A New Chapter of the Pennsylvania Mennonite Story

Written by Steve Diehl on September 5, 2017

For three years, Beny Krisbianto faced the fierce opposition of close-knit, deeply entrenched neighbors, difficulties with four contractors, and the intransigence of City Hall.  One contractor told him to stop trying to build his church for recently arrived Indonesians in South Philly.  Now people ask him in amazement, “How is it that you have a relationship with the mayor?”  Mayor Kenney recently visited, and the city council held a meeting in the new church.  Neighbors who once opposed him invited

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Hunsberger

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 30, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Hunsberger roots of Franconia and Souderton

Brothers Ulrich, Jacob, and John (Hans) Hunsberger were some of the first settlers in the area that became Franconia Township. They each at one time owned parts of

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New acquisition: Gehman-Hiestand family registers

Written by Forrest Moyer on July 12, 2017

Last year Alma Shelly of North Newton, Kansas donated several family Bible registers that belonged to her late sister-in-law, Griselda Gehman Shelly (1925-2014), wife of Mennonite minister and author Maynard Shelly. The registers document four generations of Griselda’s ancestors, a unique and gifted family of the Berks-Lehigh community.

Griselda Gehman was an only child, born in Newark, Delaware to parents of Pennsylvania Mennonite origin. Her grandfather, William Hiestand Gehman,  had moved from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to the state of Delaware, where

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Allebach

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 21, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

A large pioneer family

Christian Allebach, a weaver, had three stepchildren when he and wife Margaret immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719. The family came from Dühren, Germany, near Sinsheim in the Kraichgau, and likely

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First Mennonite Church, Philadelphia added to city historic register

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 15, 2017

Former MHC intern Dan Sigmans, who grew up in Bucks County, now lives and works in Philadelphia. Recently he helped with a successful application to add the old First Mennonite Church building at 513 Diamond Street (built in 1881) to the city’s Register of Historic Places. I asked him a few questions about the process and the historic site. You can view the full application here. It was approved March 10th.

How did you get involved with the application process?

On one

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Cassel

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 10, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Viewing comets in Kriegsheim

Hupert Cassel, an immigrant bachelor who came to Pennsylvania in 1717, and his brothers Yellis and John, who came ten years later, were from a pious Mennonite family of Kriegsheim,

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Opportunity and Conscience: Mennonite Immigration the theme of Heritage Banquet

Written by Steve Diehl on May 4, 2017

The 2017 Heritage Banquet was held on Friday, April 28th at the Heritage Center

“Let us walk again the pilgrim path.”

With these words from the invocation of Steve Kriss, Executive Minister of the Franconia Conference, 80 guests headed down that path.  One storyteller was Friedrick Alldörfer, whose passage was across the Atlantic in 1733.  Friedrick was portrayed by Heritage Center historian Joel Alderfer, an actual descendant.  He hosted guests in the cross-section of his ship, the focal

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J. C. Wenger’s memories of writing Franconia Mennonite history

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 8, 2017

In 1976, MHEP Newsletter editor Joyce Munro interviewed John C. Wenger about his memories of writing the book History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference in 1936. It’s fascinating to read about the process of creating this substantial book that is still in 2017 the best source for information on some aspects of Franconia Mennonite history, including ministers who have served in the conference. The book is available for purchase at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

We’re forty years too late

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Glimpses of “Skippack” Mennonite Life, 1745-1760

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 11, 2017

Christopher Sower’s printing house, Germantown, Pa.

As announced, one feature of this blog will be the republishing of articles from past issues of the MHEP Newsletter and Quarterly. One of the first significant articles published in the Newsletter, when it began in 1975, was a translation by John Ruth of Mennonite-related material published in Christopher Sower’s German newspaper, 1745-1760. We present it here again for your enjoyment and education. Editor’s notes are original to the Ruth article.

Christopher Sower‘s newspaper, Pensylvanische Berichte

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