Mennonites to read together over the next year
By LeAnn Hamby
HARRISONBURG, Va. — The global pandemic has created faith formation challenges for churches. With isolation, digital issues, and Zoom fatigue setting in, Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), Mennonite Church Canada, and Herald Press are partnering to encourage Mennonites to engage in a “Common Read,” a shared reading experience focused on specific books written to nurture Christian faith in this cultural moment.
Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses by Stephanie Lobdell is the Common Read book chosen for September. Whether it’s the demise of a relationship, career plans, or our image of ourselves: we all experience losses. Lobdell leads readers to the power of the resurrection to heal daily hurts.
In Signs of Life, Lobdell shares stories of her own depression, loss of confidence, and disillusionment with the church. “My ordinary losses are probably no bigger than yours, and are maybe even smaller,” says Lobdell. “My ordinary losses are just that: ordinary and plain, maybe even dull. But they are real. And their smallness does not negate their power or their importance in shaping me. Such ordinary losses in your life—and maybe some extraordinary ones—have likely wounded and shaped you.”
The Common Read for Signs of Life kicks off with a Zoom event on Sept 3 at noon EST with the author, Stephanie Lobdell. Registration for the event is open here. Books are available on the MennoMedia website or by calling 1-800-245-7894. Purchases of four or more copies will receive a 30% discount.
“In a time of social reckoning and spiritual need, reading these books together can provide the spiritual space in which the Spirit can nurture and guide us,” said Shana Peachey Boshart, MC USA denominational minister for Faith Formation. “Plus, a common read is ideal for online or in-person congregational study, adult Sunday school and small group discussion.”
The MC USA Common Read continues in January with I Am Not Your Enemy: Stories to Transform a Divided World by Michael T. McRay and April with Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids by Natalie Frisk. Each new Common Read session will launch with a Zoom event with the author.
Free downloadable study guides are available for every Common Read book on the Herald Press website. To schedule an interview with Stephanie Lobdell, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.