The Curator started in the early days of 2017 as a motley and disorganized group of amateur Anabaptist writers. We were bothered by the lack of quality writing in Anabaptist circles. Realizing that one factor was a lack of publications who were focusing on quality writing, we decided to found a publication, which we named the Curator.

Several months later, on May 24, we started out by publishing a weekly poem. Our first poem was “A Child of Wonder,” by Gloria Kurtz (now Lehman).

A little over a year later, on August 18, 2018, we held our first event, a poetry reading at the Rabbit and Dragonfly cafe in Lancaster, PA (since closed and re-opened). These poetry readings have continued with varying degrees of regularity ever since.

In 2019, we branched out into two further directions. We held a Literature Camp over the first weekend in August. Lit Camp has become our signature annual event, and draws together enthusiastic writers and readers alike from all over the U.S. and several other countries. Each time, we strengthen it based on our attendees’ feedback, and constantly strive to make it a place where those who love literature can be at home. At our first Lit Camp in 2019, we officially announced our first Leaf journal, which saw five annual issues before we began plans for publishing more permanent books.

From the beginning of the Curator, art mattered as well as writing. We paired each weekly poem with an excellent photograph by Kenneth Godoy. In our Leaf, we pushed for quality photography and visual art.

Over Covid-19, we held a series of Sunday afternoon Zoom lectures and discussions. We’ve held some sets of literature and writing classes on Zoom as well, one series in 2021 and one in 2024.

One of our latest developments is a seminar, first held in 2023, which digs into literary texts and philosophical issues. Lord willing, this will become an annual event as well.

That’s not to say that we haven’t made our mistakes throughout the years. We’ve brainstormed for many ideas that turned out to be duds and have long been forgotten. We’ve developed many projects that turned out to be too soon, like our blog and like our story publication Nettlesome. But we have ideas in the works to revitalize these projects in a sustainable way.

Over the years following our first weekly poem, different ones of us have earned college degrees, moved to other communities, and started families. We’ve added other people to the team to fill out places where we were lacking. It’s sometimes hard to tell who’s on our team and who isn’t, given the many people who volunteer their time for our projects or who are constant fixtures at our events. That’s the way we like it.

We aren’t here to stagnate, but to grow and to serve our communities. We believe that an organization that emphasizes quality writing can help strengthen Anabaptist communities from the ground up, as well as benefit the Christian community as a whole, as well as anyone else who loves beauty and goodness. That’s who we want to be. Over the years, we’ve become less disorganized and less amateur, but we’ve stayed the motley crowd we were in the beginning, creating an organization that transcends boundaries but is nonetheless dedicated to the spiritual and intellectual life of every one of our communities.

Currently (in the beginning of 2024), we are working on multiple ideas for expanding what we’ve done before, including plans for helping to kick-start organizations that focus in other areas of the humanities and arts. Stay tuned to hear more!