Streetscape of Nipawin, Sask., in the 1920s. Mennonites first began moving to Lost River in the Rural Municipality of Nipawin in the early 1900s. By 1906, they were meeting in homes for worship. In 1913, Bishop Abraham Doerksen of the Manitoba Sommerfeld Mennonite Church travelled to the Nipawin area, where he baptized 42 people and ordained Aron Doerksen and Abram R. Bergen as pastors.
In 1893, Kitchener, Ont., businessman Jacob Y. Shantz secured land from the government and railway, and he promoted the Didsbury, Alta., settlement to eastern Mennonites.
The Brodsky estate of Peter and Marie Bahnmann. (Photo from The Russian Mennonite Story: The Heritage Cruise Lectures. www.therussianmennonitestory.com)
This adorable, and very formal, group is the “graduating class” of the Steinmann Mennonite Church Kindergarten in Baden, Ont., in 1964. The Kindergarten was started in 1962 by the married couples fellowship at Steinmann. Enrolment in the first year was 23; by 1964, it was 58.
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.
Seven women ages 16–22 were baptized at a nearby pool the day the European leaders visited Mennonites in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)
In a region of Ukraine that thousands of Mennonites left generations ago, two dozen of today’s Mennonite leaders from across Europe gathered for three days of fellowship in October 2018.
Some members of the seventh Mennonite World Conference Presidium, held in Kitchener, Ont., from Aug. 1 to 7, 1962. Pictured from left to right: Paul Showalter of Germany; Hendrik W. Meihuizen of the Netherlands; Erland Waltner of Elkhart, Ind.; Peter Wiens of Paraguay; Harold S. Bender of Goshen, Ind.; and Jesse B. Martin of Kitchener. (David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)
Harold S. Bender of Goshen, Ind., speaking at the Church and State study event, which he chaired. The event, held in 1957 at Chicago Temple Methodist Church, was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee Peace Section. (The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo )
H.G. Mannhardt was a Mennonite pastor and writer in northeastern Germany during the First World War. He espoused the values of German nationalism and exceptionalism that were prevalent in his day. (Mennonite Library and Archives/Bethel College)
As a minister of the Mennonite church in Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland), Hermann Gottlieb Mannhardt knew how to challenge and encourage his congregants in matters of faith and moral conduct. He also knew how to energize a crowd in matters related to politics and patriotism.
As the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, staff at the state archives in Odessa, Ukraine, worked diligently to microfilm Russian Mennonite documents in its possession. Collected by Peter J.
During the Second World War, Canadian conscientious objectors (COs) planted 17 million trees in British Columbia between 1942 and1944. Some COs questioned the use of working in the “bush.” Pictured from left to right: Frank Dyck, Jacob Wiebe, Menno Wiebe and Rudy Regehr returned to Campbell River, B.C., in 1966 to see the trees that they had planted.
Historian Laureen Harder-Gissing does not want to be heard saying, “You should know your history,” the way someone might say, “You should eat your vegetables.”
She does not want people to feel badly if they do not know their history; she just wants it to be available at those “points in our lives when the past will suddenly matter,” and we want to know the larger story we fit into.
Every year on the Sunday closest to January 21, Mennonite World Conference (MWC) invites its 107 member churches to join in a celebration of World Fellowship Sunday. (See the 2019 worship resources here.)
Oil lamps light the sanctuary of the little church as guests arrive to experience ‘Christmas by lamplight.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Guests arriving for ‘Christmas by lamplight’ at the Mennonite Heritage Museum’s church building in Rosthern, Sask. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Guests enjoy singing carols, listening to stories, drinking hot chocolate and eating peppernuts at the Mennonite Heritage Museum’s ‘Christmas by Lamplight.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Old-fashioned oil lamps graced each windowsill in the tiny sanctuary, their steady flames bathing the room in warm light as people filed into the pews. The people came to experience “Christmas by lamplight.”
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.
Mennonites in Canada today are a diverse group, and the old stereotype of Mennonites as German-speaking agrarian people fits only a small part of the picture.
Among the voluminous lists of those disappeared during the dark times in what is now Ukraine, researchers have found roughly 400 pages of Mennonite names, with five or six names per page. That is just for Zaporizhzhia province. The lists for all Ukrainian provinces are available online, though printed in Cyrillic script.
Although Bruce Guenther set out to write a biography of his grandfather, Herman D.W. Friesen, it turned out to be more of a history of the Old Colony Mennonites in the Hague-Osler area of Saskatchewan.
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.
“Pfeffernusse,” Dora repeated after me in amazement! She couldn’t believe that my Christmas treats were the same as hers.
It was Nov. 7, 2002, and we were sitting around the pool at Toddy’s Backpacker Hostel in Alice Springs, Australia. Nostalgia crept among us; we had wandered far and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.
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.
Public recognition of the traditional territory of First Nation groups that were signatories to specific treaties is a fairly new concept in Canada.
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.
Uzbekistan hosts Mr. and Mrs. Karimov, standing, share warm hospitality with a TourMagination group visiting Serabulak. Mr. Karimov is a descendant of a merchant who gave Mennonite pilgrims a farewell gift of money and other gifts. (TourMagination photo by John Sharp)
Historical experiences of ordinary people living out their faith were shared at a travelogue presentation of Russian Mennonite migrations in Europe and Central Asia.
“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.
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.