What is the essence of Anabaptism?

March 30, 2017

What is the essence of Anabaptism?

New book by Palmer Becker helps explain beliefs of Mennonites and more

HARRISONBURG, Va.—What makes Anabaptism different from other Christian traditions? According to author Palmer Becker, it can be explained by three words: Jesus. Community. Reconciliation.

In the new resource Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith (Herald Press, March 2017), Becker introduces readers to the key convictions and practices of Anabaptism. Becker is also the author of the small volume, What Is an Anabaptist Christian? now published in 20 languages.

Author Malcolm Gladwell, in his Revisionist History podcast, says of Becker’s three key words, “It’s hard to explain to an outsider how seriously the Mennonites take these three things: Jesus, community, and reconciliation.”

Publishers Weekly calls it “an easy, engaging read for those who want to learn, or be reminded of, what Christianity is all about,” adding that the section on conflict “should be assigned reading for every Christian for its clear-eyed assessment of conflict and effective nonviolent strategies for engaging and transforming it.”

In Anabaptist Essentials, Becker explains the core beliefs of Anabaptism and clearly lays out the differences that define the tradition. Becker explains, “In this book I unapologetically describe ten ways in which Anabaptist Christians are uniquely different from many, or even most, Christians. Anabaptists have often downplayed differences with other believers and highlighted similarities.” While seeking common ground is a good impulse, Becker says, “this quest for unity has also muted many of the unique qualities and strengths that the Anabaptist tradition might offer to the wider church.”

Designed for study by small groups and for use as a basic resource for Christian formation and conversation, the guide includes illustrations and discussion questions. Spanish and French editions of Anabaptist Essentials are planned for release in June 2017.

Becker is a speaker, pastor, church planter, missionary, author, and educator. A graduate of Goshen College, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Regent College, and Fuller Theological Seminary, Becker most recently served as director of the Hesston College pastoral ministries program, before moving to Ontario in semi-retirement.

To schedule an interview with Palmer Becker, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

To purchase Anabaptist Essentials, check here or call 800-245-7894.

MennoMedia Staff
High-resolution photos available

Follow Jesus by embracing upside-down values

News Release
February 3, 2017

Follow Jesus by embracing upside-down values
Six-part series explores living out a countercultural faith          

HARRISONBURG, Va.—It is easy for Christians to lose touch with God in the routine of everyday life. Herald Press has created Upside-Down Living, a six-part Bible study series that engages participants with questions about how to live out one’s Christian faith in ways that seem upside down in today’s culture. All are to be released in the first half of 2017.

The first two texts, each with six sessions, will be released February 7: Sabbath, by Anita Amstutz, discusses different perspectives on Sabbath and the benefits of practicing it in our fast-paced lives. Technology, by Becca J. R. Lachman, explores how to use technology responsibly in today’s changing world.

The next two studies in the series will be published April 4. Money uses biblical Jubilee economic practices to look at how we can use our money to further God’s kingdom. Identity and Aging explores how to age well and faithfully between different stages of life, as well as the changes in identity that accompany them. These studies are written by Leonard M. Dow and Eleanor Snyder, respectively.

The final two studies in the series will come out June 6: Violence discusses how to be peacekeepers in a violent world and is written by J. Fred Kauffman. Sharing Faith Stories, by April Yamasaki, helps readers learn how to use their own stories to share their faith.

Intended for small group Bible studies or adult Sunday school classes—and especially for busy Christians who may not feel they have time to study for a lesson—the series strives to explore modern, relevant themes with whomever shows up on a given Sunday.

According to Mary Ann Weber, managing editor of Upside-Down Living, a goal of the series was to “create practical studies that will challenge and inspire people to live their faith on a daily basis.” Topics were selected because “they are matters people regularly face,” said Weber. “We hope that by addressing them, people will be compelled to dig into Scripture to see how it connects with our lives today.”

The chapters are short and include visuals and easy-to-understand language. Each session uses Scripture references to address a specific theme within the topic of the study and discusses its connection to current life using anecdotes, analogies, and discussion of today’s culture. The guides include a discussion questions that invite readers to discuss or journal about their thoughts and to apply the lesson to their own lives.

The books in the Upside-Down Living series are available from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894, the MennoMedia webstore at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources.

MennoMedia Intern Luisa Miller
High resolution photo available

For sample copies or questions:
Contact LeAnn Hamby
Marketing Manager
Herald Press
(540) 908-3941 LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

 

 

Beloved Amish and Mennonite Quilts coloring book launched

October 6, 2016
News release9781513801520

Herald Press releases first art coloring book for adults

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Herald Press is moving into the devotional coloring book market with its first entry into the field, Beloved Amish and Mennonite Quilts.

The coloring book includes more than 40 designs based on popular Mennonite and Amish quilts through history and across the United States and Canada. These include Baskets, Pinwheel, Center Diamond, Rail Fence, Log Cabin, Garden Maze, Jacob’s Ladder, and other popular designs. Short descriptions of the history or traditions surrounding each quilt design are included, along with loosely related Scripture verses for further inspiration.

Journal space offers readers a chance to write prayers or reflections while they color. The pages are perforated so artists can easily tear-out pages from the coloring book to give to someone, to frame, or both.

Barbara H. Cline, a master quilter, teacher, and designer from Dayton, Virginia, wrote a preface for the book, “Notes from a Mennonite Quilter,” and illustrator Rebecca Solow created the coloring pages.

Adult coloring books intended for Christian audiences focus on the act of coloring and help persons slow down, meditate, relax, pray, and breathe more slowly. Editorial director Amy Gingerich said, “We wanted to offer those looking for inspiring coloring books a rich collection of quilts in the Amish and Mennonite tradition.”

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Monkey Wrench or Snail Trails is just one of over 40 quilts to color in the Beloved Amish & Mennonite Quilts coloring book. At left, Snail Trails design as depicted in the coloring book.

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A second coloring book titled Amish Prayers: A Coloring Book will be released in early 2017. Featuring Fraktur, a Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, Amish Prayers will include coloring pages designed by artist Lynn Sommer and prayers excerpted from a prayer book used by Amish households across the centuries.

Beloved Amish and Mennonite Quilts is available for $12.99 USD from Herald Press at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores.

—MennoMedia staff; High-resolution book photo available.

For more information on news release
Melodie Davis
News manager – MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@MennoMedia.org