12343: A Study in Shared Heritage: The Amish and Mennonites
In the heart of a thriving Amish and Mennonite community, explore the sociology, history, spirituality and values of these people, through stories and dialogue with a colorful Mennonite historian. Learn what makes the Old Order Amish and Mennonites distinctive and at the same time what we have in common. From a traditional “thresher’s meal” at an Amish home to visiting Amish enterprises, immerse yourself in a way of life that is a refreshing contrast to the modern world. As a special feature, enjoy nature activities, such as bird-watching, at the on-site nature center.
• Learn how the Amish lead their daily lives during field trips through this beautiful farmland region.
• Visit with a young Amish couple who operate their own Amish store, specializing in herbs and natural health remedies.
• Meet the proprietors of Amish shops featuring quilts, dry goods, baked goods and furniture.
The September program includes a date specific session on making home-made noodles.
Joe Springer has served as curator of the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College since 1986. With close to 75,000 volumes, the library is the world’s largest collection of published material about Mennonites, Amish and related groups. Researchers can find books ranging from the only known copy of the 1st edition (1564) of the Ausbund (hymnal still in use among the Amish today) to Russian-language translations of recent “bonnet romance” novels.
A native of Goshen, Ind., Springer frequently speaks to groups about Anabaptist and Mennonite history. He received a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College and master’s degrees in history and library science from Catholic University of America. He worked at Gallaudet, Louisiana State, and University of Kansas before returning to Goshen. Springer has performed extensive research on topics such as Anabaptist-Mennonite hymns, 19th century migrations of Amish and Mennonite groups, and Amish-Mennonite family history.
Since 2005, John Sharp has been teaching and writing history at Hesston College in Kansas — his alma matter. Prior to this, he served as the director of the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee and Archives in Goshen, Ind. John shares his knowledge of Amish life and culture with Road Scholar and other educational organizations. He has edited Gathering at the Hearth: Stories Mennonites Tell, and written the centennial history of Hesston College published in 2009. His recent book, My Calling to Fulfill: The Orie O. Miller Story was published in 2015.
He has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Goshen College, and a master of divinity degree from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind. He is married to Michele Miller Sharp, a 1977 graduate of Goshen College. They have two adult children in Colorado and Kansas.