. Heinrich Funck was a force behind getting the Martyrs Mirror printed in German in the New World.
A quote from the Old Testament book of Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty,” appears cast on the side of the famous Philadelphia icon. Located in Independence Mall, the bell stands as a symbol of independent America, which announced its separation from Britain in 1776. The historian waited in line with hundreds of others to see the famous bell in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city where the Yoders arrived in 1742.
The Historian attended a workshop on DACS, an archival content standard for archives and libraries, at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, March, 2014. Traffic on the busy Lincoln Highway rushes past important historic records in the nearby archives that remind one of an earlier era, before tour buses, harried shoppers, and commercialism changed the idyllic Lancaster farmland.
This Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, hosts children from the Amish families in the surrounding community. The outdoor toilets, fences that reveal the boundaries with the fields nearby, and the bell atop the school are indicative of an earlier era of education. The teacher and children come on foot, sled, or sleigh, and are rarely stopped by snow or inclement conditions. Most will finish their education around the 8th grade.
In the late 17th century Amish began migrating from Europe to Philadelphia, PA, and eventually moved west to Lancaster County, PA. From there they migrated west to Ohio and other states. In Lancaster County, the Amish maintain their agricultural way of of life, in spite of rapid urbanization and modernity all around them. They are the fastest growing religious group in North America. This Amish farm is in Smoketown, Lancaster County, PA.