Plain Mennonite reveals her life as Anything but Simple

News release

July 12, 2017
Plain Mennonite reveals her life as Anything but Simple
Educator offers first-hand account in new memoir

HARRISONBURG, Va.—What is it really like to be a single, plain Mennonite woman in today’s society? It may seem like the simple life, but Lucinda J. Miller would tell you it is more complicated than it looks. The young schoolteacher gives a first-hand account of her “Plain” life in a new memoir Anything but Simple: My Life as a Mennonite (Herald Press, July 25 2017).

Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering, like her grandmother, and she knows a lot about cooking and making do with what you’ve got. But she uses a cellphone and posts status updates on Facebook. Miller details her struggle between the two worlds, plain and modern, with honesty, revealing a world few outsiders will ever see.

“If not a completely simple world, ours is at least a safe one,” Miller says. “It is only when I step outside my safe Mennonite world and into larger American culture that life gets screwy and confusing.”

With a saucy tongue and a roving curiosity about the world, Miller details her rich church tradition, lively family life, inner struggles, and longings for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith. The book includes “A Day in the Life of the Author” and “FAQ about the Amish and Mennonites”.

“In a charming, folksy style, Lucinda Miller strips away the layers of gloss that have been applied to conservative Mennonites and Amish in unrealistic romance novels and paints an accurate word picture of real Mennonite life,” says author Romaine Stauffer.

Lorilee Craker, New York Times bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish writes, “Lucinda J. Miller is the kind of writer readers dream of: engaging, literary, and openhearted.”

Anything but Simple is book 5 in the Herald Press Plainspoken series, launched in light of Amish novels and television shows which offer their own accounts of Amish and Mennonite life. Some of these messages are sensitive and accurate, but many are flat-out wrong. Through Plainspoken, readers can learn what Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite life looks and feels like—from the inside out.

Lucinda J. Miller is a writer, teacher, blogger, and member of a conservative Mennonite community in Wisconsin. She teaches elementary school at the Sheldon Mennonite Church, and her writing has appeared in Daughters of Promise and Red Cedar Literary Journal. Her children’s book, The Arrowhead, is forthcoming from Christian Light Publications. Connect with her at www.lucindajmiller.com.

To schedule an interview with Lucinda Miller, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org. To watch a video of Lucinda telling about writing this book, check: https://youtu.be/-QOky2ln074

To order the book, find it online at various retailers, your local bookstore, and at the Herald Press store or by calling 800-245-7894.

 

Three books in four new translated versions/Tres libros presentan cuatro nuevas traducciones

Notice: News release is in English and Spanish. Spanish included below.

June 21, 2017 – News Release

Three books in four new translated versions

Anabaptist Essentials, The Forgotten Ways, and Love in a Time of Hate published

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Herald Press published four new translations in June 2017. Two of these translated volumes are in Spanish, one is in French, and one is in English (from German).

Grants from the Schowalter Foundation and other donors made possible the translation of Palmer Becker’s newest book, Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith (published January 2017), into Spanish: La esencia del anabautismo: Diez rasgos de una fe cristiana singular, and French: L’essentiel anabaptiste: Dix signes d’une foi chretienne unique. The books were translated by Cristina Horst and Aletha Stahl, respectively.

Becker’s pamphlet What Is an Anabaptist Christian? was published by Mennonite Mission Network in 2008 and has been translated to 20 languages, with more than 25,000 copies in print. Becker’s new book, Anabaptist Essentials, is an expansion of this popular pamphlet. The book and its translations offer a succinct summary of core Anabaptist faith commitments and include diagrams and discussion questions.

 

“French and Spanish were chosen for the first translations of this new volume in order to have the book available in the three primary languages of Mennonite World Conference,” said Russ Eanes, executive director of MennoMedia and Herald Press. The Spanish and French versions will be available at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, Florida, in July.

In addition, Eanes, who handles foreign rights for Herald Press titles, arranged for the second edition of Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements (Brazos Press, 2016) to be translated from English to Spanish, with Marvin Lorenzana serving as translator. The Spanish version is called Caminos olvidados: Reactivando los movimientos apostolicos.

Finally, Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and André Trocmé and the Village That Said No to the Nazis is a translation of a book by German journalist Hanna Schott first published in Germany by Neufeld Verlag in 2012. Telling the story of Le Chambon, a village that sheltered thousands of Jews during World War II, this volume was translated into English by John D. Roth and includes historical photographs.

All of these titles are available from MennoMedia at various prices from 800-245-7894 or at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources.

MennoMedia

Junio 21, 2017 – Comunicado de prensa

Tres libros presentan cuatro nuevas traducciones
Publicaciones: La esencia del anabautismo, Caminos olvidados, y Love in a Time of Hate

HARRISONBURG, Virginia. —Herald Press ha publicado cuatro nuevas traducciones de sus publicaciones en junio de 2017. Dos de estas versiones traducidas están en español, una en francés, y una en inglés (traducida del alemán).

Subvenciones de la fundación Schowalter y de otros donantes hicieron posible la traducción del libro más nuevo de Palmer Becker denominado, Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith (publicado en enero de 2017), al español y se titula: La esencia del anabautismo: Diez rasgos de una fe cristiana singular; y al francés, denominándose, L’essentiel anabaptiste: Dix signes d’une foi chretienne unique. Estos libros fueron traducidos por Christina Horst y Aletha Stahl, respectivamente.

El panfleto de Becker denominado “¿Qué es un cristiano anabautista?” fue publicado por la Red Menonita de Misión en 2008 y ha sido traducido a 20 idiomas con más de 25 mil copias impresas. El nuevo libro de Becker, La esencia del anabautismo, es una ampliación de este panfleto popular. El libro y sus traducciones presentan un resumen conciso de los compromisos esenciales de la fe anabautista e incluye diagramas y preguntas para el diálogo.

“Se eligió el francés y español para las primeras traducciones de este volumen para que estas publicaciones estén disponibles en los tres idiomas principales de Congreso Mundial Menonita,” dijo Russ Eanes, director ejecutivo de MennoMedia y Herald Press. Las versiones en español y francés van a estar disponibles en la convención de la Iglesia Menonita de EE. UU. que se llevará a cabo en Orlando, Florida, en Julio.

Además, Eanes, quien está a cargo de los derechos internacionales de las publicaciones de Herald Press, ha organizado la traducción de la segunda edición del libro de Alan Hirsch titulada The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements (Brazos Press, 2016) del inglés al español el cual va a ser traducido por Marvin Lorenzana. La versión en español se titula Caminos olvidados: Reactivando los movimientos apostólicos.

Finalmente, la obra Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocmé and the Village That Said No to the Nazis es la traducción de un libro en alemán escrito por una periodista alemana Hanna Schott y fue publicada por primera vez en Alemania por Neufeld Verlag en 2012. El libro cuenta la historia de Le Chambon, una aldea que acogió a miles de judíos durante la segunda guerra mundial, este volumen fue traducido al inglés por John D. Roth e incluye fotografías históricas.

Todas estas obras están disponibles en MennoMedia con distintos precios, también llamando al 800-245-7894, y en www.HeraldPress.com y otras tiendas en internet.

MennoMedia

 

 

Landmark history traces Mennonite women’s groups for the last hundred years

June 14, 2017 – News Release and Author Interview

“For the good of the world”—A century of service
Landmark history traces Mennonite women’s groups for the last hundred years

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Mennonite women’s groups have a long and colorful history. Circles of Sisterhood by Anita Hooley Yoder tells the story of Mennonite women’s groups for the past century.

The book will be released at a book launch and author signing at the Mennonite Women USA 100 year celebration during the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando, Florida, on July 5, 2017.

The 51st volume in the Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History series, Circles of Sisterhood traces the movement of Mennonite women’s groups from the sewing circles of the early 20th century to today.

“Anita Hooley Yoder puts to rest any lingering question as to whether there has been a Mennonite women’s movement,” said Lee Snyder, president emeritus of Bluffton University. “The answer is yes.”

The book, subtitled A History of Mission, Service, and Fellowship in Mennonite Women’s Organizations, contains 12 chapters and is broken into three parts. Part 1 describes the beginning of Mennonite women’s groups in the early 1900s in both the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church. Part 2 goes into more depth about the evolution of Mennonite women’s groups, including increasing diversity and how the groups were affected by the denominational merger. Part 3 discusses Mennonite women’s groups today, including specific groups active presently.

Women of Science Ridge Mennonite Church

“This landmark history, carefully researched and clearly written, tells the story of the courageous and gifted visionaries who brought about a transformation in the role of women in the Mennonite church,” said John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen College. “For anyone trying to make sense of the complex fault lines among Mennonites today . . . this book offers an illuminating window into the slow and sometimes painful process of transformative change.”

Throughout the chapters are photographs of relevant groups and events. The book includes “interludes” between chapters, which discuss in more depth issues that come up in the chapters, such as ways these women’s groups have combatted stereotypes and their relationship to the feminist movement. The book also includes an index, a timeline of important dates, and a list of abbreviations and short descriptions of relevant organizations.

“Women’s groups weren’t just important because they developed women for leadership elsewhere,” Hooley Yoder said. “The work they do is important in itself, for the women involved and for the world, and it’s critical that we not see church women’s groups only as a step to something that is somehow bigger and better.”

The book discusses frequently the “dual purpose” of Mennonite women’s groups—service and fellowship.

“Mennonite women need each other!” said Reta Halteman Finger, author of Creating a Scene in Corinth and former editor of Daughters of Sarah. “Anita Hooley Yoder has traced our history from the early 1900s to the present, from sewing circles at which a male pastor had to open in prayer to Mennonite Women USA, Sister Care, and other current groups where women meet for service and spiritual support.”

Hooley Yoder said that choosing which stories to include was one of the most difficult parts of the project. “I tried to stay focused on stories that were related to Mennonite women’s groups,” she said. “I was particularly inclined to include stories that could serve as examples of themes I was developing. But I also tried to include stories that I found compelling, funny, or moving — ones I kept thinking about long after interviews.”

Hooley Yoder is tentatively hopeful for women’s groups in the future. “There are huge challenges in today’s society for any sort of communal or religious activity,” she said. “But I hope people can keep finding ways to be together—with each other and with God—for the good of themselves and the good of the world.”

Circles of Sisterhood is available for purchase from MennoMedia for $24.99 (paperback), $19.99 (ebook), and $37.99 (hardcover) from 800-245-7894, the MennoMedia webstore at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. It is available from Mennonite Women USA at 866-866-2872 and https://mennonitewomenusa.org/shop/. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877-846-1593), Parasource (800-263-2664), and elsewhere.

—Luisa Miller, MennoMedia intern

MennoMedia

Author interview—Anita Hooley Yoder, Circles of Sisterhood

Anita Hooley Yoder is the author of Circles of Sisterhood, published June 27, 2017, by Herald Press. She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary and Goshen College and has written for multiple publications, including the Center for Mennonite Writing Journal and The Mennonite. She lives with her husband in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

What piqued your interest in this project? How were you approached to write this book?

My aunt, who has been very involved in Mennonite women’s groups, saw Mennonite Women USA’s call for a writer and thought I might be interested. I was an English (and education) major in college and had just completed a master of divinity degree, so this project was a great chance to use my interests and skills in writing as well as in theology and ministry endeavors.

Your research for this book included countless hours of interviews and combing through documents. What was your process? In other words, how did you approach your research and its incorporation into the book?

Since this was the first time I’ve done something like this, I would approach it a bit differently next time—namely, more methodically! I started by reading previous books and articles about Mennonite women’s organizations. Then I focused on interviewing people who had been leaders in women’s organizations, especially those I could interview in person when I traveled to do research in Mennonite archives (in Goshen, Indiana, and Newton, Kansas). It sometimes felt like a whirlwind, moving back and forth between interviews and time in the archives, and it was a challenge to manage my time well. I also did many phone interviews. Thankfully, some extra grant money allowed me to travel to interview people in less Mennonite-heavy areas (Florida, Mississippi).

As I started writing, I realized that I needed to know more about general Mennonite history, women’s organizations in other denominations, and even American history in general. So I had to do some background reading in resources that had a broader scope. Gerald Mast, editor for the Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History series, helped a lot by pointing me to some of these resources and suggesting where and how to incorporate them into my manuscript.

Circles of Sisterhood includes many photographs of people and events discussed in the book, among other things. Where did you find these photos?

Most of the more recent photos come from Rhoda Keener [previous director of Mennonite Women USA and now director of Sister Care]. She had so many helpful resources for this project! Other photos come from various archives; Marlene Bogard [current MW USA director] helped a lot with tracking these down. Sometimes women I interviewed gave me photos to use, such as Maria Tijerina’s photos of the Hispanic women’s conferences.

What did you learn in the research and interview process that you didn’t expect to learn?

I was surprised how many of the early women leaders in the broader denominations had their first leadership experiences in women’s organizations (locally or nationally). I didn’t realize how essential women’s groups have been to the development of Mennonite women’s leadership gifts. At the same time, I realized that women’s groups weren’t just important because they developed women for leadership elsewhere. The work they do is important in itself, for the women involved and for the world, and it’s critical that we not see church women’s groups only as a step to something that is somehow bigger and better.

You mention in the acknowledgments that you interviewed about a hundred women and a few men for this project, in addition to your other research. How did you decide which stories and organizations to include?

This was one of the hardest parts! I tried to stay focused on stories that were related to Mennonite women’s groups, although I heard all kinds of other interesting stories from people. I was particularly inclined to include stories that could serve as examples of themes I was developing. But I also tried to include stories that I found compelling, funny, or moving—ones I kept thinking about long after the interview.

Circles of Sisterhood tells stories about women’s groups from the early 20th century to today. How do you hope readers, especially women, will respond to these stories in their own lives?

I hope this book can be read academically and almost devotionally. That is, I see it as a resource for scholars and people seeking to learn more about a historical and social phenomenon. But I hope women who have participated in these groups or even just been around them can be encouraged in their faith and in their own personal journeys as they read. I hope the stories of struggle and perseverance and earnest service in this book can encourage readers to keep serving and sharing, to keep seeking places to develop their faith and relationships with others, whether or not that’s in a traditional church women’s group.

Do you have a vision for women’s groups moving forward? What do you hope to see them accomplish in the future? What challenges do you anticipate?

I’ve certainly developed an appreciation for the work of Mennonite Women USA from doing this project, but I don’t know that I have a particular vision for church women’s groups. That’s probably a better question for Marlene, Rhoda, and others who are very involved at the regional and local levels. I guess my vision is more for the denomination and the Christian church as a whole, that women and men would find what they need, meeting separately, meeting together, honoring the presence of God and the value of each person’s story. There are huge challenges in today’s society for any sort of communal or religious activity. But I hope people can keep finding ways to be together—with each other and with God—for the good of themselves and the good of the world.