Join us in recording Anabaptist life in today’s changing world. Historical, biological, and social realities have made 2020 an exceptional year. Anabaptist History Today invites you to share your stories as you live in these times (para español, haga clic aquí).

As someone who identifies as Anabaptist, you might focus on how the novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted your life or the life of your congregation. You might reflect on engaging the Black Lives Matter movement’s call for racial justice. You might share art responding to everyday moments or global conversations. You might share how your faith and practices help you through the day, or maybe how they don’t.

Sixteen Anabaptist history organizations are working together to invite, preserve, and share your stories. This effort builds community, educates today, and will become part of the historical record for the future.

Anabaptist History Today thanks the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University for its support.

What Should I Share?

Click here for more information about what to contribute and accepted file formats.

Recent Submissions

  • A COVID Christmas Party

    On Thursday afternoon, December 17, Mennonite Church USA Executive Board staff - from 9 different states - gathered for a virtual Christmas party. Activities included a Christmas crown contest (with gold, frankincense, and myrrh themes), a guided painting activity with Kelly Frey Martin, and pre-distributed snacks.
  • Merry Covid Christmas, God! A Chaplain's Lament

    I am a hospital staff chaplain. Last Monday (12/7) we had a very difficult day when four patients on the ICU with Covid-19 were removed from their ventilators and died minutes later. Just a couple family members of each patient were allowed to come see their loved one (per hospital protocol) before they were removed from the vents. This was the worse day yet for our nurses and other colleagues on the ICU since the pandemic started. This lament was the result of one: an assignment for a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education that I am currently taking in which I read it to the class on Thursday and they loved it. And two: the deaths on the ICU that Monday and the experience I had in a local store the next. And I suppose a response so far to the pandemic through my eyes as a hospital chaplain who is trying to serve.
  • "Creating space for God"

    On Saturday, November 21, Assembly Mennonite Church pastors Anna Yoder Schlabach and Lora Nafziger, along with the Worship and Christian Formation committees, organized an outdoor Tabernacle experience for church youth and their families. The event took place in the meetinghouse parking lot and included self-led, physically distanced activities such as a life-sized model of the Tabernacle, tours from the High Priest, and Exodus-related crafts. The same afternoon a physically distanced and masked choir met in the parking lot to record hymns for virtual worship the next day. The event capped a 6-week Exodus Bible study.
  • The Drama of a Rural Community's Life Cycle

    Rural communities depend on the health of the agrarian cultures that compose them. These cultures grow out of the symbiotic relationship between a particular landscape and the human community that lives on and uses the land. Agrarian cultures had their origin in the development of agriculture and gave birth to the civilizations and empires of history. Based on the exercise of hierarchical power characteristic of their nature, empires and civilizations are always a threat to the welfare of their agrarian cultures, that by nature tend to be local, relational, reciprocal, and ecological. This is the story of the three Anabaptist agrarian cultures--Swiss German, Low German, and Hutterian--of the Freeman, South Dakota, rural community, and their sojourn within the empires of civilization through the centuries. More specifically, this is the story of their birth, growth, maturation, and death (or rebirth?) in the particular landscape of the Great Plains to which they came from Russia in the 1870s. Here we see the agrarian cultures' struggle to adapt to the new environment of the Great Plains and to maintain their unique identity while living within American society. This is the drama of a rural community's life cycle!
  • Virtual Community

    Even though we were small in numbers, because some were either hesitant to join in or did not have technological access, those who did meet often left feeling connected and affirmed.
  • Only essential items available for in person shopping in Manitoba

    Manitoba instituted new health regulations dictating that stores could only sell essential items to encourage people to stay home and therefore reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many stores had to close and stores that sold essentials and non-essentials had to remove non-essentials from in person shopping. This store had signs explaining the new regulations. It used pallets of essential merchandize to block access to non-essentials as well as caution tape and clear wrap. Women’s sandals were off limits, but winter boots were available. Christmas decorations, sleep wear, and luggage etc had to be bought online only.
  • No flowers to brighten the day

    The grocery store’s Christmas music was interrupted by a voice reminding shoppers to wear a mask, sanitize hands, and to keep 2 meters apart. The pubic announcement is part of the store’s attempt to abide by new health regulations making stores responsible to ensure health rules are followed. The announcement closed with reminding shoppers that “we are in this together.” This week only stores selling essentials were allowed to remain open, but if non-essentials were sold, they needed to be out of reach of in-person shoppers. At this grocery store all the flowers and plants were removed.
  • Second COVID wave hard on small businesses

    When the second wave of COVID hit health measures became increasingly restrictive. Businesses, especially small businesses were significantly affected. The small corner convenience store near my house that had been there 18+ years abruptly closed and moved out.
  • COVID-19 Grant Awardee

    On November 2, 2020, the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University announced Anabaptist History Today as one of 17 COVID-19 Grant awardees. The award provides critical funding for projects that contribute to advancing history in the public interest in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
  • Mennonite Educational Institute Screaming Eagles Virtual Performance of "O Canada"

    The MEI Screaming Eagles Marching Band directed by Chad Joiner has annually taken part in the Yarrow Days Parade held in June. However, during the COVID-19 school closures in the spring of 2020, the Screaming Eagles embarked on creating a virtual O – Canada performance to celebrate with their friends in Yarrow.
  • Window Visits During COVID-19

    For me and my family , COVID-19 has become very real. Writing this short story about my father’s experience has reconfirmed for me how crucial daily communication and face-to-face dialogue with family and friends eases the isolation, loneliness, and confusion that so many seniors face.
  • One Congregation's Response to Code Orange

    This is one church's response to code orange... Intentional, Caring, Thought Out, and Respectful. Dear Church Family, In response to surging Covid-19 numbers in Manitoba and in attempt to help the health system be able to provide care to all in the province, the Manitoba Government has mandated some additional restrictions, effective Monday November 2. We as a congregation are choosing to comply with the guidelines for two very important reasons: It is our Christian calling to obey our governments unless they are asking us to do something that is contrary to God’s will or Biblical teaching (Romans 13); none of the government mandates (wearing masks, distancing, smaller group sizes) violate God’s teachings; in fact, we could argue they affirm the Biblical call to care for the most vulnerable and to put the needs of others ahead of our own It is our Christian calling to love our neighbours and we believe that observing the restrictions placed on us is a powerful demonstration of this essential commandment. We recognize that not all congregations in our community are following what the government has mandated (eg. most churches in Winkler have been singing for weeks and some don’t social distance). We’ve chosen not to do what the majority is doing or to see how much we can get away with; instead we’ve chosen a path of greatest potential community benefit and care. Our decisions are in no way a sign that we don’t trust God to care for us (as some people suggest); our decisions indicate our deep love for all in our society and a recognition that God invites us to make wise, informed choices. Like Jesus in the wilderness (read Matthew 4:5-7), we don’t believe it is right to unnecessarily “put God to the test”, simply to satisfy some of our personal desires or discomforts. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for our community (and to comply with Government Code Orange mandates), we are choosing to make the following changes, effective Monday November 2. With all of you we are longing for the time when we can resume many of the things we used to do. We believe being careful now is the best path to that possibility. Sunday Morning Worship Will continue to be offered In-Person and Online but we will now only be able to welcome a maximum of 75 attenders to our in-person services All those attending will be required to pre-register for the service(s) they plan to attend; we will not be able to admit walk-ups Persons attending will be required to wear masks when entering, exiting or moving around within the building; masks are encouraged but optional when you are seated in a physically distant way. As in our schools, children grade 4 and younger are exempt from mask use. We will limit numbers on the stage to 5 or less. All other practices (careful entry and exit; physically distanced seating, etc.) will continue. In Person GPS will not be offered during the time that we are in Code Orange Wednesday Morning Coffee in the Foyer will not be offered during the time that we are in Code Orange A Last Word – There is nothing about Covid-19 that is predictable; things are changing rapidly. We realize that things may change again, as soon as next week or perhaps a few weeks down the road, and that there really won’t be a last word till a vaccine is created and effective. However, this is our plan for now while we’re in Code Orange. Please continue to pray for the church leadership as we make decisions and please, let’s remain united in Christ even if we don’t all interpret all decisions in the same way. We are all seeking to be faithful and “to be an inviting, Christ-centred community in which people are being transformed to live like Jesus.” On behalf of Church Council Executive and Staff (and in consultation with medical professionals)
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