The Peace and Anabaptist Library is a 1,000-volume collection focusing on the subjects of Anabaptism, Mennonite history and theology, pacifism, nonviolent resistance and community.
Emerging out of a long-standing Mennonite ministry in New York City, the library seeks to support peacemaking on a personal, local, and global level as well as to stimulate a radical interpretation of the gospel. The goals of this Biblically grounded peace institution are to:
- Build up a basic library of writings in English and Spanish on Anabaptist and Mennonite theology, community, and the teaching and practice of Christian pacificism
- Develop both a popular, practical collection intended for people involved with the churches in the greater New York City area, Menno House residents and guests, and the inquiring public as well as a scholarly collection intended for seminarians, peace activists, and university students.
The library is housed on the first floor of Menno House, a residence and guest house owned by Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship. People interested in using the Peace and Anabaptist Library should call the Fellowship office at 212-673-7970 to make an appointment. Books in the collection that are designated as circulating may be checked out for a period of one month.
In the early 1980s, a number of factors increased New York City Mennonites’ commitment to the peacemaking nature of the gospel. A small peace library was begun in the Bronx office of the Mennonite Church and a peace education fund was implemented by the New York Mennonite Council. Added to this was the hope of beginning a Mennonite elementary school and an urban learning and mission center. Individuals and groups in the larger church showed an interest in Biblically grounded peacemaking. All of these factors contributed towards the desire for a local resource library.
In 1994, the Council approved a proposal that it begins a popular and scholarly library focused on Anabaptism and peace to be housed in Menno House. The wider Mennonite church responded with moral support and funding for the Peace and Anabaptist Library to begin. Donations of books began to arrive and renovations to the living room of Menno House provided the necessary shelving for the first phase of the library. By far the most significant contribution came from Gerald Studer. It consisted of a comprehensive collection of basic Anabaptist writings and subsequent Mennonite theology and history in the United States from the Colonial era to the present.
By this time, a library committee of interested local Mennonites was formed to guide the project. The Mennonite Council donated its entire Peace Education Fund to make book purchases and staffing possible.