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The Story of Nevin and Esther Bender
and Its Implications for the Church Today

Don, Mildred, and Titus Bender

Foreword by Melodie M. Davis

Summary: For Mennonites and Amish, or any people who take their community of faith seriously, such a body can be loving arms of support or a smothering embrace. For Nevin and Esther and their family—and for so many others then and now—the church became a combination of these two experiences. Surveying a life of ministry ranging from Greenwood, Delaware, to Philadelphia, Mississippi, and beyond, this book tells how Nevin and Esther found the church a place of intense joy and at times painful disappointment.

Comment: “In a time when American churches are increasingly polarized between liberal and conservative forces, Without the Loss of One describes those tensions as they played out in one family’s lives. Nevin and Esther Bender were leaders of the Conservative Mennonite Church who took the church seriously yet maintained an open-mindedness to dialogue with other points of view. From rural Delaware to the violent 1960s in Mississippi to the Middle East, they followed a path of true faithfulness. It is an engaging family history with significant lessons for today’s church.“
—Jim Wallis; Author, God’s Politics; Editor, Sojourners; Convener, Call to Renewal

“Here is a beautiful picture of unusual honesty and clarity, painted with words. The books that capture reveal two things: moral fortitude in life’s painful, desert experiences, and the accompanying spiritual growth.”
—Ruth S. Weaver, Spiritual Director; instrumental in developing Bridge of Hope

“Unlike children ambivalent about widely traveled fathers who were away too much as they grew up, the diaspora of Nevin and Esther Lauver Bender’s family insistently cherish the sense of parental love. Memories of subsistence on a patched-together preacher’s income are pleasantly flavored by the family sacrament of Delaware oysters. Internecine church squabbles only enhance the children’s loyal prejudice. Readers familiar with things falling apart will muse on why the flame of such a fragile moving hearth can burn so respectfully in memory.”
—John L. Ruth, Author, The Earth Is the Lord’s: A Narrative History of Lancaster Mennonite Conference

Market: Anyone interested in a journey of faith and passion across many subcultures as well as joys and trials of Mennonite denominational dynamics.

Shelving: Biography—religious, Anabaptist, Mennonite; Cultural History. BISAC: Biography. RTM: 170 Biography; 690 Religion/Ethics

The Authors: Don Bender, Atlanta, Georgia, is owner of Neighborhood Commercial Redevelopment, Inc. Mildred (Millie) Bender, Sandy Spring, Maryland, is retired from teaching at Georgetown University and works at a healing center. Titus Bender, Fort Defiance, Virginia, is retired from Eastern Mennonite University, where he taught social work. He remains active in the field of restorative justice.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: September 1, 2005
Pages: 276
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 trade paper
Prices: $15.95 US, $20.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-31-7

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Copyright 2005 by Cascadia Publishing House