'I want to learn from our history and remind others that cultural and religious differences must not make us complicit in denying dignity and equality for all,' Leona Lortie writes. (Photo by Johannes Plenio/Pixabay)
In contemplating where our passions come from and why we do what we do, we often look to our childhoods. In my childhood, I was faced with several tensions, which formed me and led me to study history.
An accordionist serenades a literary society meeting at Chesley Lake Camp in Ontario, in 1949. Chesley Lake was the first Mennonite church camp in Ontario and one of the first in Canada. Literary societies were common in Ontario Mennonite churches at the time, as social outlets and avenues for artistic expression.
Why do you travel? For fun, to learn, to connect? All three combined for Dorothy, Lorna and Gertrude Bergey as they joined a Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario bus tour to Pennsylvania in May 1983. Here, they stand in front of the Pennsylvania home of European emigrant Hans Ulrich Bergey in Salford. In 1897, Pennsylvanian David H.
Gerald Neufeld and his father Henry share a passion for linking families from First Nation communities within the Berens River watershed in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario with archival photographs of their ancestors.
To encourage women to enter church-related work, the General Conference Mennonite Church began the “Women in Church Vocations” program in 1957. Pictured, Elmer Ediger discusses the new program with interested young women at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg.
Did your summer include a bicycle trip? In 1891, 19-year-old Fred Coffman, far left, his brother William, and their friends Abram and Aaron Kolb biked more than 700 kilometres from Elkhart, Ind., to Niagara Falls, Ont. Fred would become Bishop S.F. Coffman, an influential Ontario Mennonite leader. Abram would become a publisher of Mennonite periodicals, choir director and hymnwriter.
Johnny Kehler, left, with his plane and George Groening, at Matheson Island, Man. Groening grew up near Lowe Farm, Man., and served the Mennonite church community for decades. As a long-serving leader, he not only witnessed change but instituted changes as well.
Moments in time can change the course of history. Decisions made in Russia in the years following the Russian Revolution in 1917 changed life for thousands of Mennonite families.
Malcolm and Esther Wenger moved to the town of Selkirk, Man., in 1979. Malcolm worked for the Conference of Mennonites in Canada’s Native Ministries program and pastored the small Selkirk Christian Fellowship. Pictured, Malcolm baptizes Gillian Thororanson at Patricia Beach, Man., on July 22, 1979.
Some churches have a mirror in their cloak rooms. You might want to check your reflection before going in to worship. In older, more formal times, you might have combed your hair or adjusted your tie.
Frank H. Epp works on The Canadian Mennonite on a manual typewriter in the 1950s. Notice the landline telephone on the wall in the background. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)
Frank H. Epp served as editor of The Canadian Mennonite from 1953 to 1967 and Mennonite Reporter from 1971 to 1973. (Canadian Mennonite file photo)
Larry Kehler served as editor of The Canadian Mennonite from 1967 to 1971. (Canadian Mennonite file photo)
Karen Bowman works on a photo-typesetter. Between 1971 and 1988 stories were typed on this machine and strips of copy were literally cut and pasted into position on the layout sheets. (Canadian Mennonite file photo)
Mennonite Reporter staff circa 1990 include, from left to right: Karen Bowman, office and circulation manager; Ron Rempel, editor; Margaret Loewen Reimer, associate editor; and Ferne Burkhardt, editorial and production assistant. (Canadian Mennonite file photo)
Clockwise from front right: editor/publisher Tim Miller Dyck; editorial assistant Barb Draper; managing editor Margaret Loewen Reimer; office manager Natasha Krahn; and ad sales rep Barb Burkholder. (2004 Canadian Mennonite file photo)
In March 2009, board chair Larry Cornies (left) thanked outgoing editor/publisher Tim Miller Dyck and presented him with one of the six bound volumes of Canadian Mennonite that he helped to create. (Canadian Mennonite file photo)
This month marks the 65th anniversary of English-language magazine publishing for Mennonites in Canada.
“Groups keep pleading for Peace Factory,” said a Mennonite Central Committee memo in 1996. An interactive exhibit, Peace Factory was a cooperative Mennonite project. Its goal was to “help all Christians connect their faith in God with a life of peacemaking.” In 1997, it toured southwestern Ontario.
In northern Manitoba, winter travel in the 1960s was by snowmobile and summer travel was by boat. This early snowmobile was made by Ingham Brothers of Lanigan, Sask. The seat and steering at the front were connected to the frame and motor at the back by hinges on the runners. It was propelled by a metal cleat track. (Photo courtesy of Henry Neufeld)
Elna and Henry Neufeld are pictured in front of the Moose Lake School in 1952. (Photo courtesy of Henry Neufeld)
“Never a teacher,” I declared from the time I was in public school, growing up in the Leamington district of southwestern Ontario.
A lonely bridge over a creek near Winkler, Man., in 1907. A humble structure, but so very important. Bridges connected farmers to markets, children to schools, families to church, and pregnant women to midwives. Many of the everyday things that we use are humble pieces that someone has expended effort to make.
George Neufeld worked in England, France and Germany after the Second World War, from 1946 to 1948. He wrote in his diary on Monday, Jan 7, 1946: “Received letter from Helene dated Dec. 6. I wonder what all has happened since then.” Sunday, Jan; 13: “Wrote a 20-page letter to Helene. Am lonesome for her.” Monday, Jan.
George Bryant (standing) was a long way from the home of his birth when he posed with the Katie and Christian Bender family in about 1917. George was a British home child who arrived from Liverpool in 1907 and was sent to Stratford, Ont., for “distribution” to a local family. He believed his mother had died, but as an adult he discovered she was alive.
Old black and white photos often leave us with the impression that past generations were dour, ridged, thought in terms of black and white, and had no fun. But the technology of photography has done us a disservice in masking some of the character of the past. Life was lived in full colour, was complex with multiple hues, people had a sense of humour, and had fun. This photo came from John P.
The Epp Garage in Fiske, Sask., suffered a devastating fire. When material, like this photograph, comes to the archives with little or no information, we can often learn about it from its context—the other “stuff” that comes with it. But in this case there was no contextual information. We don’t know the family, owner, photographer or date, to help us fully identify this photo.
At Bluffton (Ohio) University’s Musselman Library, archivist Carrie Phillips stores seven copies of the 1748 edition of the Ephrata Martyrs Mirror in boxes specially designed to keep them preserved. But this year, Phillips had multiple opportunities to take the books off the shelf and showcase both their religious and historical significance during presentations on and off campus.
Mary and Emery Ens, at the pulpit, reflect on life in the old Zoar Mennonite Church building in Langham, Sask. Sheila Wiens Neufeld is seated at the piano and Valerie Wiebe is standing beside the piano. (Photo courtesy of Zoar Mennonite Church)
“We celebrated 108 years of life in that building,” said Ed Bueckert, referring to Zoar Mennonite Church’s sanctuary in Langham, which faces imminent closure.