Cool Classics from MennoMedia: More than Nostalgia Lane Here

Talk about throwback–seeing this picture in a recent catalog from our office sent me back.

beginning the christian life russell krabillIt was written by Russell Krabill, the first pastor I ever knew. He led my home congregation, North Goshen Mennonite for many years and how proud I was even at that time, that my minister was the author of an “instruction” or catechism  book for the entire denomination. It wasn’t quite as pretty then—plain orange, if I remember correctly. But Russell was a natural for this need because he worked for an early Mennonite bookstore in Goshen, Indiana, Gospel Bookstore, and was a writer of other curricula for the publishing house at that time.


Russell Krabill top right, and his family in the 1950s: Martha (my piano teacher who also taught hundreds of others), James (Senior Executive for Global Ministries for Mennonite Mission Network), and Mary Ann Hollinger, Special Assistant to the Provost for Global Education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

We still sell Beginning the Christian Life here at MennoMedia! How cool is that—written first in the 50s and revised in 1988 and still, apparently, fulfilling a need for numbers of people and churches. Since then of course we have produced additional materials for that purpose with newer slants and tweaks (such as here).

But one of our staff members had a pretty good idea suggesting a “Herald Press Classics” special catalog some months ago (and keep reading to find how you can get your own copy).

P1050815In seeking to be the Mennonite/Anabaptist publisher of choice, we have an interesting array of Mennonites, Brethren, Old Order and Amish customers who look to MennoMedia/Herald Press for books, manuals, and supplies. People come to us for the classic Martyr’s Mirror book from the 1500s still in print. We’re told that a copy of Martyr’s Mirror is a frequent wedding gift among Old Order friends and family. A passage in Ervin Stutzman’s Jacob’s Choice novel tells how thrilled Jacob was when he purchased a copy for his family.

MennoBytesBlogPostBuilding 021In the “Herald Press Classics” catalog, this picture of a product caught my eye:

P1050816Pretty much like the old Sunday school offering envelopes we used when I was a kid! I recall how special it made me feel to be selected by the teacher to collect the offering, deposit it in the little envelope with the nifty string closure, and take it to the Sunday school superintendent. I wonder who still collects a Sunday school offering today and who uses the little envelopes? In the same vein, I always felt oh so important to be able to tally up pupils present in the record book.

P1050817Memory lane and our Classics Catalog is not just for baby boomers and older. We celebrate the fact that families and young adults from conservative, evangelical and plain groups find that some of our materials suit their theology and needs.

Mennonite cookbooks, CDs with a cappella singing, older hymnals with shaped notes like “Church Hymnal” – the black one –

Church Hymnal

(quick, if you grew up Menno, can you tell me the first hymn in that book without looking?), the Red hymnal, (where you find the original “Hymn 606” check here for a recent glorious YouTube rendition) and books for kids are all found in the catalog. Homeschoolers seem to enjoy our Louise A. Vernon Religious Heritage series with stories of how the King James Bible came to be; books focused on historical figures like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, John Wesley and more continue to inform, entertain and inspire. What a legacy that we steward very carefully for the church. (Your kids might enjoy these this summer.)

Peter and the Pilgrims

Then are historical novels, The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, and Classics of the Radical Reformation—we’ve got them in our shipping department or available quickly by our print-on-demand go-to, Lightning Source.

P1050815And you can browse all these in a single catalog—”Herald Press Classics,” no dealing with finding the stuff online. If you or someone you know would like one or more of these  red “Herald Press Classic” catalogs, just email me at [email protected] and we’ll get one to you ASAP.

Or, if you like shopping online, here is where to start.

And now I’ll head back to my quilting. Ha.


Melodie Davis
Managing editor, among other things