Historical Committee



 Menno Simons Commemorative Fraktur  A Teaching Tool | About Fraktur Art | More on Menno Simons | Order | Back to Resources

 

 This beautiful four-color fraktur poster is 18 x 15 inches
and ready for framing. $25 plus $3 for shipping and postage
(Add .50 per additional copy).

To order by e-mail, click here.

Commissioned by the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church, this beautiful four-color fraktur commemorates the birth of Menno Simons 500 years ago. Accomplished fraktur artist Roma J. Ruth, Harleysville, Pa., has created this memento featuring Menno's life and ministry. The text was chosen by John L. Ruth, historian, writer, filmmaker and storyteller.

Prominently featured is a 1552 quotation from Menno on Jesus Christ as the "Prince of Peace," who calls us to "speak peace . . . and walk in the way of peace." The border contains Menno's favorite scripture--"No other foundation can be laid than the one which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:11)--in four languages: Dutch, German, English and Spanish

 A Teaching Tool

Use this as an occasion to plan a Sunday morning service on the theme of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, for whom Menno Simons and thousands of others were willing to risk their lives. The story of Menno can be told as an illustration of a faithful follower of Jesus and as a committed shepherd of God's people. The fraktur can serve as a visual aid teaching tool.

About Fraktur Art

Fraktur is a form of German calligraphic folk art that flourished among early schoolteachers in Pennsylvania communities. Living in the Mennonite community and congregation of Christopher Dock, one of fraktur's best-known practitioners, Roma J.
Ruth has interwoven several quotations from Menno's writings with an inscription from the monument to him at Witmarsum in Friesland. Modifying the traditional fraktur style are sketches of the church of Menno's first priestly charge at Pingjum and the "cottage" near Lubeck in northern Germany where his books were printed in his last years.

Having created nearly 250 citations, certificates, rewards and posters in fraktur style for over two decades, artist Roma J. Ruth has generally held close to actual surviving models from the rich Mennonite traditions of Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania.
For this fraktur she has incorporated as well a bar-motif from an example of Mennonite calligraphy from Prussia.

This commemorative fraktur is a spiritual reminder linking the 16th-century beginnings of Anabaptism via a Mennonite folk tradition of the eighteenth century with present-day needs for spiritual identity and inspiration. The keynote of the main quotation from Menno's writings is his Christian vision of peace -- a concern that has followed Mennonites around the globe.

More on Menno

Born in 1496 at Pingjum in Friesland, just north of the Province of Holland, Menno, son of Simon was ordained a priest, probably in the Norbertine Order at Utrecht, in 1524 at the age of 28.

To his dismay, an inner questioning of his understanding of faith led him to search the Scriptures, and to conclude that they called for voluntary adult baptism for those who would follow Christ. He chose to be baptized upon confession of faith in 1536.

Fanatic and violent excesses of early Anabaptists led him to the deep conviction that Christians must relinquish all use of force. At the plea of Anabaptists in northern
Netherlands he gave up his priestly status to serve as an unpaid shepherd of a persecuted fellowship. After a quarter century of strenuous preaching and writing, he died a natural death in his adopted home northeast of Hamburg, in present-day Germany, in 1561.