About the Assembly History Project
J. R. Burkholder
Monday, January 26, 2004

In the fall of 1998, as the congregation began planning for a 25th Anniversary celebration to be held sometime in Spring 1999, a proposal came to the Leadership Group that the congregation should plan to write its story for this occasion.

A volunteer committee was formed, consisting of Michael Miller, Mary Schertz, Arden Shank and J. R. Burkholder. Very early it was agreed that this should not be simply a conventional narrative history, but rather an attempt to understand the meaning of the AMC story, focusing on themes such as vision, structures and process.  We wanted to see what had resulted from the original effort to do church differently, to develop an intentional neo-Anabaptist model.

We drew up a list of topics that included VISION,  INSIDE/ OUTSIDE (finances and mission),  SERVANT  LEADERSHIP, SMALL GROUPS AND STRUCTURE, use of  SPACE and  PLACE, WORSHIP, MEMBERSHIP FLOW, THEMATIC STUDIES (such as ordination/leadership, marriage and divorce,  baptism, sexuality), etc.  Then we began contacting potential writers, including some former members.    

But getting the chapters written turned out to be a much more demanding task than any of us had anticipated.  By the time of the April 99 Anniversary celebration, only promises of a book could be offered, although a few dollars were offered as down payments. 
Now, more than five years later (December 2004), we still await chapters on some important topics that have not yet been completed by the selected writers.  Since the whole project depends on voluntary efforts by busy people, we keep waiting and encouraging each other.

In the meantime, however, website technology has become available, and we have decided to use this means of making the ongoing efforts accessible to anyone interested.  Along with informing the world that the AMC History Project does in fact exist, we are using this format to invite comments and corrections that will make possible a more satisfactory finished product.

Beginning with the foundational chapter by Norman Kraus on the theological vision that inspired and grounded the beginnings of Assembly Mennonite Church, we will continue to post on this website those essays that become available to us. We welcome questions and conversation as we keep working to record faithfully our story as a congregation.

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