Fall 2021 List of Books & Resources

Barb Draper | Books & Resources Editor
(Photo compilation by Betty Avery)

Theology, Spirituality


The Baby and the Bathwater: Aspiration and Reality in the Life of the Church. Robert J. Suderman. Privately published with Tellwell, 2021, 120 pages.

In this little book, Suderman speaks to concerns about the future of the church. He examines what the church is meant to be, saying we must be careful not to discard what is crucial for Christian life in our attempt to be relevant in today’s world. Illustrations are by Ray Dirks.

Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace. Osheta Moore. Herald Press, 2021, 248 pages.

Osheta Moore writes about racism from her personal perspective, addressing issues of white supremacy with directness and flamboyance but most of all with love. She has a deep desire that anti-racism should follow the teachings of Jesus, leading to peace.

Entertaining Angels Unaware: Welcoming the Immigrant Other. Philip A. Gottschalk. Cascade Books, 2021, 246 pages.

Gottschalk examines current attitudes toward strangers and foreigners, especially in the United States. He writes that the appropriate Christian response to refugees and immigrants is to welcome them.

Germinating Conversations: Stories From a Sustained Rural-Urban Dialogue on Food, Faith, Farming and the Land. Marta Bunnett Wiebe, ed. Published by Canadian Foodgrains Bank, MCC Manitoba, A Rocha and Canadian Mennonite University, 2021, 248 pages.

For several years, food growers and eaters in Manitoba have been sharing stories and listening to each other, exploring relationships between faith, food and farming. The 30 contributors in this book provide a variety of perspectives.

How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace. Melissa Florer-Bixler. Herald Press, 2021, 250 pages.

This book examines the biblical concept of enemies in order to address the question of how to deal with injustice. Florer-Bixler is pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in North Carolina.

Leaving Violence: Sexualized Violence, the Bible and Standing with Survivors. Susannah Larry. Herald Press, 2021, 240 pages.

Written by an assistant professor of biblical studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, these six chapters explore stories of sexualized violence in the Bible and their implications for today. A study guide is available to download from Herald Press.

Let the Light In: Healing From Distorted Images of God. Colin J. McCartney. Herald Press, 2021, 304 pages.

Using easy-to-access language and images, McCartney examines perplexing questions about God and the Bible. If God is love, he asks, why is there so much violence in the Bible? How do we understand things such as suffering, end times and hell? He says we need a Jesus lens rather than a flat Bible.

Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings: A Mother’s Search for Grace. Shari Zook. Herald Press, 2021, 232 pages.

Writing with a touch of humour, but most of all with honesty, Shari Zook acknowledges that she cannot be a supermom, and that life is challenging for young mothers. She invites the reader to join her in accepting God’s grace and to reflect deeply on what that means.

Reawakened: Activate Your Congregation to Spark Lasting Change. Glen Guyton. Herald Press, 2021, 216 pages.

Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church U.S.A., encourages congregational leaders to think about how to reawaken their churches, making them relevant in today’s world. Using specific questions and practical suggestions, he identifies eight characteristics of activated churches.

The Space Between Us: Conversations About Transforming Conflict. Betty Pries. Herald Press, 232 pages.

Betty Pries is experienced in helping congregations and faith-based institutions deal with conflict. She explains why conflict occurs between people and suggests how it can be overcome. The key is to see oneself clearly.

Suffering The Truth: Occasional Sermons and Reflections. Chris K. Huebner. CMU Press, 2020, 124 pages.

This collection of sermons and reflections provides fresh perspectives on yearly celebrations in the Christian calendar. Associate professor of theology and philosophy at Canadian Mennonite University, Huebner writes with vivid imagery and a readable style.

Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking About Faith. Sara Wenger Shenk. Herald Press, 2021, 256 pages.

Shenk, the former presi-dent of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, asks why many Christians today are reluctant to talk about their faith. She explores how the church has come to this point and she has suggestions of how to speak about faith with integrity.




A Cloud of Witnesses: Celebrating Indonesian Mennonites. John D. Roth. Herald Press, 200 pages.

This overview and history of the Mennonite churches in Indonesia is intended as preparation for those travelling to Semarang, Indonesia, for Mennonite World Conference’s assembly in 2022. It also includes some practical travel tips. 

Exile. Waltraut Wiens with Elisabeth Wiens. Privately published with Friesen Press, 2021, 270 pages.

This book is told from the perspective of two Wiens women who fled their homes in West Prussia at the end of the Second World War as the Russian army invaded. After years of tragedy, they rebuilt their lives in Canada and Uruguay.

A Gentle Boldness: Sharing the Peace of Jesus in a Multi-Faith World. David W. Shenk. Herald Press, 2021, 240 pages.

David Shenk is known for his work in promoting peace and understanding between Christians and Muslims. This autobiography describes his childhood days in Africa, his service with Eastern Mennonite Missions, and his joy  in sharing the peace of Christ with other faiths.

Hardship, Resistance, Collaboration: Essays on Dutch Mennonites During World War II and Its Aftermath. Alle G. Hoekema and Gabe G. Hoekema. AMBS Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2021, 216 pages.

This collection of essays, available in English for the first time, explores the different ways that Dutch Mennonites reacted to German occupation during and after the war. This is part of the Occasional Papers series of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Mennonite Brethren Bible College: A History of Competing Visions. Abe J. Dueck. Kindred Productions, 2021, 220 pages.

Mennonite Brethren Bible College was an important part of the Mennonite Brethren conference in Canada, from its beginning in 1944 until it became Concord College in 1992. The close ties between the school and the church did not always run smoothly.

We Would Like You to Design a Better Hand Pump. George Klassen. Privately published, available at Lulu.com, 2020, 110 pages.

While serving with Mennonite Central Committee in the late 1970s, the author designed a hand pump to make irrigation possible in rural Bangladesh. This is the story of how he developed this appropriate technology that was simple and effective, and successfully used by many Bangladeshi farmers.


Other books


Called. Marlena Fiol and Ed O’Connor. JRS Books, 2021, 375 pages.

This book is based on the true story of John and Clara Schmidt, who founded the leprosy medical centre at Km 81 in Paraguay. This interesting story gives a glimpse into the work of MCC and the history of Mennonites in Paraguay. It is available at calledasaga.com.

Cattail Skyline. Joanne Epp. Turnstone Press, 2021, 120 pages.

This is Joanne Epp’s second collection of poetry. Born in Saskatchewan, she spent some years in Ontario and now lives in Winnipeg. These poems are set in a wide variety of locations and draw attention to intricate details and changing seasons.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla. Barbara Nickel. Thistledown Press, 2021, 350 pages.

Although this story is fiction, it explores how Mennonite communities were affected by the Second World War and is told from a pre-teen perspective. Peter, a farm boy in Saskatchewan corresponds with his cousin Ulla, who lives in Danzig. Adults will appreciate the story as well as children.

Every Home Needs an Elephant. Jane Heinrichs. Orca Book Publishers, 2021, 160 pages.

This illustrated chapter book has lots of visuals and is suitable for children learning to read longer books. The characters are quirky and the elephant is loveable in spite of the challenges it brings. Heinrichs is also the author of Magic at the Museum.

Growing a Generous Church: A Year in the Life of Peach Blossom Church. Lori Guenther Reesor, Privately published, 2021, 222 pages.

A healthy and financially sound congregation fosters generosity, writes the author, using a creative non-fiction genre. Her characters discuss a church’s real-life problems and solutions, providing suggestions for congregations to improve their conversations about generosity. Discussion questions are included.

The Land is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery. Sarah Augustine. Herald Press, 2021.

The author is a co-founder of the Anabaptist group Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. She lives in Washington state and is of Pueblo descent. Augustine believes the church has a responsibility to actively work for justice, especially when it comes to the extraction industry that affects Indigenous peoples all around the world. 

Lost on the Prairie. MaryLou Driedger. Heritage House Publishing, 2021, 224 pages.

This novel, set in 1907, is based on a true event for which there are few known details. A young boy is separated from his family while on their big move from Kansas to Saskatchewan. It is designed for younger readers.

Menno-Nightcaps: Cocktails Inspired by that Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers or Mormons. S.L. Klassen. Touchwood Editions, 2021, 176 pages.

With lots of wit and satire, Sherri Klassen of the Drunken Mennonite blog has put together 77 cocktail recipes with amusing connections to Mennonite history, faith and culture.

Not Quite Fine: Mental Health, Faith, and Showing Up for One Another. Carlene Hill Byron, Herald Press, 2021, 206 pages.

This book provides up-to-date information about mental health and the role the church can play in supporting those who suffer. It includes practical suggestions of how to help and how to cope. The writer has long experience with depression and bipolar disorder.




Anabaptist Witness. Recent topics: “Displacement: Indigenous Peoples, Land and Mission,” Jamie Pitts, ed., November 2020, and “Worship and Witness,” Katie Graber, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, eds., April 2021.

This journal focuses on mission studies and is published by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Central Committee Canada and MCC U.S.A. It is available online at CommonWord.ca.

I Am A Mennonite. Paul Plett. Ode Productions, 2021, 59 minutes.

In this documentary, Plett explores the question of what it means to be a Mennonite, not only personally, but also as part of a larger story. He travels around the world and asks many different Mennonites about their experiences.

Laboring Toward Wholeness: A Training on Dismantling Patriarchy. Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Jenny Castro, Erica Littlewolf, Chantelle Todman Moore, Linda Gehman Peachey, Regina Shands Stoltzfus. Mennonite Church U.S.A., 2020.

This curriculum is available to download at mennoniteusa.org. The nine sessions dealing with issues of oppression relating to gender and race are designed to be used by women’s groups. A related webinar on YouTube is also available.

People and Places of Sacred Interior Spaces: Midrashic Monologues and Guided Meditations. Laura C. Funk. Privately published with FriesenPress, 2021, 144 pages.

This book invites the reader to use imaginative situations to explore personal emotions and be guided toward peace and love. It also imagines the thoughts and feelings of biblical characters as they relate to Jesus. The book can be used for individuals or a group.

Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology. “Health, Healing and Hope.” Karl Koop, guest ed. Spring 2021. “Reading the Bible as if our Lives Depend on it.” Fall, 2021.

Writers for the spring issue describe their personal struggles with illness, their experiences as caregivers, and their encounters in pastoral or chaplaincy care. Writers for the fall issue reflect on what it means to read the Bible. The journal is published by Canadian Mennonite University and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Voices Together Curriculum. Anneli Loepp Thiessen. Menno- Media, 25 pages, free download at voicestogetherhymnal.org/resources/.

This five-session intergenerational curriculum introduces the new hymnal, giving information on choices of hymns and the origin of materials.

Voices Together Worship Leader Edition Curriculum. Sarah Kathleen Johnson. MennoMedia, 2020, 17 pages, free download at voicestogetherhymnal.org/resources/.

This four-session adult faith formation curriculum explores themes of worship and how the hymnal can be used in worship.

Expansive Language in Voices Together: Gendered Images of God and Guide to Contemporary Worship Music in Voices Together. Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, 2020, 8 and 7 pages, free download at voicestogetherhymnal.org/resources/.

These resources provide the theological foundations and practical considerations regarding the language for God in the hymnal, and they explore questions about contemporary worship music. 

Many of the featured titles on the book list are available for purchase or to borrow from CommonWord Book Store and Resource Centre in Winnipeg. For more information, see commonword.ca or call 204-594-0527 or 1-877-846-1593.

—Information about the book Called updated on Nov. 23, 2021.

Previous resource lists:
Spring 2021 Book List of Books & Resources
Fall 2020 List of Books & Resources
Spring 2020 List of Books & Resources
Fall 2019 List of Books & Resources

(Photo compilation by Betty Avery)

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