As most of you know, my summer hasn’t gone quite as I had anticipated and I am spending a large portion of it in Indiana recovering. While I am missing my Brooklyn life, it has been fun being back in the land of Amish and Mennonites, and I have already had some interesting experiences!
The last weekend in July I went to our church affiliations annual convention at which I buzzed around in a motorized wheel-chair. Trust me, these things are way more difficult to drive than one would think! I consider it a miracle that I didn’t run over any unsuspecting pedestrians or drive off a sidewalk and break the other leg! Although, I did worry my siblings when they seemed to think I was in danger of running into the wall of the Dining Hall…
Since being home I’ve been reminded just how different life in Indiana is from NYC! A few things I’ve done here that generally wouldn’t happen in the city include husking corn and snipping beans to help my mom with canning, counting how many buggies I see on the road, and eating some good Mennonite home cooking! Ah, yes, there’s been lots of good ‘Mennonite’ food. Mashed potatoes and poor-man steak!
For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is not actually steak…more like a glorified hamburger patty in a gravy sauce, but, oh, so good! My mother seems intent on filling me with as much good food as she can while I’m here. My mother isn’t ethnically Jewish, but just like many a good Jewish mother, she thinks the proper food can solve many an ailment! 🙂
My first Sunday home I attended my church, Living Water Mennonite. A typical service at a Mennonite Church in this area generally starts at 9:30. We all meet in the Sanctuary for a few hymns and then someone gets up to say a bit about the Sunday School lesson, after which the entire congregation disperses into various rooms of the building to have separate classes which are taught by a lay member of the congregation.
A little before 10:30 we all meet together again in the main sanctuary for a time of singing, testimonies, and prayer requests. This usually lasts until around 11 when the pastor gets up to deliver the Sunday morning message. Our church has three pastors which alternate the preaching schedule. My dad is one of the pastors and this particular Sunday was his turn to preach.
Unlike the Jewish religion and synagogue service, we do not have a set liturgy and it is up to the individual pastor to decided what portion of Scripture he will use for his text. Anabaptists use both the Jewish Tenach (Genesis through Malachi) as well as the New Covenant (New Testament -Mathew through Revelation). This particular Sunday my dad chose to preach out of the book of 1st Samuel.
After the message we usually have another song and then people are free to go and come as they please. Most people stay and talk before heading off to their mid-day meal. Unlike many Jewish families, entire families usually attend the church service together—both the men and the women with the children.
At our church there is a designated family each week known as the host and hostess. This family is responsible to make sure that any visitors attending are invited somewhere for the afternoon meal. This particular Sunday my family was invited to stay for a meal and I got my second helping of the very Mennonite poor-man steak and mashed potatoes!
My most recent adventure was a Mennonite Hymn Sing. But…you’ll have to stay tuned to hear more about this later. It involves some rather painful and slow Amish singing, 606, and 32 buggies!
So now I’ll leave you with the cutest part of Indiana life! My main man and his little sister. I love the aunt life!
FYI…Not only is my dad the pastor of our church, he just recently published a book which you should totally check out on Amazon!