Chester and Sara Wenger
Chester and Sara Jane Wenger’s open letter to the church has been widely distributed by both church and secular media. The Wengers are parents of two daughters who have also written openly to the church that they and their parents have served well.
One of the daughters introduced herself and and her husband thus: “We are Richard and Jewel (Wenger) Showalter. As church planters, missionaries, educators, mission administrators, parents and now grandparents, we have walked as part of the Mennonite family throughout our lives.” They confessed their love for Jewel’s parents and the Mennonite Church and wrote respectfully of both.
In spite of this respect, Jewel was obviously disappointed by the
Richard and Jewel Wenger Showalter
marriage of her brother and his partner by her father. The Showalters followed the model of the Anabaptist founders who asked their opponents to “show us from the scriptures.” Obiously they trust the Bible.
Their challenge brings us to the other daughter of Chester, Sara Wenger Shenk. She is a biblical scholar and president of the Anabaptist Mennonite Seminary. Sara writes a blog that describes her “as a woman, mother, author, educator, lover of God, Sara is a restless scout—searching out ways that lead toward God’s shalom. She doesn’t assert answers so much as pose questions, test assumptions, resist labels, play with possibilities, experiment with integration, practice wholeness. She hopes this blog will provide a spacious forum for thoughtful discernment around sometimes contentious issues.” Get access to the entire blog by clicking on Sara Wenger Shenk
. Here are some excerpts:
Sarah Wenger Shenk
“It’s a sleepless night. I can’t remember another one. Short nights, yes. But one entirely without sleep? No. At least not since those notorious all-nighters during college to cram for a test.
Am I anxious? Probably. My father’s letter is breaking sound barriers. Our family fabric is threatening to fray. Our denominations (MC USA and MC Canada) are feeling fragile and in danger of serious fracturing. Political paralysis and polarization pervade the nation.
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I am grateful for the sturdy rootedness in the loamy, rich soil of the Bible they (my parents) and many good teachers since have provided for me and countless others.
To be a leader with integrity and wisdom in anxious times requires deep knowledge of God’s mercy-filled vision for this messed up marvel that is our world, found in the Scriptures.
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Perhaps now I can sleep, remembering that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…. Be still, and know that I am God!”
To be continued