In the theme of this website about Amish fiction and Amish people and their communities, I’m going to stray from the path a little – my realm, as it may be called, is in the Mennonite community. Many Mennonite people live in my community – or do I live in theirs?
Where I live, I was a member of a modern Mennonite church and was in constant contact with people with all the classic Mennonite names like Friesen, Thiessen, Klassen, Weibe, Neufeld, Funk, and more. These people live in our modern society with modern jobs and lifestyles, and use some of the technology and trappings of modern times, but only when they have to, and in limited capacity. They truly do live a simpler life, but are still among the rest of the world. Often that’s a challenge. There is also another large modern Mennonite community not far from where I live, in Abbotsford, BC, Canada.
Just like in times gone by, one thing that many people think of when they hear ‘Mennonite’, is the food. Good food goes hand in hand with good hospitality, and hospitality is a core principle of Mennonite society, both in history, and today. My favorite Mennonite food has always been the farmer sausage that was sold at a particular store in Abbotsford, which has now, unfortunately, changed hands.
In my last Mennonite book, The Path to Piney Meadows (Abingdon Press) I set my story in a more conservative community than that in which I live. My town of Piney Meadows was modeled after a real town in northern Minnesota where a Mennonite friend of mine grew up. Believe it or not, we became friends online (waving at Joy). She had responded to a post I’d made about blueberries, which are a big crop in Abbotsford. Some of the farms there are owned and operated by Mennonite people.
It was a joy to write about a society that set aside modern technology as much as they could, in order to set themselves apart from the world, even while living in the modern world. Many of us wish we could live in simpler times, and in today’s world, many still do.
Gail Sattler, an award-winning author of over 40 books, lives in Vancouver, BC (where you don’t have to shovel rain) with her husband, three sons, two dogs, and a lizard who is quite cuddly for a reptile. Gail enjoys making music with a local jazz band and a community orchestra. When she’s not writing or making music, Gail likes to sit back with a hot coffee and a good book.
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