This edition of our annual arts issue features two expansive visual essays. The first involves photographs of art and land discussed in an interview with Kansas artist Phil Epp. The discussion and images range from the aesthetics of Epp's home landscape and weather, to the story of his ventures into community-based collaborative public art, to Epp's influences and interests in art history. For another kind of visual pleasure, Mennonite Life editors are pleased to offer our online journal as a way to view a full-color edition of a nineteenth-century prayer book, introduced, translated and presented in bilingual format by Elizabeth Ginsberg.
In our ongoing project of presenting arts in multiple forms, we offer an audio version of a literary sermon. Visiting poet Jean Janzen gave the sermon "Words from the Mountain, the Fire, and the Stone" to the Bethel College Mennonite Church, on Sunday, November 2, 2003, in addition to her series of Menno Simons lectures at Bethel College from November 2-4. A text version of this meditation on mutual influences among land, language, spirituality, and scripture is included as well.
Previous issues of Mennonite Life have included vibrant debate on philosophy, Christianity, and higher education. Two further short essays are presented here in this series: "Commentary on Huebner-Nichols Discusssion" by Marion Deckert and "Is a Marriage between the Enlightenment and Christian Faith Possible?" by Paul T. Lewis. In a review article raising issues related to previous Mennonite Life debates over ongoing, contemporary processing of Anabaptist martyrs history, John Sheriff offers "History, Memory, Novel: On Rudy Wiebe's Sweeter than All the World."
Also in this issue, a poem written by Rebecca Smucker-Blick for the funeral of a parent shows an important place for the arts in the rituals of our communal lives and individual life passages. An announcement for a conference and call for papers invites readers to write about and gather to discuss the theme "Seeking the Welfare of the City: Questions of Public Peace, Justice and Order."
Of special note for the annual arts issue is the recent publication of A Capella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry, edited by Ann Hostetler of Goshen College. A review of this anthology begins our book review section, by poet Suzanne Miller. We hope to present further offerings from and about A Capella in future issues. Reviews by Harry Loewen, William H. Eash, John J. Friesen, and Patrick Preheim close this issue.