And If I Don’t: Reimagining the Single Life. April Klassen. Schleitheim Press, Kelowna, B.C., 2021, 130 pages.
With frankness and honesty, the author explores what it means to be single in today’s culture, and what the Bible has to say about marriage. Although she values marriage, Klassen suggests that it is not necessarily in the cards for everyone.
Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality. Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Tobin Miller Shearer. Herald Press, 2021, 204 pages.
Racism is pervasive in our society, say the authors who have worked on anti-racism in Mennonite circles for many years. They reflect on what they have learned over the years and encourage readers to reflect on their own spirituality and racial attitudes.
A Church Dismantled—A Kingdom Restored: Why Is God Taking Apart the Church?
Ministry in a Church Dismantled: To Tear Down or Build Up?
In a Church Dismantled, the Light Still Shines: Reflections in Sacred Time.
In a Church Dismantled, One Pilgrim’s Journey: Finding My Way Home in the Dark. Conrad L. Kanagy. Masthof Press, 2021.
This series of four books by a Mennonite pastor and sociologist grew out of 240 podcasts broadcast during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using many touching personal stories, Kanagy reflects on the state of the Mennonite church and believes God is at work in the church today. More information at achurchdismantled.com.
Fight Like Jesus: How Jesus Waged Peace Throughout Holy Week. Jason Porterfield. Herald Press, 2022, 216 pages.
Using the stories of Jesus during Holy Week, Porterfield interprets these passages in light of Jesus’ commitment to peace, saying Christians have often misunderstood Jesus’ words. The book provides discussion questions for each of the eight chapters, making it useful for Bible study during Lent or any time.
On Love and Mercy: A Social Justice Devotional. Stephen Mattson. Herald Press, 2021, 300 pages.
This book offers 60 short devotionals relating to social justice. Each one has a scripture passage, a reflection, meditation and prayer, and is designed for daily use. They could also be used in a group setting. It is available in hardcover or as an ebook.
To Be Made Well: An Invitation to Wholeness, Healing, and Hope. Amy Julia Becker. Herald Press, 2022, 208 pages.
Using the stories of Jesus’ ministry and her own experiences, the author reflects on what it means to be healed. Suggesting that there is an important connection between body, soul and spirit, she speaks with compassion to those who struggle with pain and negative emotions.
The Blistering Morning Mist: A Memoir. Kathleen Weaver Kurtz. Resource Publications (Wipf and Stock), 2021, 230 pages.
This memoir provides lots of detail of what it was like to grow up in the Mennonite church in Virginia in the 1950s and ’60s. Kurtz also explores the challenges of her life and the blossoming of her self-confidence as she has taken on new roles in the church.
Death as Life’s Work: Waterloo Region Undertakers and Funeral Businesses Illustrated Histories 1850 to 2020. Marion Roes. Self-published, 2021, 535 pages.
Using interviews, historical records and more than 500 photos, Roes has put together a detailed history of all the undertakers and funeral businesses of Waterloo Region, Ont. The most detail is given to the Dreisinger Funeral Home, which was owned by Roes’s family for over 100 years.
Guiding Diverse Flocks: Tales of a Rural Mennonite Pastor. Ernie Hildebrand. Privately published with FriesenPress, 2021, 216 pages.
This memoir begins on a farm on the Prairies in the 1940s. After beginning as a farmer, Hildebrand moved to a career in church ministry and later returned to farming. The book is available in hardcover, paperback or Kindle editions.
Looking at Life. Mary Groh. Privately published, 2022, 236 pages.
To celebrate her 90th birthday, Mary Groh put together this autobiography and reflection on her life experiences, presenting a portrait of Mennonite life in the latter 20th century. Born and raised in Toronto, she now lives in Kitchener, Ont. Copies are available by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Menno’s Descendants in Quebec: The Mission Activity of Four Anabaptist Groups 1956-2021. Richard Lougheed. Pandora Press, 2022, 255 pages.
Lougheed, who teaches Protestant church history in Montreal, provides a comprehensive history of Mennonites in Quebec. The groups include Mennonite Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, Brethren in Christ and Church of God in Christ (Mennonite), also known as Holdeman Mennonites. He provides good insight into the state of the church up to the present.
Mennonite Farmers: A Global History of Place and Sustainability. Royden Loewen. University of Manitoba Press, 2021, 352 pages.
This book examines how Mennonite farmers around the world till the soil in very different ways depending on climate and faith perspectives. It focuses on individual farmers in Canada, Bolivia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States and Zimbabwe. The author is the former Chair of Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
Mennonite Valley Girl: A Wayward Coming of Age. Carla Funk. Greystone Books, 2021, 280 pages.
Carla Funk tells the story of her adolescent years in Vanderhoof, a Low German-speaking community in central B.C. She provides a critique of this traditionalist Mennonite community of the 1980s.
Mennonites and Post-Colonial African Studies. John M. Janzen, Harold F. Miller, John C. Yoder, eds. Routledge, 2021, 298 pages.
This book has a variety of Mennonite academics reflecting on the work of missionaries and Mennonite Central Committee in Africa from the 1960s to the present. Many of the writers use their own experiences in their analyses.
Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Their Friends. Koozma J. Tarasoff. Spirit Wrestlers Publishing, 2022, 460 pages.
This book is a supplement to the 2002 volume of biographies of Doukhobor pioneers, providing 33 more biographies, including scholars and researchers. More information is available at spirit-wrestlers.com/2022.
Benchmark: Countering Covid Through Painting and Poetry. Susan Moore and Mary Reimer. Self-published, 2021, 118 pages.
During the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors regularly sat down together on benches throughout Winnipeg, where they chatted and then sketched and wrote poetry. This collection explores friendship and deep emotions.
The Best of the Bonnet. Andrew Unger. Turnstone Press, 2021, 256 pages.
This collection of short stories is gathered from “The Daily Bonnet,” Andrew Unger’s website of Mennonite satire. Unger is also the author of Once Removed.
The Canada Coat. Louise Bergen Price. Mennonite Museum Society, B.C., 2022.
This historical novel is written for adolescents. The story is based on the true story of the difficult life of the author’s mother, who grew up in Stalinist Russia. This is the first book published by the Mennonite Museum Society.
Disarmed: The Radical Life and Legacy of Michael ‘MJ’ Sharp. Marshall V. King. Herald Press, 2022, 255 pages.
MJ Sharp, a 34-year-old Mennonite peacemaker, was killed while working in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017. In telling the story of Sharp’s life and the context of his death, Marshall King explores the complexities of peacemaking.
Shelterbelts. Jonathan Dyck. Conundrum Press, 240 pages, 2022.
This graphic novel is set in southern Manitoba, where a rural Mennonite community struggles to make sense of how religious traditions fit into today’s world.
To Antoine. E. J. Wiens. Gelassenheit Publications, 2022, 404 pages.
In this historical novel, the narrator is a retired teacher in Canada facing judgment as a war criminal. Erwin Wiens explores some ethical questions about the experience of Mennonites that includes the Stalinist terrors in Russia, the Nazi occupation, refugee years in Germany and settlement in Canada.
Translating Your Past: Finding Meaning in Family Ancestry, Genetic Clues, and Generational Trauma. Michelle Van Loon. Herald Press, 2022, 208 pages.
Using examples from her own life, the author reflects on how individuals are affected by their family’s stories, including dysfunction, trauma and secrets. This is not a resource for finding ancestor stories; rather it offers a way to reflect on the meaning of such stories.
Diversity: God’s Design. Mennonite Church U.S.A. Multimedia study in four sessions of 45 to 60 minutes, 2022.
This four-week curriculum for young adults explores cultural diversity within the church from a biblical perspective and includes video clips of personal experience from different racial, ethnic and gender groups.Free downloads are available at mennoniteusa.org.
A Guide For Responding to Congregational Sexual Harassment and Abuse. David Driedger and Jaymie Friesen. Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba, 2021, 32 pages.
This booklet offers resources for those who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse and also provides guidelines for congregational response. It is available for download at CommonWord.ca.
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 www.commonword.ca or call 204-594-0527 or 1-877-846-1593.