When our Anabaptist families first arrived in North America most of them thought they did not have much time for instructive writing. But it did not take long until concerned believers amongst them saw the lack and did what they could to correct it.
Selected here, in chronological order, are writings from believers who lived in the United States, from the 1700s to now.
Rainham descendants (right) at the Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse, built near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1770.
Christian Burkholder — Addresses to Youth, 1792
Christian Burkholder (1746-1809) arrived as a nine-year-old German immigrant to Pennsylvania in 1755. He married Anna Groff, and raised a family at Farmersville, not far from New Holland, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Ordained a minister as a twenty-four-year-old, and eight years later as a bishop, he served the Groffdale congregation and surrounding area for fifty-four years.
Christian Burkholder’s Addresses to Youth, appeared first in German as Anrede an die Jugend von der wahren Busse, in 1792, and in English Translation in 1857. Much appreciated among early Anabaptists in North America, it became a standard course of study for all young people seeking baptism in the Rainham Settlement. Many descendants continue to use it both in German and English, still regularly published as needed. Read this Book.
Abraham Godshalk — The New Creature, 1838
Abraham Godshalk (1791-1838), minister of the Doylestown Mennonite congregation, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, lived on a farm with his wife, Sarah Schrauger, and their seven children. Read more about this church leader.
Challenged by spiritual needs in his congregation and inspired to share what he could, he wrote this book in German, and it soon also appeared in English.
The book promptly found its way to Upper Canada where it was gratefully received among the Rainham settlers, among whom it is still treasured.
Read this book in English translation.
John M. Brenneman — Pride and Humility, 1866
Elida, Ohio, 1866. First appearing as a series of articles in the Harold der Wahrheit, Elkhart, Indiana, these articles were later published as a booklet, both in German and in English. Many publications followed until this last publication, 2013. Read this book.
Jacob Z. Rittenhouse — Television Today, 1956
Lansdale, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. During his long life (1908-2002), fifty-one years as a minister, a writer, an accountant and Mennonite missionary, Jacob keenly observed a vast array of changes during the twentieth century. In 1970, after sweeping reforms among the Franconia Mennonite Conference in eastern Pennsylvania, he led the Lansdale congregation into an autonomous, more conservative, fellowship. One of his insightful writings describes what happened when Americans began to watch TV. Read this article.
Frank T. Cartwright — Tuan Hoover of Borneo
In 1899 John H. Hoover, a school teacher from Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, left home to teach a completely different set of boys in Penang, in British Malaysia. Here he met Ethel Mary Young, later on his wife, and through a series of events he learned about the Chinese Christians along the Rejang River in what people called Borneo (now Sarawak). Under the Lord’s direction he dedicated the rest of his life to this extremely challenging project — quite unlike the life of his grandparents, George and Elizabeth Hoover, German Baptist (Dunkard) members of Lower Paxton, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. If you should like to read the entire story, click here.
Landmark History of the United Brethren