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"Mennonite Life" returns from the dead in online form

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Once again, Mennonite Life has risen from the dead.

Since 1946, when Bethel College began publishing the journal, Mennonite Life has been devoted to exploring and developing Mennonite experience. Its intended audience is scholars and academics as well as a wider literate readership interested in Mennonite matters.

From 1946-99, Mennonite Life was published in paper form. Starting with the March 2000 issue, it became a free, online-only journal. Over the decades of its existence, Mennonite Life has undergone many transitions in leadership, delivery format and frequency of publication. Some transitions, including the most recent one, have been “near-death experiences,” said Mark Jantzen, Bethel associate professor of history.

Since the decision to suspend publication of Mennonite Life with the Fall 2008 issue, Brad Born, Bethel College vice president for academic affairs, and a diverse group of faculty have held wide-ranging discussions about the journal’s future.

“We finally decided to continue with the online version,” said Jantzen, “but to move to an annual issue format and to engage a broader circle of faculty and staff as an editorial and advisory council in order to solicit content from a wider network of contacts. We will also be more intentional about including student writing and essay material available on campus and from other venues. We are especially pleased that the work of the annual ‘Mennonite Bibliography’ can continue in Mennonite Life.”

Jantzen chaired the editorial committee for the issue that has now gone live on Bethel’s website. Other committee members were Nathan Bartel, assistant professor of literary studies; Rachel Epp Buller, adjunct assistant professor of art; Rachel Pannabecker, director of Kauffman Museum; Barbara Thiesen, co-director of libraries and compiler of the “Mennonite Bibliography”; and John D. Thiesen, archivist and co-director of libraries, who will also serve as Mennonite Life book review editor. Technical support is being provided by staff from Bethel’s Office of Institutional Communications.

The Summer 2010 issue of Mennonite Life can be accessed at www.bethelks.edu/mennonitelife/index.php. Included in the issue is, among other items, the complete text of James Stayer’s 2008 Menno Simons Lectures on early Anabaptism; a Bethel Faculty Seminar lecture on the genetics of peacemaking by A. Wayne Wiens; a lecture given at Kauffman Museum in spring 2010 by Calvin Redekop on the fate of Paraguay’s indigenous populations in contact with two other dominant societies and cultures; and an examination by 2010 Bethel history graduate Victoria Janzen of Kansans’ involvement with the anti-war Peace Ribbon Project in the 1980s.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges profiled in Colleges of Distinction 2009-10. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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