CommonRead

Join the #CommonRead

The global pandemic has created faith formation challenges for churches. With isolation, digital issues, and Zoom fatigue setting in, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada, and Herald Press are partnering to encourage every Mennonite to read carefully selected books chosen to equip the church during this time.

Sept. 2021 – Nov. 2021
Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking About Faith 
by Sara Wenger Shenk

Are you tongue-tied about faith?

Many Christians easily and eagerly talk about movies, sports, politics, jobs, and emotions. So why are we tongue-tied when it comes to talking about our faith—even with each other? Even with our kids? What renders us incapable, embarrassed, or hesitant to talk about God?

In Tongue-tied, theologian and former seminary president Sara Wenger Shenk investigates the reasons that people who claim the name of Christ are so reluctant to talk about him. Recovering an authentic vocabulary of faith—and learning to speak in trustworthy, captivating ways—is an urgent task for followers of Jesus today. In an era of dying churches, polarizing cultural arguments, and environmental and humanitarian crises, many people are longing for deep conversations about things that matter. We are longing for genuine spiritual connection with a just and loving God. By reflecting theologically on biblical wisdom and our shared humanness, Wenger Shenk calls readers to recover the winsome language of Christian faith.

We don’t need to re-learn Christianese or brush up on churchy clichés. We need a language of faith that is authentic, candid, and robust enough to last.


Jan. 2022 – Mar. 2022
Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality 
by Regina Shands Stotlzfus and Tobin Miller Shearer

Been in the Struggle nurtures, challenges, and fosters the work and witness of dismantling racism for the long haul. Filled with wisdom and insight from nearly three decades of partnering across racial lines in this work, authors Regina Shands Stoltzfus and Tobin Miller Shearer offer a powerful mix of practical direction and poignant reflection to empower and sustain those working to dismantle racism, regardless of their stage on the journey.

Stoltzfus and Shearer draw on the power and promise of interracial relationships to offer a vision for an anti-racist spirituality. Together this Black woman and White man address the spirituality of conflict and crisis, embracing Blackness amid an anti-Black culture, and the importance of spiritual disciplines in the work of antiracism. Whether working to dismantle racism in our own lives or inside institutions, their words on transformation, historical trauma, spiritual formation, and the importance of authentic, restorative celebration will inspire and sustain us for the road ahead.


Apr. 2022 – June 2022
Not Quite Fine: Mental Health, Faith, and Showing Up for One Another
by Carlene Hill Byron

A practical guide for people who care.

There is no time in history and no place in the world where so many people have understood themselves to be suffering from mental health problems. There is also virtually no time and no place in the world where people who are suffering have been so readily ostracized.

In Not Quite Fine, author Carlene Hill Byron tackles the mounting dilemmas that pastors and churches face around mental health. Medicines and therapies have their roles in supporting those who live with mental health problems or mental illness. But God’s own body as the church is intended to be our greatest support in this world. How can the church step up for such a time as this? How can the body of Christ become a healing community for its members in pain—a place where the weary find strength for the journey, a place where those who mourn are raised up as rebuilders of the cities left in ruins?

Drawing on her own history of mental health problems and her experience as a teacher and lay counselor, Byron offers words of hope for those who struggle as well as practical insights to equip congregations to better support those who are suffering in their midst.