Building resource connections

From Our Leaders

June 19, 2019 | Opinion | Volume 23 Issue 13
Arlyn Friesen Epp |
CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities. We are grateful for the many connections we have with you, and the wealth of resources and the Anabaptist Christian tradition we help to inspire. 

What’s on your summer reading list? 

We have again compiled a short list of biography, poetry, spirituality and other inspirational titles to take with you to the beach, hammock or front porch. 

Here are several written by friends of CommonWord:

- Light and Shadow by Tamara Franz. A poetic celebration of beauty found in all of life’s experiences.
Four Gifts by April Yamasaki. Self-care for the heart, soul, mind and body.
- The Pastor-Congregation Duet by Gary Harder. The music—and dance—of the pastor-congregation relationship. 
- Living Our Prayer by Betty Enns. A Mennonite Central Committee adventure in Lesotho.
- Re-Encounters by Judith Rempel Smucker. The exploration of a word.
- Rise and Shine by Mary Derksen. Forty-five years of church mission in Japan.
- A Nourished Spirit by Sue Clemmer Steiner. Reflections of thanksgiving.
- Jump into the Story by Ray Friesen. The art of creative preaching.
- Enduring Art, Active Faith by Robert Proudfoot. An anthology from three familial generations. 
- Peaceful at Heart edited by Don Neufeld and Steve Thomas. Reflections on healthy masculinity.

These and others on our 11th annual summer reading list, to buy, borrow or access online, can be found at


Let’s read a common title together! Imagine a “book club” across all of MC Canada (and MC U.S.A.). We are partnering with Herald Press to make Meghan Larissa Good’s new book, The Bible Unwrapped, available for small-group study at a discounted price. We are also posting a free download guide, book reviews and additional resources at And we’ll welcome receiving your group’s feedback!

We think this is a wonderful title with which to begin this initiative. Drawing from the best of contemporary biblical scholarship and the ancient well of Christian tradition, Good demonstrates why the Bible matters and how it can be understood by people today. Please join us in a #CommonRead!

MennoMedia-CommonWord partnership

All Herald Press titles are available for sale at CommonWord (often below Amazon’s price) and are also available to borrow. We encourage pastors, librarians, small group leaders and all interested readers to shop for Herald Press books at Recent titles reflect current social themes from an Anabaptist faith perspective: the opioid crisis, immigration, artificial intelligence. Other titles speak of the end times, or how we find God in the Old Testament. As part of our partnership, MennoMedia has established a new Canadian website——for congregations to order their Sunday school curriculum and periodicals in Canadian dollars.  

Arlyn Friesen Epp is the director of CommonWord.

Read more From Our Leaders columns:
Church relations on so many different levels
A conversation with a Buddhist
Walking together
Experiencing God’s love affair with the world
Whose are we?

Further reading:
CommonWord shares books by the dozen
Spring 2019 List of Books & Resources
Bible commentary geared for younger readers

CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

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