GOSHEN, IND. – A Bethel College student has tied for first place in the 2009 John Horsch Mennonite History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee.
“Fragile Bonds and Global Brotherhood: The Ninth Mennonite World Conference in Curitiba, Brazil” by Meredith Lehman, senior from Bluffton, Ohio, tied for first in the college and university category with “Identity in the Midst of Instability: An Analysis of the Oppositional Relationship Between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Meserete Kristos Church in the 1960s-1980s” by Goshen (Ind.) College student Lydette Assefa.
Goshen College student Matt Harms, Ephrata, Pa., placed second in the college and university category with “Short-Term Work for Long-Term Change: An Early History of SWAP, DOOR and Group Venture.” Harms is the grandson of Paul and Shirley Harms of North Newton.
Excerpts from Lehman’s and Assefa’s papers will be published in the October issue of Mennonite Historical Bulletin, the Historical Committee’s quarterly magazine.
Lehman’s paper was for an assignment in Bethel Associate Professor of History Mark Jantzen’s Contemporary Mennonite Conflicts class. She turned the paper into a successful summer research grant proposal and will present her findings in more complete form, as her senior history seminar, later this school year.
In the graduate school and seminary category, Joshua Weaver of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., had the winning entry with “Idolatry, Baptism and the Theology of Pilgram Marpeck.” Bethel College graduate Brett Klingenberg, Whitewater, currently a student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va., was second with “The Theology and Visibility of Economic Reform in Martin Luther and Menno Simons.”
“The Way They Chose: The Creation of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church” by Benjamin Paulding, a home-schooled student from York Springs, Pa., won the high school category. Second place went to “A Mennonite Response to Domestic Violence: Why Past Reactions Must Lead to Present and Future Actions” by Tonya Wagner, while “Mennonite Persecution in Russia during the Early 1900s” by Ellen Wiens was third. Both are students at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Nineteen students entered this year’s contest. Judges were Rachel Waltner Goossen, Topeka, Kan., Jean Kilheffer Hess, Lancaster, Pa., and Gerlof Homan, Normal, Ill.