The Budget and Community

I grew up in Pomeroy, a small farming town in the far southeastern corner of Washington State. Back then the local newspaper, The East Washingtonian, featured a column titled “Along the Party Line.” It was all about births, trips, church events, crops, weddings, and reunions. All the good gossip from a small town. Reading it gave me a warm feeling and connected me to my community, even after I moved away.

Reading the national edition of The Budget, a Plain newspaper with the motto “Serving the Amish-Mennonite Communities throughout the Americas,” gives me that same warm feeling. Scribes contribute columns from their communities on a regular basis, relaying information about births, gatherings, the weather, crops, trips, and weddings. The majority of the news is happy, although deaths, accidents, and illnesses—as in life—make up a portion of the columns.

The 40+ page weekly newspaper lists the columns geographically from well-known settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, but also from places as far away as Oregon and Washington State and even Belize.

There’s a rhythm to the columns that, even though I don’t know the people, is as familiar and comforting as news from my small town. It’s a reminder of what’s important in life—God, family, and friends. For those in the Plain communities, without the Internet and cell phones, it’s a vital source of information from faraway that fosters a sense of community throughout the western hemisphere.

The “Along the Party Line” column ended years ago so today I get my information about people from my hometown via Facebook. I’m thankful I can still witness that sense of community, in print, throughThe Budget.

Where do you find a sense of community today?

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Leslie Gould (33 Posts)

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner "The Amish Midwife", co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Her latest release is "Adoring Addie", a retelling of the “Romeo and Juliet,” the second in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. Leslie, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University in 2009 and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. She, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at


  1. The Budget reminds me of an old fashioned Facebook! Everyone tells you all the info that you may find interesting, but you may also just find it annoying they thought you might be interested in it! I always loved picking it up and reading it for hours….searching for news on anyone I knew!

  2. I would really like to read the budget all the time.

  3. We find our community in the church we helped found 40 yrs ago. It’s so wonderful to have friends who have been around since before your children were born, and to watch the children you knew as babies, as they walk into church on Sunday, leading their own little ones by the hand. Many of our friends from this church have moved to other places, but the friendship is still deep and strong, and when we see each other at reunions or funerals or weddings, we pick up where we left off. Best of all, we know we will all spend eternity together!

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