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Authors donate royalties from Amish Grace

Authors donate royalties from Amish Grace

Cathryn Clinton
January 17, 2008

AKRON, Pa. — Donald B. Kraybill, Steve Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher, authors of the book, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, donated their royalties to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

At the MCC executive committee board meeting, Donald B. Kraybill, on behalf of the three authors, presented a check for $40,000 to MCC to benefit children suffering because of poverty, war or natural disaster.

On Oct. 2, 2006, Charles Roberts entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mine, Pa., and shot 10 girls, killing five and seriously wounding the other five.

The story of forgiveness and care extended by the Amish community toward the Roberts family after the tragedy was a significant theme in the news appearing in 2,400 news stories around the world within a week of the shooting, according to Kraybill.

The authors, who had each previously published books on the Amish, decided to co-author a book about the roots of the Amish understanding of Christian forgiveness.

The Amish believe that unconditional forgiveness as expressed in the Lord's Prayer, which is central in Amish spirituality, is a cardinal teaching of Jesus. This belief prompted their immediate expression of grace in the wake of the tragedy.

According to Kraybill, the authors initially had serious apprehension about writing because they did not wish to profit from the tragedy. After conversations with Amish families concerning the dispersal of proceeds from the book, the authors decided to donate their royalties to MCC.

To date, the book has sold 50,000 copies and has received both critical acclaim and affirmation by many in the Amish community. Kraybill said royalties from future sales will also be donated to MCC.

In a letter to MCC that accompanied the check the authors state, "We have received numerous words of affirmation from readers who have appreciated the way this story has touched their lives and inspired them to be more forgiving persons."

Kraybill said that a father who lost a daughter in the incident expressed that it meant a lot to him to know that the proceeds will benefit other children, that something good is coming out of the tragedy. For more information on the book visit www.amishgrace.com.