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Radio program features Amish naturalist


Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
April 16, 2012
-Melodie Davis

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.—David Kline added an unusual but not unexpected twist when he agreed to be interviewed for the MennoMedia radio program Shaping Families.  Kline, the author of Letters from Larksong: An Amish Naturalist Explores His Organic Farm and other similar books, would be happy to be interviewed, with the understanding the actual recording not be used but just paraphrased on air out of respect to his Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio.

Thus Sam Heatwole, a voice-over artist from Richmond, Va., who reads frequently on Shaping Families from his father-in-law’s book, Frog Hollow Journal, reads excerpts from Kline’s books on the May 5 broadcast. The program is also available online at after May 4.

Kline’s program shares his enthusiasm for and great love of nature, and addresses small-scale sustainable and organic farming. Such approaches are increasing the number of families able to make a living from farming throughout Ohio and other areas.

Kline is also the editor of Farming Magazine, a quarterly publication, and author of Scratching the Woodchuck: Nature on an Amish Farm and Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal. His Letters from Larksong book includes an introduction by his friend and fellow naturalist Wendell Berry.

The remaining three weeks of Shaping Families programs in May feature mental illness, in recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month.

  • May 12: “Artist with Schizophrenia.” Jerome Lawrence was first diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was in college. He became a successful artist whose paintings have fetched over $20,000 for the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta. Lawrence and his artwork appeared earlier in the Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness documentary produced by the predecessor agency of MennoMedia. It aired on ABC, NBC, and Hallmark.
  • May 19: “Mental Illness and Faith.” Sherry Davis Molock, associate professor of psychology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., talks about connections between faith and mental illness out of her background in both psychology and theology. Molock is also co-pastor of The Beloved Community Church in Accokeek, Md.
  • May 26: “Obsessive Compulsive.” Debbie, a musician with a degree in music pedagogy, speaks of her lifelong journey with obsessive compulsive disorder and how friends and her Mennonite church community help her maintain balance.

The weekly 15-minute Shaping Families program is available online at and is produced by MennoMedia, a ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.