Historic Events and Highlights at Nashville 2001
Nashville 2001 was full of historic moments. In addition
to these moments, numerous events were planned by the Historical
Committee a special dinner, seminars and storytelling sessions.
Historical Committee Dinner
Speakers for the Historical Committee dinner were John A. Lapp
and I. P. Asheervadam Lapp is the coordinator of the Global Mennonite
History Project (GMHP), and Asheervadam is the writer for the
volume on India. Asheervadam is professor of Church History at
the Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College, Shamshabad, India.
The goal of the project is to publish five volumes, one for
each continent. It is hoped that two volumes will be ready for
the fourteenth Mennonite World Conference to be held Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe in 2003.
Unlike previous histories, this project will focus on the
church rather than the missionary experience. The writers will
be free to critique earlier histories written by North American
and European historians. The GMHP will be based on new research,
including oral sources, which in traditional historiography have
been undervalued or ignored.
Asheervadams goal is to tell the story of India from
the point of view of the disenfranchisedthe lowest of the
cast members. Jaimie Prieto, of San Jose, Costa Rica, also wants
to tell the story of the church in Latin America from the point
of view of people on the marginswomen, children and non-leaders.
Prieto, whose volume is one of the first two scheduled for publication
has already collected 450 interviews.
The Historical Committee sponsored two seminars, 1) Drinking
Anabaptist Tea and Other Tales of Integration, and 2) Gathering
at the Hearth: Stories That Tell Us Who We Are.
Both seminars were well attended. The first seminar, the director
sketched numerous events that drew the two denominations together,
including serving with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and
in Civilian Public Service (CPS), studying at Associated Mennonite
Biblical Seminary (AMBS), and membership in dually-affiliated
congregations. The seminar also included reflections of numerous
people, who were impacted by experiences that created a readiness
to become one new church. In the second seminar Lawrence Hart
and John Ruth told stories that were moving and provocative.
Stories on the Schleitheim Stage
The director was scheduled to tell stories, primarily from the
book, Gathering at the Hearth, to adults and children.
Reflections on the Journey
After the momentous vote on the Plan of Merger (GC96%,
MC95%) sages John A. Lapp and Robert Kreider reflected
on the journey togetherboth as denominations and as persons.
They gave thanks for Gods leading. They gave words of affirmation
for what has already happened, and they noted challenges that
Mennonite Historical Bulletin, July 2001