No Strings Attached: Boundary Lines In Pleasant Places: A History Of Warren Street / Pleasant Oaks Mennonite Church
Publish Date: 2013-04-30
Author: Rachel Nafziger Hartzler
No Strings Attached is the story of a Mennonite congregation in Indiana that existed for eighty-six years. The congregation began during the social and religious turmoil of the 1920s when some Mennonites in North America held to rigid doctrines and ethics implemented by central authority, and others operated with a congregational polity and became more assimilated into secular culture. The struggle between these two different understandings of faithfulness was most passionately played out in northern Indiana. Placing the narrative of this congregation within the context of 500 years of Mennonite history illustrates the grace and the tension that has both beset and empowered a unique group of people who began as radical reformers. Although no strings attached refers to the women's headwear during the 1920s, which had no strings, it could also be the story of the pastor eating lunch on the peak of the steep roof of the church building! Reflecting on stories of these Mennonite people is an invitation to move into the future with courageous hope. Believing and behaving differently has not prevented Middlebury Mennonites from treating each other respectfully, living in a community of love, joy, and peace, and offering God's healing and hope to each other and to the world.