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Holy Experiment

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Holy Experiment

by Jo Anne Kraus

In 1897, Mennonite and Amish families from northern and western states began to relocate to former plantation land in Southeastern Virginia along the banks of the Warwick River. Their move to these 1,000 acres was part of a larger, though little known, movement in the Mennonite Church in the late nineteenth century to settle church colonies in the post-Civil War South.
By developing the depleted soils of former plantations into successful farms and creating new Mennonite congregations, Mennonite leaders hoped to keep their church vital and growing in a time of shrinking membership. They also hoped to find a strategy for mission work in keeping with their faith. Holy Experiment: The Warwick River Mennonite Colony, 1897–1970 explores a critical period of church history through the story of the only Mennonite colony planted in the American South to survive this experiment and eventually thrive.




Author’s Preface: The Warwick River Colony Reconsidered
Introduction: Holy Experiment
  1. Mennonites on the Move (1897)
  2. Life on the Denbigh Plantation (1607–1898)
  3. Seasoning and Settling (1898–1900)
  4. Cooperation and Consolidation (1900–1910)
  5. Portrait of a Bishop (1910–1916)
  6. Youth at War (1917–1922)
  7. Meeting the World—Markets and Missions (1923–1935)
  8. Accommodations for a New Age (1930–1945)
  9. New Furrows (1945–1954)
  10. From Colony to City (1950–1970)
Afterword: What Remains
Selected Bibliography
Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History Series
The Author

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