ErvinStutzman_aboutErvin R. Stutzman retired after 8 years as Executive Director for Mennonite Church USA. Before taking on this role in January 2010, he served for nearly 12 years as a Professor of Church Ministries and then Dean at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va. He has also served the Mennonite Church in the roles of pastor, district overseer, missions administrator, conference moderator and, from 2001 to 2003, as moderator for Mennonite Church USA.

Ervin graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University. He holds master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He received his Ph.D. from Temple University. His master’s thesis at Eastern Mennonite Seminary was “Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church: Appropriating Scriptural Truth Through Communal Discernment.” For his doctoral dissertation he wrote “From Nonresistance to Peace and Justice: Mennonite Peace Rhetoric, 1951-1991.”

Ervin was born a twin into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa. After his father’s death a few years later, his mother moved the family to her home community near Hutchinson, Kan. Ervin was baptized in the Center Amish Mennonite Church near Partridge. Later, he joined the Yoder Mennonite Church.

Ervin married Bonita Haldeman of Manheim, Pa. Together they served for five years with Rosedale Mennonite Missions in Cincinnati, part of that time in voluntary service. Ervin was ordained to serve as co-pastor of Mennonite Christian Assembly. From there, the Stutzmans moved to Pennsylvania, where they were members of the Mount Joy Mennonite Church.

They currently live in Harrisonburg, Va., and are members of Park View Mennonite Church, where Ervin regularly teaches a men’s Bible study.

Ervin is a preacher, teacher and a writer for Herald Press. His early publications include Being God’s People, a study for new believers, Creating Communities of the Kingdom (co-authored with David Shenk), Welcome!, a book encouraging the church to welcome new members. His two books of family history are Tobias of the Amish, a story of his father’s life and community, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish, the story of his mother. His latest publications include a scholarly study of the church’s conversation about peace, called From Nonresistance to Justice: The Transformation of Mennonite Church Peace Rhetoric 1908-2008 (2011), and Jacob’s Choice (2014), a historical novel about an early immigrant ancestor.

Ervin enjoys doing woodworking projects in partnership with Bonita. They have three adult children, Emma, Daniel and Benjamin and are the grandparents of Eva and Felix.

Part of Ervin’s Life Purpose Statement reads: In response to God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I purpose to follow after God with all my heart … so that God may be glorified in my life at all times and in every way.

23 thoughts on “About

  1. Ervin, Thanks for your uplifting article in today’s t-mail. Richard Foster’s six traditions are helpful to remember the wide range of Christian life and to take action to experience more fully life with Christ. My wife Carol and I pray for you often. Jon Fielitz

  2. I began reading Jacob’s Choice because it relates the story of my ancestor. Jacob is my 7th great grandfather and I descend through Barbara. I wasn’t prepared for how reading the story would effect me. I knew the story but reading it in novel form really made my ancestors become real for me. After reading the chapter on the “incident” I found myself weaping for my family. Thank you for writing this book! I am in the process of writing a family history book about my father’s side of the family (Jacob’s line) and this helps me put this part of the history in perspective. I am grateful. God bless!

  3. Enjoyed reading “Jacob’s Choice”. Plan to read more of your works. My wife and I are Presbyterians in our early 70’s who attend the Massanetta Bible Conference almost every summer. Perhaps we might see you in person sometime.
    Will and Carolyn

  4. Enjoyed Jacob’s Choice. I too am related to Jacob through 4 different ancestors. Two through Barbara and two through John. I noticed in the book you refer to Lizzie Detweiler as Jacobs wife, is this a fictional name as I have never run across it in my family history searches. Thank you

  5. Hello sir. In Chapter 13 of Welcome!, you mention the following: “In contrast to the first two examples. Communion Fellowship has a decidedly more structured and firm membership policy. To become a member, a person must accept six months’ probation and sign a commitment form. In addition, each prospective member must attend a 12-week Christian basics class, then join a small nurture group.”

    Where is Communion Fellowship located?

  6. Having read your book about Emma, “A Widow Among the Amish”, I would like to know more about the following subjects in the book:
    1) What is Tomato Gravy and how is it made?
    2) How do you can beef?
    3) How were the folding Tomato Cages made?
    > > I stopped the use of Aluminum Pots at least 30 years ago after reading an article that described how aluminum flakes off when stirring with metal utensils and how the particles then travel to the brain and stay there. In my mind at the time, I felt that it had something to do with short circuiting the brain, and later attributed it to possible Alzheimer’s. We still use aluminum foil on occasions as long as it is not damaged in any way and feel that it safe when used properly.
    >> I am 72 years young and am quite active at home, cooking & baking, and gardening.
    >> I would appreciate a response for the three items listed, especially some detail on how your father made the tomato cages.

  7. Erv and Bonnie, we are praising your leadership for the trip to Israel/Palestine sooo much, we’ll probably soon be told “Enough already!! You already told us that!!”

    It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience – but we’d love to do it all again, and the sooner the better! Thanks for your input, your leadership, your patience with those of us in the “low mobility” category, and the pace of each day. Speaking for my knees which shriek quite easily, you lead a trip that was easily do-able and most enjoyable. Thank you MUCH!

  8. Just finished rading Jacob’s Choice. Excellent book. I just gave five stars to Amazon book review. Don’t know if they will show it , probably place it under unverified purchase. Got the book from Mary Etta Yoder who is a dear friend of mine. Her maiden name was Hochstetler and her father was raised Amish and later became Mennonite. Loved the ending, you really nailed it.

    1. Thanks, Floyd, for your affirmation. I love hearing from readers like you. And I suppose you know there are two more books in the series–Joseph’s Dilemma and Christian’s Hope. They are available from Amazon and other places.

  9. I saw a TV show about Katey Sagel on Who Do You Think You Are with Ervin Statzman and that amazing story from her past. As a Mennonite Brethren from Canada I come how connected with Ervin and now are excited about reading his books.

    1. Thanks, John, for your comment. It was exciting to be on the program with Katey Sagal. I was surprised and pleased by her interest in our common ancestor’s story.

  10. Dear Ervin, I felt compelled to leave a comment of gratitude after I just, a moment ago, finished the last page of your book, Emma. I enjoyed reading this piece of living art about your mom and family. It was so well written and would completely take me out of my day and place me right in yours!! Thank you again and take care.
    Renae Graff

  11. Dear Dr. Stuzman,

    As my wife and I seek to do God’s will, your book is playing a role in our calling to help African pastors who seek formal, biblical education but have previously had no means by which to receive such training. I don’t know if you are aware that your book, Creating Communities of the Kingdom, is a part of the library for the TUMI Curriculum. TUMI provides certified seminary training for urban pastors and has been changing lives for decades in America and we are now trying to establish as many pastoral training centers for the impoverished pastors of Africa as we are able to find qualified instructors for. God has provided eight such men to this point, but getting a physical book library of 62 titles to Africa has proven very costly. In fact, by the time we consider freight and customs, the cost is prohibitive.

    As a solution, we are moving toward a digital option that allows us to load the entire curriculum and library on Amazon Fire 7 Tablets and the Kindle platform. We are raising the money with fellow believers to buy the eventual 320 Tablets and books and will take them via suitcase in November to equip the schools for 40 students per year per class. We need to purchase the devices and download the books ASAP. In doing so, we have run into a snag in loading the tablets: each book has a limit per account of the number of licenses per book. This is totally understandable, but since the limit for many is six, then for every six tablets we must establish a new email, then a new amazon account, then load new payment options, then add the tax-free certificate, then repurchase all the books again online for the six devices allowed, and, finally, remove all the payment information.

    These time-consuming extra steps could be avoided if you would simply go into the Amazon system and allow 100 licenses to be added per book. I know I am in effect asking you for a donation. My hope is you might see it as an honor to be part of this work. However, if you do not feel called to such a donation, would you be willing to extend the license and let me send you a direct check for the actual amount of money you would be forgoing? The time and administrative effort that you would be saving us would be very helpful since we don’t have a staff for Maqor Ministries beyond myself and my kids. Pastor Boaz Masinde and Maurice Omulubi just returned to Africa after attending a church-planting seminar and speaking for our fundraising dinner in our Waco home and they could not be more enthusiastic. They are driven to equip African pastors to spread the gospel and provide their flocks with biblically sound doctrine. They feel proper biblical training of pastors will lead to revival in Africa and beyond.

    Please let me know your decision as soon as possible as we need to get this all of this finished before we go to Kenya in November. The schools will in turn start in January.

    God bless and with great respect,

    Scott J. Salmans
    Cell 254-715-1750

    1. Dear Scott:

      I would like to respond to your request, but I’m not sure about the permissions from my publisher. I notified them several days ago, and am still waiting for confirmation.


  12. Mr. Stuzman: After a 32 year career in the public school system, I an now a halftime Pastor for Seniors here at Morden Mennonite Church in Manitoba, Canada. I just read your entry – “Preaching Grace to Hardworking People” – in the book “Anabaptist Preaching”, edited by Greiser and King. I found the article very thought-provoking. I found a number of the phrases you used in the article very interesting – eg. – “recovering Pharisee”, “holy coincidences” and “the different stages of conversion”. Regarding the last one: I like the idea of “stages of conversion” (p. 210), and agree with the concept as I understand it. I’m interested in hearing you elaborate on it. Would you be able to outline the steps or stages? Would you call it an Anabaptist concept? I suspect our more “evangelical” sisters and brothers might take exception to the concept. After all, doesn’t for them conversion imply, and maybe the word means a COMPLETE CHANGE where “all things HAVE BECOME new”?

  13. I came across “Emma” in my thrift store the other day. What a blessing it turned out to be. Emma was one in a million, raising that lovely family alone. What a tribute you are to her. Amish novels are a favorite of mine but your book was very different from the usual. Your writing style is unique and your research complete. I thank you for sharing your story with us. Emma’s strength inspires your readers. It strikes me that each of you were born with that genetic tendency of hard work, common sense and talent. God bless all of precious Emma’s descendants. Your dad passed a lot of ambition on to his children. Love in Christ.

    1. Thanks, Vivian, for your kind words. It means a lot to me.

      Have you read my book Tobias, which is the book about my father? It is written in a similar way and would likely be available at a thrift store as well.

  14. Hi Dr. Stutzman,

    I pray things are going well with you! I am interested in speaking with you about the possibility of being the keynote speaker for our pastor/spouse retreat at Spruce Lake Retreat. We are a Mennonite camp and conference center in the Poconos of PA. This retreat is an annual retreat that we host for our local pastors in the NY, NJ, and PA area. These pastors are not just from Mennonite congregations, but various evangelical congregations. We offer four main sessions and then some breakout sessions and I would be interested in speaking with you about speaking in those four main sessions. The dates for the retreat are February 28-March 2nd, 2022. I hope to hear from you soon!

  15. Dr. Stutzman,

    Hello from Iowa! I am reaching out on behalf of badangleevents.org to inquire about your interest in being part of a reading and book signing event. Dates and details are yet to be determined. Please reply if you have any interest in exploring this possibility.
    Thanks for your consideration,

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