It seems that in any grouping of disparate materials, themes naturally emerge, whether intentional or not. The 2014 issue of Mennonite Life offers several such groupings - some commissioned and some coincidental. A series of pieces, both creative and scholarly, operate around issues of remembrance and reflection. John Thiesen offers reflections on the border crossings of immigrant ancestors, while Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen remembers those involved with the placement and more recent renovation of the Mennonite Settler Statue in Newton, KS. Ami Regier reflects on the rejuvenation of creative writing among her students at Bethel College. The section also features two ministers: the sermons of Robert Hartzler offer Ed Kauffman a way to understand the preacher through retrospective reflection, while Robert Kreider offers a poetic meditation on his faith journey over the course of nine decades.

Mothering Mennonite — edited by Rachel Epp Buller and Kerry FastMothering Mennonite
edited by Rachel Epp Buller and Kerry Fast
Demeter Press

Two sections of essays address conferences from 2013. The MCUSA convention in Phoenix last July prompted a variety of social actions surrounding issues of immigration, border spaces, and inclusion. Francisca Mendez-Harclerode, Joanna Harader, and Ron Adams offer writings based on their conference presentations. In October, Bethel College hosted the Mothering Mennonite symposium, a day-long series of presentations, conversations, and workshops inspired by the publication of a book by the same name. While several of the presentations from that day are published elsewhere, either in Mothering Mennonite or in creative or scholarly journals, we are pleased to include pieces by three of the event’s presenters – Kim Schmidt, Anna Dick Gambucci, and Hannah Heinzekehr.

The legacy of John Howard Yoder has been heavily debated in both popular and scholarly forums, particularly within the past year. In this issue of Mennonite Life, we invite several scholars, both emerging and established, to reflect on why and how they engage with Yoder’s work as they teach students to think critically about theology, social justice, ethics, and peacemaking. Many thanks to Gayle Gerber Koontz, Gerald Mast, Peter Dula, Malinda Berry, and Justin Heinzekehr for their thoughtful and considered reflections, and to the several other scholars who wished to engage the topic but could not, for a variety of reasons.

In the 2014 issue, we celebrate the three winners of the first annual Cornelius Krahn Mennonite Multimedia Contest for High Schoolers. As past readers will be aware, Mennonite Life sometimes published the winning high school essays from the John Horsch Essay Contest. With the termination of that contest in 2012, the Mennonite Life board decided to launch our own contest aimed at high school students. The contest accepts essays, creative writing, multimedia projects, and original works of art or music on topics related to Mennonite or Anabaptist history, identity, and theology. We hope that this annual cash-prize contest will foster continued investigation into these topics by budding scholars and creative thinkers.

As is our tradition, we also include a section reviewing recent publications. This issue contains several spirited book reviews by colleagues near and far, and Barb Thiesen shares her annual bibliographic compilation.

I thank my colleagues for their assistance and dedication over the course of this year. Our inter-collegiate editorial committee has included Christopher Dick (Tabor College), Karen Sheriff LeVan (Hesston College), and several members of the Bethel College faculty and staff: Mark Jantzen, Rachel Pannabecker, Christine Crouse-Dick, John Thiesen, Brad Born, and Melanie Zuercher. Particular thanks go to Jesse Kaufman, Web Developer, for his countless hours of (on-going) work upgrading the Mennonite Life website this spring.

--Rachel Epp Buller, May 2014