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New issue of Mennonite Life now available online

July 18th, 2022

Percent area for High Plains drought by Karen Reimer

The annual issue of Bethel’s journal Mennonite Life is now live for 2022 with articles remembering Keith Sprunger and Lawrence Hart, reflections on museum collecting, craft, and more.

The current issue of the online-only journal can be viewed at

“Heritage” is part of the theme of this year’s issue, with remembrances of Keith Sprunger, Bethel College emeritus professor of history, who died April 24, and Lawrence Hart, Mennonite pastor and Principal Peace Chief of the Northern Cheyenne, who died March 6, along with an article on Kauffman Museum’s 125 years of collecting.

Raylene Hinz-Penner, whose long friendship with Lawrence and Betty Hart began 20 years ago when she wrote a biography of Chief Hart, Searching for Sacred Ground (Pandora Press, 2007), describes being at Hart’s funeral in Clinton, Okla., and the probably irreplaceable role he played in both the church and the Cheyenne community.

Several former students of Keith Sprunger – Sondra Bandy Koontz, Dale Schrag, Rachel Waltner Goossen, Valerie Schrag and Darrel Knoll – share their memories and appreciation of Sprunger, who taught at Bethel College for 38 years.

The roots of Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum are in a one-room Museum of Natural History and American relics established in late 1896-early 1897.

A special exhibit at the current Kauffman Museum, named ca. 1941 when Charles Kauffman of Marion, S.D., donated his personal museum to the college, now marks “125 years of collecting.”

Lead curator for the special exhibit, Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, and museum director emeritus Rachel Pannabecker reflect on what the museum, its evolution over the years and its collections have meant and still mean to the campus and community.

The fourth major article is by Karen Reimer, a conceptual artist from Chicago, writing about her practice of craft – in her case, embroidery, quilting and stitchery – and its meaning in terms of social commentary.

The 2022 issue also has reviews of eight recent books, comprising a seminary professor’s study of the Bible on sexualized violence; a spirituality of antiracism; detective fiction with a Mennonite protagonist; an unsparing look at Christian complicity with the Doctrine of Discovery; a Midwestern memoir; the story of a modern-day Mennonite martyr; a deep history of a Pennsylvania Mennonite farm; and a book of “Mennonite cocktails.”

A section of “Book Notes” briefly mentions seven others, also including, fiction, poetry, humor, memoir and a book on Indonesian Mennonites that coincides with this summer’s Mennonite World Conference gathering in Salatiga and Semarang, Indonesia.

Finally, the issue mentions four upcoming conferences.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #15 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see

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Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.