This Saturday I headed up to the 3rd annual Holmes County Book Signing Event at the Gospel Bookstore in uptown Berlin. Several dozen authors were present to talk to visitors and sign their books. Eli (Small) Hochstetler, the owner of the book store (a.k.a. the Mayor of Berlin) puts a lot of time and energy into bringing authors of Amish related works to the area. There’s a great variety of books, including biographies, devotionals, novels, and a cookbook. Famous area photographer, Doyle Yoder, was also present, selling his 2014 Holmes County Calendar. Eli does a lot of promotion for this event. All products are twenty percent off and since so many people like to read, they make great Christmas gifts. There are both local area authors and quite a few from out of state. I find the authors to be quite interesting and have been able to get to know a good number of them. With so many of them present I didn’t have nearly as much time chatting with them as I would have liked to. Here are some pics and a complete list of the authors present at the book signing. [Read more…]
This morning I went up to The Gospel Bookstore in Berlin, Ohio to a book signing event that Eli “Small” Hochstetler arranged with Marie Monville, author of “One Light Still Shines”. In the book, Marie shares her story of the tragic events that rocked her, and her family’s world, in October of 2006, seven years ago this month. The tragedy: The shooting of young Amish school girls at The Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania by her husband, Charles. After shooting the girls, Charles committed suicide. I already had a copy of this excellent book and was deeply touched by the message of forgiveness, amazing love, and hope in this small Amish community, amidst unimaginable grief and pain. [Read more…]
Don Kraybill, author of a new book released earlier this year, “The Amish”, was at The Gospel Bookstore in Berlin, Ohio today signing copies of his book from 9am to noon. Don worked with a couple of other authors on this book, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt. Don is senior fellow at the Young Center of Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa. Among his many publications, he has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books on Amish society.
In addition to his appearance at the bookstore, Don spoke last night to a group of around a hundred people at Behalt – The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center, and again this morning at the Farmstead Restaurant. I had the opportunity of attending both meetings. [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago I applied to be an ‘extra’ in the movie “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio”, a romantic mystery/suspense drama set in Sugarcreek Ohio, also known as “The Little Switzerland of Ohio”. The movie, based on the book of the same name, was written by Serena B. Miller of Portsmouth, Ohio. The movie was filmed entirely in the Sugarcreek Ohio Amish country area. I’d never been an ‘extra’ before so I thought it would be quite interesting to be on location during filming. As it turns out, I had a great time and found the film-making process quite interesting. The movie is directed by Terrence Cunningham with prominent roles played by Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Witness), Sarah Lancaster (Chuck, Everwood, Scrubs), and Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do, Southland), and a five year old boy, Thomas Kapanowski. [Read more…]
Saturday morning I headed up to the Berlin Community Park, in Berlin, Ohio, to set up our Amish Country Pics booth at the Berlin Bluegrass and Arts/Crafts festival. After I finished setting up, I proceeded over to the German Village IGA to pick up a gift card at The Gospel Bookstore. As soon as I got inside, I ran into the “mayor of Berlin”, Eli (Small) Hochstetler, also the owner of The Gospel Bookstore. Small was having another one of his book signings at the store. Lester Beachy was on hand to sign his just-released book, “Our Amish Values – Who we are and what we believe”. Small introduced me to Lester and we started “sharing stories”. Lester grew up in “Limpytown”, a place near Walnut Creek, barely large enough to be called a town. My mom, Marie Erb (Schrock), lived in Limpytown for a while when she was a young Amish girl. Lester knew my Grandpa Erb and had at one time rented an apartment in Berlin from my Uncle Dan Erb. We also discovered we had a cousin in common, Floyd Mullet, of Sugarcreek. I was related to Floyd on “one side” of the family and Lester was related on the “other side”. Learning these family and community connections happens all the time in Holmes County. There are so many connections, you just keep “learning” new ones. [Read more…]
Unser Leit…The Story of the Amish. Volumes I and II. By Leroy Beachy. Millersburg, Oh: Goodly Heritage Books, 2011.
In April 2011, I published a short article about Leroy Beachy’s just released book, Unser Leit. Gerald J. Mast, a Professor of Communication at Bluffton University, recently wrote an excellent, detailed review of Leroy’s book, which I have published here. Gerald is the author of Go to Church, Change the World: Christian Community as Calling. He grew up in Holmes County Ohio and received degrees from Malone University and the University of Pittsburgh.
This review by Gerald first appeared in The Mennonite Quarterly Review 86 (April, 2012), 265-269 and is reprinted here with permission. This MQR journal was founded by Harold S. Bender and the Mennonite Historical Society and has been published continually since 1927. The website for the journal is: www.goshen.edu/mqr
This two-volume history of the Amish by Leroy Beachy, a genealogist from Holmes County, Ohio is a remarkable achievement, generously fulfilling a vision for family history as church history described by Ernst Correll in the January 1928 issue of this journal. Correll called for genealogical research that goes beyond names and dates to recall the “immediate setting of the generations in their cultural backgrounds.” Correll believed that “Mennonite families were the crux and core of the history of the Mennonite Church,” a view clearly shared by Leroy Beachy. In Unser Leit…The Story of the Amish, Beachy provides an account of Amish families that places their traumas and triumphs at the center of Amish-Mennonite history. In so doing, Beachy’s work contributes significantly to Amish and Anabaptist studies in at least five distinctive ways, although some of these contributions will no doubt be contested.
I had a very special opportunity last week to discover a treasure that has been in the making for well over 20 years. In the process of contacting quite a few store owners in the Berlin area I was led to Eli (Small) Hochstetler, owner and operator of the Gospel Bookstore in Berlin, Ohio. Small and his wife, Vesta, and I go back quite a few years. They are both interesting people and I enjoy talking with them now and then when we connect somewhere. In the process of one of our interesting conversations, Small starts telling me about a new book that has been written about the Amish and that the author is none other than Leroy Beachy. [Read more…]