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By James C. Juhnke

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Especially troublesome was the relationship of Steiner's mission to a "Mennonite Evangelizing Board of America" based at Elkhart, Indiana. It was a time of beginnings. Mennonites were coming off the farm with fresh energy to take up new relationships. 15 One progressive Mennonite contributed substantively to the Fair's displays. Heinrich R. Voth, GC missionary to the Arapaho and Hopi Indians in the American West, had collected Native American artifacts for the Smithsonian Institution, and the Fair exhibited them.

Such major Mennonite writings revealed a shift in theme. Suffering, no longer as appropriate as in the Anabaptist days of persecution, gave way to a new paradigm of humility or yieldedness. 35 The Mennonite ethos of humility (Demut) involved submission both to God and to the Christian community. Failure to submit was a mark of the opposite sin, pride (Hochmut). The ethos of humility found expression in nonverbal behavior as well as verbally. If it were possible to recover the patterns of gesture and voice from the 1890s, one would likely find the Swiss-background Mennonites typically holding their heads somewhat lower, modestly diverting their eyes, and speaking more softly than did their brothers and sisters of Dutch-Russian background.

The Mennonite Experience in America books are also to be history with disciplined integrity. They are to portray both failure and faithfulness, both shadow and light. In four volumes the series savors the meaning of the Mennonites' three hundred years in the New World. That meaning tells also of America. In America Mennonites and Amish have found both paradox and promise. The MEA books invite us all to come, read, learn tales never before told, and reflect on how Mennonites fared during three centuries of growing nationhood.

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