Get the Best Free Anabaptist Christian Resources at CommonWord

Last week I made a quick trip to Winnipeg for Future Directions Task Force meetings where I stayed on campus at Canadian Mennonite University, so of course I needed to visit the new CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre.


For those who can drop by in person, CommonWord is a great place to browse for books, gifts, and fairly traded products from Ten Thousand Villages, plus you can treat yourself to coffee, tea, or other beverages and snacks at the nearby folio cafe (which, by the way, selects one of four precise water temperatures to brew your chosen tea, and I must say, my mint tea was perfect).


Even if you’re nowhere near Winnipeg, you can still make good use of CommonWord:

#1 CommonWord is a unique combination of library-bookstore.

Before you buy, you can preview resources. The regular loan period is 4 weeks by mail, with 3 weeks for new and seasonal materials, 6 weeks for extended loans. This summer, I hope to try their Cheaper by the Dozen loan option to borrow 12 books for 6 weeks.

#2 CommonWord is a curated collection of Anabaptist and related materials.

Browse various topics like: Anabaptist/Mennonite, Bible/Theology, Christian Formation, Congregational Life, Indigenous-Settler Relations, Mission, Peace, Worship.

This monthly newsletter comes packed with information on available resources. It’s really too much to absorb at once, so I usually give it a quick scan, highlight whatever I want to follow up, and save for later. Get your copy by subscribing by email here.

#4 Besides the books available for loan and purchase, CommonWord resources include several thousand free downloads.

I’ve downloaded worship materials submitted by other pastors and churches, followed up links to blogs and YouTube videos, for both seasonal and more general use. I’m already looking forward to using Elsie Rempel’s new study guide on communion practices, Come Lord Jesus, Be Our Host.

#5 Best of all, CommonWord is a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada, so all this is available at no extra charge to Mennonite Church Canada members.

For others with a Canadian address, CommonWord memberships with full borrowing privileges are available for $30/year. Unfortunately, loans cannot be made outside of the country, but those with USA or other international addresses can still access the CommonWord website.

While I was at CommonWord, I couldn’t resist taking this picture of my Sacred Pauses on the same shelf as Jamie Arpin-Ricci’s Vulnerable Faith and Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday–wow, what great company!


And not to be outdone, Ordinary Time with Jesus was in the store too.


Since Spark: Igniting Your God-Given Creativity is just being released, CommonWord doesn`t list it yet, but it should be there soon! [p.s. added June 19, 2015: click here for Spark now on CommonWord]  

What about you–are you a CommonWord fan? What’s your best source for Anabaptist and other Christian resources?

17 thoughts on “Get the Best Free Anabaptist Christian Resources at CommonWord

  1. Thanks so much for your good work on the Task Force, as well as this fine blog on Common Word and for your recommendation of my “Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest”.

    1. You’re welcome, Elsie – I’ve already recommended your communion resource to another pastor who was asking me about our communion practice. I think both her congregation and ours will find it useful. I appreciate your putting it together along with other resource materials for families and churches. Thank you!

    1. And that’s why we need proofreaders, right 🙂
      Seriously, I’d love to talk with you about your writing/publishing experiences sometime–maybe you’ll be writing at folio cafe the next time I’m in Winnipeg, and I can interrupt you….

    1. My pleasure – CommonWord is in the newest building on campus that’s been named Marpeck Commons, which also houses the library for Canadian Mennonite University and various meeting rooms. I didn’t have time to have a good look at the library, but the book shelves are on rolling book cases which means they take up less floor space than they might otherwise. I hope to try them out for myself the next time I’m there.

  2. I use their online resources quite often as well as ordering books to borrow by mail (I live in Ontario). It is a great resource even if you don’t live in Winnipeg! I do hope to get to visit in person one day though.

    1. That’s great,Wendy. Since I’m in BC, I don’t often order books–even though there’s no cost for shipping, it takes extra time to pack up and ship materials, so I more often use the online resources. I especially appreciate the worship and other resources that have been created for a particular congregation and then shared through CommonWord. It’s great to see what other churches are doing and to be inspired by their example, and when I use or adapt something, I always credit the original source as a way to give credit where credit is due and to encourage a sense of community between my own congregation and the wider church.

  3. What a great idea. I hope to visit again some day. Things have changed a lot at CMU in the last twenty years.

    I wonder if this idea will migrate anywhere in the US?

    Most college bookstores here are outsourced — affiliates of large chains.

  4. Thanks, April, for your visit and wonderful blog – with you, we think CommonWord is a unique, special place – in person, or online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.