By: Jeanette Baer Showalter – Warwick River Tide, March-April 2017
This May will mark 120 years since Isaac Hertzler and D. Z. Yoder met with Dr. Young to take a look at the 1200 acre tract of land along the shores of the Warwick River. They came to a place called Denbigh in a county that no longer exists―Warwick County. They saw wooded land and fields, a shoreline along the sparkling river waters, and a scattering of families living in and around the county seat. They obviously liked what they saw and envisioned a future for the Mennonites in this southern land.
What would they see today? The city that swallowed up the county has continued to grow and diversify. The Warwick Courthouse still sits as a monument to that time long ago, but the way of life has changed dramatically. The Colony along the Warwick is as diverse as the city around it. Some may even question if the Colony still exists. But they are not the ones living here today. For some here, it exists in the mind’s eye, their memories alive and well. For others it is a physical place, a very real community of believers willing to expand to encompass others around them. It is this spirit of the Colony that remains real to those who live here.
I believe what Isaac Hertzler and D.Z. Yoder saw that day when Dr. Young showed them the land, was not just what was physically apparent to the eye; they were gifted with the ability to see far beyond and envision what God had in store for this group of colonists. What would they see today? They would see growth, development, and the potential for more followers of Christ―a land ripe for harvest in so many ways.
Reprinted with permission of the Warwick River Tide from Vol. 70, Issue 2, March-April 2017.