Stories of Peace Archive

What It’s Really Like to Be in the Military

January 13, 2017 Thirdway

Our peace story this month is from Evan Knappenberger, a young man who tells his own story of how and why he joined up with the military upon graduation from high school, and what he encountered in that life. This nine-minute video will speak more powerfully than just words. Also see the notes below about it’s production. Shared by permission of Evan Knappenberger and Charlottesville (Va.) Center for Peace and Justice and Veterans for Peace. We also appreciate the alternatives they point to for serving one’s country in other ways. Evan finished his degree at Eastern Mennonite University and has taken classes […]

Welcome Your Neighbor signs spread across the country

December 12, 2016 Thirdway

By Hannah Heinzekehr               Photo: The original Welcome Your Neighbor sign in the yard of Immanuel Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Photo provided.  Almost a year ago, Matthew Bucher was watching a presidential primary debate and lamenting the language candidates were using to refer to recent immigrants to the United States. Bucher is pastor at Immanuel Mennonite Fellowship in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The church is located in northeast Harrisonburg, in a neighborhood that is rapidly diversifying and includes people who speak many languages, most prominent among them English, Spanish and Arabic. As he thought about ways […]

The Journey of a Feather

November 17, 2016 Thirdway

The Journey of a Feather Among many aboriginal people the eagle feather communicates respect, humility, courage and wisdom.  Several years ago I received an eagle feather as a sign of appreciation for my ministry at the prison in Saskatoon.  I was honoured but troubled because the feather did not feel like it belonged to me.  I brought my concerns to Harry Lafond (Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Executive Director at the Office of the Treaty Commissioner).  Harry received me graciously and heard my story.  He then explained, “You are the carrier of the feather.   One day you will meet the […]

When Mennonites were harassed for their beliefs

September 30, 2016 Third Way

By Burton Buller World War I proved a watershed era for Mennonites for two reasons. One, Secretary of War Newton Baker’s requirement that all conscientious objectors report to military camps where they were “encouraged” to enlist caused many Mennonites to put on the military uniform, mostly to serve as non-combatants but frequently as full military inductees. Doing so distanced these young men from the historic teachings of the church forbidding military service. Two, the Mennonite communities themselves came under attack, ramping up the rate of acculturation to unprecedented levels. From the time of their arrival in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683, […]

Loving the enemy

July 15, 2016 Thirdway

By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen In a land that closely resembles the place Jesus lived more than 2,000 years ago, his words still prove true. The people of Sidi, Burkina Faso, plant their fields with the tools and methods described in the New Testament. They draw water from wells, and feed their families with crops they harvest. Some of them live by Jesus’ teaching, recorded in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” In the planting season of June 2015, members of the Mennonite Church in Sidi discerned that God was calling them to renounce the time-honored […]

How Restorative Justice Changes Lives

June 3, 2016 Thirdway

(If you received this via email on June 3 without a proper way to link to read this, our sincere apologies. This is being resent on June 4, 2016.) Stories of Peacemaking By James Souder Motorbike traffic zooms past a hardware store stationed along a busy road in Ouagadougou, where 23-year-old Joel Saaga spends his days selling household construction supplies. Saaga is grateful to have this job. While finding work in the capital city is difficult for any young adult, finding work can be nearly impossible for a young man, such as Saaga, who has spent time in prison. (His […]

Former German Army officer leaves legacy of Christian pacifism

April 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Amy Duekman, Canadian Mennonite correspondent in British Columbia. Siegfried Wilhelm Bartel was born in Prussia, now Poland, into a successful Mennonite farming family. Pacifism had ceased to become important to the Prussian Mennonites, and Bartel voluntarily enlisted in the German army in 1937, before the start of the Second World War. He moved up the ranks quickly. During the war, he was wounded twice and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. Bartel died recently at the age of 101; later in his life he would become an ardent advocate for peace and an influential Mennonite figure in Canada. […]

Pacifist and combat veteran together at footwashing basin

March 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Mia Kivlighan, EMU  Darin Busé, a United Methodist pastor, came to Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a distinct plan: in his studies, he would “seek healing so that I could learn to heal healers.” The pain and wounds he sought to heal are deep and old and shared by many who have seen war: Darin is a combat veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Army three weeks before his 19th birthday. He worked as a psychological operations specialist in several major combat operations, including Honduras, Panama and in Iraq during the First Gulf War. “I have confronted evil face to face,” […]

How One Church Faced a Gun Threat

February 11, 2016 Third Way

By Chuck McKnight Pastor Larry Wright was leading a New Year’s Eve prayer service in a downtown Fayetteville, N.C., church when a man entered the building armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle. We know how these stories end. People die. Loved ones grieve. Social media becomes outraged. And then nothing changes. We wait for the story to repeat. But this time, the story went a bit differently. The man walked in with his gun in one hand and an ammo clip in the other. Pastor Wright says he was unsure whether the man had a round chambered in the rifle. […]

From war survivor/refugee to Mennonite administrator

October 2, 2015 Thirdway

From war survivor/refugee to Mennonite administrator By Bonnie Price Lofton In her wildest dreams as a middle-class person in Yugoslavia, Amela Puljek-Shank never thought she would be in a war. Never thought she would be a penniless, hungry refugee. Never thought she would be married to an American. She crossed each of these thresholds, one at a time, before she turned 30. At last she came to Eastern Mennonite University where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees to prepare herself for returning to her home region to work for peace and justice. Randy Puljek-Shank came from Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  After high […]