Russell Mennonite group
keeps long-running
Northampton tradition



Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A group of two dozen religious Mennonites in plain dresses and clothing sang in praise of Jesus on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday evening — the latest evening of song in a long-running tradition of visiting the city.

Ronald Hess, a spokesman for the group, handed out free CDs as Reuben Leinback and Joe Kurtz took turns leading the others in song.

Hess said the group’s members learned to sing when they were in the first grade or earlier, adding, “so singing is a big part of our life.”

The group, based in Russell, is part of the national church of Mennonites — and they travel often, according to Hess.

Once each year, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the group goes to New York City to sing for the families who lost loved ones, he said.

The group comes to Northampton once each month, on the third Wednesday, to sing outside in the evening for about an hour, weather permitting.

“About 10 years ago, we started coming to Northampton and did street meetings and we found a welcoming audience,” he said.

People usually stop by and watch or sing along, he said.

The group likes singing, but their main goal is to spread the message of Jesus, he said.

“I know that there’s lots of people who have hard lives and are very sad — you can see it in people’s faces that they are sad, and Jesus would have everyone to be joyful and happy, and we just want to carry that message,” he said.

He added that all are welcome to join them at their Russell church at at 400 Huntington Rd., Sundays at 10 a.m.

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at deisen@gazettenet.com.


 


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