Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Trip to Pennsylvania with a Cherry on Top

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Woods Fisher
Who doesn't have it on their bucket list to visit Amish country? It's been on mine for I don't know how long.

Recently, my friend and colleague, Dora Maendel told me that she's been invited to do a presentation at Young Centre for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, I was naturally excited for her.

The event is a two-day Peace Churches Conference, offering a selection of interesting topics, all pertaining to taking a peace stance: 

The peace churches, including the Mennonites, Amish, Brethren, and Hutterites, faced a challenge when the United States entered World War 1 in 1917. After the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church issued separate statements advising their young men not to participate in the war, the U.S. government threatened retaliatory action. This conference offers an exploration of various experiences and responses from members of the peace churches during “the war to end all wars” and some of the consequences that followed.(Conference Brochure)

Together with Duane Stolzfus, the author of Pacifists in Chains, Dora will be presenting “On the Front Line of Conscience: An Account of Four Hutterites Imprisoned at Alcatraz.” The above mentioned title is a well-written book which tells that story in rich and fascinating detail.

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Woods Fisher
When Dora was telling me all this, we were walking the track at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie, where our students are taking swimming lessons. Amish scenes scrolled through my mind: passing an Amish family in their buggy, a marketplace with all kinds of beautiful crafts, rubbing shoulders with Amish people... I was dreaming before I even knew anything at all about that area, or realized that there might even be some Amish people in attendance. In any case, it sounded like an intriguing trip.

My mind returned to the track where Dora went on to explain that her sister and brother-in-law were going to travel with her, but because of a school event, they had to decline. "Would you like to come along, Linda?" Dora asked casually, like she was asking me if I'd like to go to Winnipeg with her. I don't know how I didn't come to a complete stop on the track and squeal. This was such an unexpected and incredible offer! Of course I wanted to go with her - have been wanting to go for years! I told her so eagerly, even though I knew I'd have to get my community's blessing first.

End of May will find me flying to Pennsylvania with my friend, Dora. Since we still have school, this will only be a quick three-day trip. Nonetheless, it's been exciting learning more about this conference and planning the trip together with Dora and the conference organizers. A few weeks ago I learned that Young Center conferences often has authors in attendance; and the organizers plan book signings into the schedule.

In one of my emails to Jeff Bach, Director of the Young Center, I mentioned my book, Hutterite Diaries. Upon learning that I'm an author, he enthusiastically offered to order copies from Herald Press and have me signing books at some point. Someone will be picking Dora and me up the Harrisburg airport in the afternoon of the first day of the conference. That evening is when I'll be signing books, right after the last session of the day. That's like a cherry on top of a waffle cone with New York Cherry Cheese Cake ice cream. Rich and Sweet and Fabulous!

Oh, and one more exciting note, I'll be meeting Valerie Weaver-Zercher, the Herald Press editor I worked with while I was working on Hutterite Diaries. Make that two cherries!

Now, how much can one pack into three days - besides attending the conference?


  1. I'm sure I will, Cynthia. Thanks!

  2. I am so thrilled for you, Linda. What an exciting trip.

  3. It is exciting, Susan, and I'm so looking forward to it!


Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing your thoughts!!