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Book honouring Kreiders promotes faithful living in post-Christendom


Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
August 5, 2011
-Steve Shenk

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.—Friends of Alan and Eleanor Kreider wanted to publish a book in honour of them as veteran teachers, authors, and missionaries. But when the Kreiders got wind of the project, they insisted that the book had to be useful to today’s Christians.

“Please make of any such piece something that builds the church,” they wrote to the editors, “something rooted in the daily reality of God’s people, something that equips and empowers followers of Jesus to live out more faithfully their calling as active participants in God’s reconciling mission in the world.”

The editors, James Krabill and Stuart Murray, attempted to honour that request.

The result is Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom: The Legacy of Alan and Eleanor Kreider. It was co-published by Herald Press and the Institute of Mennonite Studies.  The 234-page book was released just in time for the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada conferences in July.

Alan and Eleanor Kreider have been teaching and writing about mission, community, and worship from an Anabaptist perspective for almost four decades. While most of this ministry took place in the United Kingdom and North America, their influence spread to continental Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and beyond.

“The contributors to this volume—all affected in some way by the Kreiders’ ministry—are a global multi-voiced choir,” said the editors in their introductory essay. “They are younger and older; academics and community workers; new believers and veterans of the faith.”

Krabill is senior executive for the Global Ministries division of Mennonite Mission Network in Elkhart, Ind. Last year he edited a book that was also co-published by Herald Press and the Institute of Mennonite Studies—Mission from the Margins: Selected Writings from the Life and Ministry of David A. Shank.

Murray works as a trainer and consultant for the Anabaptist Network in the United Kingdom. Last year he authored the Herald Press book, The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith.

Alan and Eleanor, who met at Goshen College, grew up in well-known Mennonite families.

Eleanor was born in India in 1935, where her parents, J.D. and Minnie Graber, were missionaries. J.D. later became executive secretary of Mennonite Board of Missions in Elkhart, Ind.

Alan was born in Goshen, Ind., to Carl and Evelyn Kreider. His father was academic dean and economics professor at Goshen College. In the 1950s Alan lived in Tokyo, Japan, where his father was the first dean of International Christian University.

Alan did his doctoral studies at Harvard University on the English Reformation, and he and Eleanor spent some of their early married life in study and work in England. Later, for 11 years, they divided their time between teaching at Goshen College and teaching in England. Eleanor’s expertise was in music and worship.

In 1979 the Kreiders transitioned to full-time work in the United Kingdom under the auspices of Mennonite Board of Missions. They helped found a Mennonite congregation and engaged in teaching, preaching, peace advocacy, translation, and publishing. 

At first they were based at London Mennonite Center, but later they lived in other places in the UK, including Oxford University.

The Kreiders returned to the U.S. in 2000, continuing an itinerant ministry that frequently took them back to the UK. Alan served on the faculty of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., from 2004 to 2009.

Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom is available from Herald Press by calling 1-800-631-6535 (Canada) or 1-800-245-7894 (U.S.). Price: $26.50 CAD/$22.99 USD.

Herald Press is the book imprint of MennoMedia, a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.