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In Search of Promised Lands

A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario
In Search of Promised Lands

Product Code: 9908
ISBN: 9780836199086
Pages: 872
Binding Information: Hardback
Size: 9.00 x 6.00 inches

Publication Date: 3/9/2015

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The wide-ranging story of Mennonite migration, theological diversity, and interaction with other Christian streams is distilled in this engaging volume, which tracks the history of Ontario Mennonites.

Author Samuel J. Steiner writes that Ontario Mennonites and Amish are among the most diverse in the world—in their historical migrations and cultural roots, in their theological responses to the world around them, and in the various ways they have pursued their personal and communal salvation.

In Search of Promised Lands describes the emergence and evolution of today’s 30-plus streams of Ontarians who have identified themselves as Mennonite or Amish from their arrival in Canada to the last decade. In Search of Promised Lands also considers how various Mennonite groups have adapted to or resisted evangelical fundamentalism and mainline Protestantism, and it identifies the nineteenth- and twentieth-century shifts toward personal salvation and away from submission to the church community.

Volume 48 in the Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History series.

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Maps and Tables xix
Foreword xxi
Author’s Preface xxiii
Acknowledgments xxv
1 European Mennonites and Amish Venture to North America, 1680s–1790s 1
2 Settling on the Canadian Frontier, 1780s–1830s 23
3 Religious Renewal Divides Canada West’s Mennonites, 1830s–70s 47
4 Assurance of Salvation versus Faithful Living: Diverse Theological Lands, 1870s–90s 70
5 New Frontiers in Missions and Service, 1890s-1910s 92
6 World War I Unites, Theology and Nonconformity Divide, 1910s–20s 113
7 Mennonites from the Soviet Union Enrich Ontario Mennonite Culture, 1920s–30s 141
8 Maintaining Separation from the World, 1920s–30s 165
9 Ontario Mennonites in Wartime, 1939–50 183
10 Reshaping and Preserving the Mennonite Promised Lands, 1945–60s 207
11 Faithfulness as Assimilation, Faithfulness as Nonconformity, 1950–70 229
12 Identity Preservation Through Institutions, 1945–70 257
13 New Participants in the Promised Lands, 1950s–90s 277
14 Nonconformity Leads to Growth, 1970 into the Twenty-first Century 300
15 Assimilated Mennonites Join the Mainstream, 1970 into the Twenty-first Century 335
16 Looking Back, Looking Forward 369
Appendix 1: The Four Types of Ontario Mennonites and Reflections on their Future 380
Assimilated Mennonites (AM) 380
Separatist Conservatives (SC) 381
Evangelical Conservatives (EC) 382
Old Orders (OO) 382
Notes 386
Glossary 511
Bibliography 518
Index 557
Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History Series 591
The Author 594

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Review by: Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University - March 9, 2015

“This long-needed and much-anticipated history of Mennonites in Ontario does not disappoint. Author Sam Steiner has undertaken meticulous research to offer a comprehensive narrative that balances the local and particular with broader contextual explanations for how the ‘startling diversity’ of Mennonites in Ontario today came to be. This grand survey will be the definitive reference work on the subject for years to come.”

Review by: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg - March 9, 2015

“This well-crafted and deeply researched book takes us into the richly textured past of Mennonite life in Ontario. Sam Steiner’s sweeping and authoritative new interpretation takes us through the centuries, from frontier Upper Canada to modern Ontario. Along the way we encounter hopeful migrations, emotional revivals, ‘horse and buggy’ protests, and a faith-driven response to wartime, city life, and pressing current issues. In the end we have an insightful portrayal of the profoundly changing face of one of the most complex and concentrated Mennonite communities in the world.”

Review by: John Ruth, author of The Earth is the Lord's: A Narrative History of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference - March 9, 2015

“Samuel Steiner’s careful research, archival depth, breadth of coverage, thematic coherence, respectful candor, and useful summations make this book not only a treasury of Ontario Mennonite memory but a valuable companion to Mennonite history across North America.”

Review by: John Roth, professor of history, Goshen College, and editor of Mennonite Quarterly Review - March 9, 2015

“This is a remarkable book! Encyclopedic in scope and traversing three centuries, In Search of Promised Lands provides a lively account of the astounding ecclesial and ethnic diversity among Mennonite and Amish groups in Ontario. Author Sam Steiner never flinches from the persistent theme of conflict and division. Yet he tells those stories generously, always attentive to the theological motifs, economic forces, renewal impulses, immigration patterns, cultural pressures, and the broader national context within which these tensions found expression. Though anchored firmly in the rich farmland and bustling towns of Ontario, this book is relevant the entire North American church—we all will find a part of our story here!”

Review by: John Sharp, author of My Calling to Fulfill: The Orie O. Miller Story - March 9, 2015

“Steiner’s own experience as a ‘draft dodger’ who finds refuge in Ontario parallels the experience of thousands of Mennonites who also sought this land of promise. His deep engagement as a church leader and his long career as an archivist uniquely qualify him to tell this story—panoramic in scope and encyclopedic in depth. With candor and sympathy, Steiner deftly narrates the amazingly complex and astonishingly diverse story of Ontario Mennonites, people he has claimed as his own.”

Review by: Lucille Marr, president, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada - March 9, 2015

“Readers will be fascinated by the stories, previously untold, of men and women who composed significant Ontario families and communities. The well-written historical narrative is bolstered by analysis, including exploration of the variety of theological controversies and the impact of such social issues as race and gender that have contributed to the complexities of the Ontario story.”

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