This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Growing up Mennonite, discovering Anabaptism

The sensible thing to do in a first blog post is to tell you a bit about myself and convince you that I’ll be writing things worth reading. And to do it succinctly.

I grew up in a rural Mennonite church in Lancaster County, Pa. When I was 12 my family moved to Goshen, Ind., where I continued being a Mennonite, but in quite a different context. This change in context had a big impact on me as a young person. It taught me about connecting with people with different views and at the same time building relationships around based on shared values. I look forward to sharing more about how these themes have shaped my life.

After graduating from Goshen College I moved to London, England, in 2004 to work with the London Mennonite Centre, the Anabaptist Network and other Anabaptist minded organizations. In the UK I discovered Anabaptism as a movement unencumbered by the soup of institutional acronyms I grew up with.

Identifying as an Anabaptist is about a set of core convictions rather than membership of a specific church. I hope to use this space to share more about this growing movement. To that end I’ve begun compiling a series of interviews with members of the Root and Branch Network which I plan to publish here.

After returning from London last summer and getting married, my wife Charletta and I began attending Living Water Community Church, an urban Mennonite congregation made up mostly of folks who didn’t grow up Mennonite. As in England, I’ve enjoyed conversations with folks drawn to Anabaptism who find concepts like community, discipleship and peacemaking exciting and fresh. As Charletta and I discover more about our new church and our community I’ll write about it here.

Finally, I’ve been involved with Christian Peacemaker Teams since 1998 and a member since 2003. I spent three months in Colombia in 2005 and I plan to return there for a month in January 2008.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, watch this space. And while you’re at it, feel free to suggest a name for this new venture. Preferably one with a clever acronym.

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