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Harrisonburg: Author moved to tears by stories of hope

Story by Laura Lehman Amstutz

“These are stories that grabbed me; some moved me to tears,” said N. Gerald Shenk, professor of church and society at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and author of the new book, Hope Indeed!

“I was hungry to see peace and reconciliation in action,” said Dr. Shenk. “And so, I began collecting these stories.”

The book includes 14 stories of peacemaking and reconciliation – some from Shenk’s own memory and history and some that he heard or were passed to him by others.

“I began collecting these stories in 2004 because I thought some of them were just too good to lose, and if you don’t write them down they fade away,” he stated.

“I long for true accounts of people who bring ordinary preparation to extreme situations and rise to meet them with grace and power, courage and conviction.”

Stretching from Bosnia to Harrisonburg, Va., to Israel/Palestine, these accounts span the globe and the human experience. They are stories about people who in the face of war, violence or discrimination sought peace and alternate ways to respond.

One example is the story of Ned Wyse, a pastor in Michigan who was the victim of a random act of violence on a deserted road late at night. Wyse found ways again and again to reconcile with his attackers, though hospital visits, performing a marriage and other ordinary acts that became extraordinary.

“Hope Indeed!” was published by Good Books in August 2008. It can be purchased online at or by contacting Good Books ( Cover price is $9.95.

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