I was surprised to read the recent CDT article relating to one particular group of Mennonites who settled in the Chihuahua region of Mexico in the 1920s.
As a grandson of Mennonites who immigrated from Russia to Canada in the 1920s, the story of this particular migration is not my own.
While the pilgrimage to Mexico was an attempt to protect religious freedoms, to maintain a closed community and practice a particularly rigid pietistic theology, many other Mennonites recognized, in time, the need to assimilate and integrate our faith and belief systems into the predominant culture.
While we continue to embrace the historic Anabaptist principals of celebrating life in community, our notion of community is inviting, inclusive and welcoming.
While we continue to heed the biblical call to live out our faith convictions in peaceful and justice-oriented ways, we recognize the challenges that come with seeking to integrate these tenets of our faith in a world too often oriented toward violence and exploitation.
And so we strive to live out our faith in community actively involved as teachers, professors, physicians, librarians, administrators, students, researchers, etc. desiring to be gracious and hospitable neighbors in this community we embrace and call home.
Marv Friesen State College
The writer is pastor of University Mennonite Church in State College.