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.
Uncle Denver S. Yoder, Sr., passed away after 88 years of life and was buried in a traditional Mennonite manner at the Calvary Bible Fellowship, Mt. Perry, Ohio, June 16, 2015. Denver was married to Emma for years, with 11 children, 64 grandchildren, and 136 great-grandchildren. The family gathered around and filled in the grave with dirt, shoveling by hand. Relatives who wanted to help were invited to participate. Denver S. Yoder, Sr., was a godly man and lived a good life.
A middle level adjudicatory body met at the Big Spring Mennonite Church, March 9, 2015. The Northern District Council, consisting of around 25 representatives from about a dozen churches in the Virginia Mennonite Conference, welcomed a new congregation, heard overseers reports, and listened to a mission worker present new ideas for church growth.
The Historian found a Mennonite meetinghouse on Mutton Hollow Road, Greene County, Virginia, on a recent forray off the Skyline Drive. Established as a mission station by the Middle District of the Virginia Mennonite Conference in the early 20th century, the church today, Mt. Hermon Mennonite, is a part of the Southeastern Mennonite Conference.
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.
It was a pleasure to stay with a Bluffton University host family at an 1852 farm house located on a Nature Reserve connected with the Ohio school. The historic house was built by the earliest Swiss Mennonite settlers to the west-central Ohio community. The historian saw geese, deer tracks, and signs of abundant wildlife, perhaps much like the way it was when the Mennonites migrated to the region decades ago.
An Eastern Mennonite High School exchange student from Paraguay read Psalm 23 in German from Simon L. Yoder’s German-English Bible, March, 2014. Beachy Amish Minister Simon L. Yoder, the Historian’s grandfather, lived 1902-1993, and the German Bible was given to Simon’s grandson. The student was enrolled in the Historian’s Global Christianity class.
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.
The Information Superhighway has changed schools. In the 1970s high schools had books, magazines, and traditional libraries. Today students can access a world of resources on computers in their classrooms. The Kennel Charles Church History desk (right), with Martyrs Mirror on the top shelf, hosts a state-of-the-art computer that brings information to the student in the history teacher’s classroom at Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
New bridge over Linville Creek replaces 1898 wrought iron truss bridge that many Broadway, Virginia, residents, including Mennonites, used in early 20th century, a photo by MennoniteArchivesofVirginia on Flickr.
Mennonites in the Northern District of Virginia Mennonite Conference often used this old iron bridge to head west towards mission stations in the West Virginia highlands. Today a modern bridge over the steady Linville Creek reduces the 1898 bridge to a foot and bike path. The old bridge in Broadway, Virginia, is on the National Register of Historic Places in Virginia.