Mirror of the Martyrs


Bluffton University to host events related to “Mirror of the Martyrs” exhibit

Three events related to the “Mirror of the Martyrs” exhibit at Bluffton University will provide greater understanding of the role of Anabaptist martyrs in history and in contemporary life.

4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, Marbeck Center’s Kreider Room

Carrie Phillips, archives and special collections librarian at Bluffton University, will share “A History Dramatic and Useful: The 1748 Ephrata ‘Martyrs Mirror.’” Phillips will tell the story of the translation and publication of the 1748 “Martyrs Mirror” at Ephrata Cloister—an early American monastic community of pietist believers. Phillips will situate this remarkable publication event within the larger network of German print culture in colonial America and examines the craft and artistry displayed in this beautiful edition of “Martyrs Mirror.”

11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, Yoder Recital Hall

Isaac Villegas, pastor of Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship will present the Spiritual Life Forum, “Bearing Witness: Mary as Our Guide. Villegas will explore the ethics of embodied solidarity as displayed in the life of Mary—whose body bears witness to God’s presence in the world by giving birth to Jesus and sharing in his suffering during the crucifixion. The presentation considers depictions of Mary in social protest movements that invoke her witness through various symbolic actions—including the display of candles bearing her image.

4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, Centennial Hall’s Stutzman Lecture Hall

A Bluffton University faculty panel will present “The Nonviolent Word of God: How Anabaptists Live in the Bible.” The panel will include: Dr. Gerald J. Mast, professor of communication; Dr. Walt Paquin, associate professor of social work; Dr. J. Denny Weaver, professor emeritus of religion; and Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, assistant professor of religion. During this Colloquium presentation, four Bluffton professors across several disciplines will investigate Anabaptist understandings of the Word of God as a gentle force of creativity and care in the world—both in the Reformation era and in contemporary Mennonite theology. The panel examines three significant early Anabaptist sources of biblical knowledge and obedience: the “Ausbund” hymnbook, the Swiss Brethren concordance and the apocryphal/deuterocanonical biblical writings.

The presentations are part of a series of events that are being held in coordination with the travelling exhibit “Mirror of the Martyrs,” which will be on display from Oct. 1-Nov. 5 in the Albrecht Gallery of Bluffton’s Sauder Visual Arts Center.

This dramatic and colorful exhibit tells the story of religious conflict and violence in the Reformation era from the perspective of Anabaptist martyrs and offers one way to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. 

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-6 p.m.

The Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit is based on illustrated martyr stories from the 1685 “Martyrs Mirror,” and features eight of the original copper plates produced by Dutch artist Jan Luyken to illustrate the book. The exhibit allows visitors to learn about Mennonite religious heritage and its application to people’s contemporary lives. The award-winning exhibit was developed and produced at the Kauffman Museum in North Newton Kansas.

For more information about additional exhibit related presentations and performances visit https://www.bluffton.edu/arts/mirror/

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.