MennoMedia responds to news of sexual misconduct

HARRISONBURG, Va. — MennoMedia has recently learned that John Rempel’s ministerial credentials have been terminated by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada after an investigation into multiple complaints of ministerial sexual misconduct that stem from Rempel’s time serving as chaplain, residence director, and adjunct professor at Conrad Grebel University College from 1973 until 1989.

“We are taking this termination of credentials very seriously and we grieve with those who have been harmed,” said Amy Gingerich, MennoMedia publisher and executive director. “Over the years, Rempel has been involved on various writing and editorial teams for MennoMedia publications. We will work with Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada to study the publications in which Rempel has been involved, and we will seek outside expertise and discernment as we wrestle with the complicated questions this revocation of credentials raises.”

“In Scripture we repeatedly see God standing with survivors, and MennoMedia stands with survivors at this time,” said Gingerich. “We know that Rempel’s work has been used as authoritative across the denominations, and we know that many, including us at MennoMedia, are grappling with how to respond.”

Earlier this year, a team of writers developed “Show Strength: How to Respond When Worship Materials Are Implicated in Abuse.” That resource was developed to help individuals and communities of faith respond when it is discovered that beloved songs and prayers were written by a person who has perpetrated sexual violence.

However, the resource was created with solo-authored songs and worship resources in mind. All of Rempel’s writing and editing published by MennoMedia was done as part of a collaborative team.

“Even as we point congregations to the ‘Show Strength’ resource, we are aware of its limitations and original intentions around solo-authored works. We must now think through how to offer up additional guidance for congregations around works developed collaboratively,” said Gingerich.

John Rempel had no direct role in making any final decisions about the contents of Voices Together. Any contributions he made as a drafter or reviewer (one among many), as a translator, or through other sources went through an extensive process of independent committee review and revision.

At the same time, it is difficult to assess Rempel’s indirect influence through previous collaborative publications including Hymnal: A Worship Book and the Minister’s Manual, among other sources. Voices Together is in continuity with previous Mennonite publications and the historical and ecumenical Christian tradition, while also representing a new generation of worship resources with new leadership. It is necessary to carefully examine how all aspects of worship, including this new generation of resources, can better support survivors and shape communities that oppose violence in all forms.

Herald Press, MC USA, and MC Canada partner for Common Read

Mennonites to read together over the next year

HARRISONBURG, Va. — The global pandemic has created faith formation challenges for churches. With isolation, digital issues, and Zoom fatigue setting in, Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), Mennonite Church Canada, and Herald Press are partnering to encourage Mennonites to engage in a “Common Read,” a shared reading experience focused on specific books written to nurture Christian faith in this cultural moment.

Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses by Stephanie Lobdell is the Common Read book chosen for September. Whether it’s the demise of a relationship, career plans, or our image of ourselves: we all experience losses. Lobdell leads readers to the power of the resurrection to heal daily hurts.

In Signs of Life, Lobdell shares stories of her own depression, loss of confidence, and disillusionment with the church. “My ordinary losses are probably no bigger than yours, and are maybe even smaller,” says Lobdell. “My ordinary losses are just that: ordi­nary and plain, maybe even dull. But they are real. And their smallness does not negate their power or their importance in shaping me. Such ordinary losses in your life—and maybe some extraordinary ones—have likely wounded and shaped you.”

The Common Read for Signs of Life kicks off with a Zoom event on Sept 3 at noon EST with the author, Stephanie Lobdell. Registration for the event is open here. Books are available on the MennoMedia website or by calling 1-800-245-7894. Purchases of four or more copies will receive a 30% discount.

“In a time of social reckoning and spiritual need, reading these books together can provide the spiritual space in which the Spirit can nurture and guide us,” said Shana Peachey Boshart, MC USA denominational minister for Faith Formation. “Plus, a common read is ideal for online or in-person congregational study, adult Sunday school and small group discussion.”

The MC USA Common Read continues in January with I Am Not Your Enemy: Stories to Transform a Divided World by Michael T. McRay and April with Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids by Natalie Frisk. Each new Common Read session will launch with a Zoom event with the author.

Free downloadable study guides are available for every Common Read book on the Herald Press website. To schedule an interview with Stephanie Lobdell, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

New book tells the Everence story of stewardship and mutual aid

‘Where the People Go’ by John D. Roth now available from Herald Press

GOSHEN, Indiana – Coinciding with the Everence® 75th anniversary, Herald Press is releasing a new book about the organization’s storied history. The book release marks the beginning of a year-long observance of how the Everence community has put faith into action for three quarters of a century.

Written by historian John D. Roth, Ph.D., Where the People Go tells the story of Anabaptist-Mennonite efforts to enable and empower communal forms of mutual aid, stewardship and generosity – deeply embedded values in the Christian Anabaptist faith tradition – as expressed in the emergence and growth in Everence as an organization.

Originally known as Mennonite Mutual Aid, the organization began in 1945, founded on the principle of sharing within a growing Mennonite denomination. The organization quickly grew, shifting its focus from mutual aid to stewardship and generosity, symbolized by a growing emphasis on socially responsible investment programs, holistic health and comprehensive financial services. Over the course of its history, leaders balanced spiritual commitments with an increasingly complex regulatory environment, national changes to health care, shifting sensibilities of customers and members, and organizational complexities of a multifaceted company.

Roth, who researched and gathered information for the book from the extensive Everence archives and interviews, brings the dynamic Everence story to life. The author and editor of several books, Roth also serves as Professor of History at Goshen College, director of the Mennonite Historical Library, and editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review.

Available in both paperback and e-book formats, Where the People Go may be purchased from Herald Press and other booksellers.

Everence will formally kick off its 75th anniversary observance with a virtual event on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 3 p.m. (EDT). More information about the anniversary and Everence is available at everence.com/75years.


About Herald Press

The trade book imprint of MennoMedia, an agency of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, Herald Press is a Christian publisher known for transformative books on reconciliation, community, discipleship, mission, spirituality, theology, and Amish and Mennonite life and faith. To learn more, visit heraldpress.com or call 800-245-7894.

 

About Everence

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of professionals. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call 800-348-7468.

Securities offered through ProEquities Inc., a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA and SIPC. Investments and other products are not NCUA or otherwise federally insured, may involve loss of principal and have no credit union guarantee.

Products and services offered through Everence Trust Company and other Everence entities are independent of and are not guaranteed or endorsed by ProEquities, Inc., or its affiliates.

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For more information:
Madalyn Metzger

Everence Vice President of Marketing
madalyn.metzger@everence.com

800-348-7468 ext. 3437