Foundations for a Strong Future
Healthy organizations spend a significant amount of time anticipating and planning for the future. This planning is likely to be more effective when the leaders of the organization understand and build on its foundations. At Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) we are fortunate to have strong and durable foundations.
It is the faith of the Anabaptist reformers of the 16th century that gave rise to a Mennonite people-group and a Mennonite culture. The faith of these people gave them the courage to adopt practices which were out of step with the practices of the church and government of that day and to face persecution and martyrdom because of it. Choices such as re-baptism as adults and refusal to become involved in armed conflict were very costly for some.
It was faith that prompted people to immigrate to new lands and endure the hardships of pioneering in those new lands. On more than one occasion, these Mennonites settled in areas that were inhospitable and undeveloped, resulting in extreme hardships. Many of the earliest Mennonite settlers in Canada spent at least one winter living in a Semlin, a small sod hut partly submerged in the ground. One need only step into our replica Semlin at the museum to imagine and appreciate the challenges of a large family spending the entire winter there.
Family has typically been foundational in Mennonite life and culture. Privileges negotiated with the government of their migration destination typically included the freedom to provide and control the education of their children, including language and religious education. When Mennonites in Canada lost this freedom in the early twentieth century, many chose to migrate to a new land where it could again be ensured. This time they established colonies in Mexico and Paraguay.
Today MHV structures itself as a family-friendly museum, designed to provide quality family education and entertainment.
Mennonites embrace numerous models of community. When the first immigrants arrived from Russia in the 1800s, their normal settlement pattern was the formation of villages. This naturally created a community of families who supported one another by providing goods and services within the village but also by simply being neighbourly and supportive to any in need.
The church has been a key gathering place and community for Mennonites for centuries. It has been, and in many cases continues to be, the place where people meet to celebrate births, baptisms, and marriages and to offer hope to those who are sorrowing. At times and in certain circles, the church also managed some of the group’s resources to provide for widows and orphans.
Mennonite Heritage Village is undergirded by a community of people who value their roots and sense the importance of preserving the stories of their forebears so that children and young people can learn from these stories. MHV also serves the greater surrounding community as an educational institution, a playground, and a venue for meetings and social gatherings.
On the durable strength of its foundation, MHV is poised to build and experience a strong future.
Calendar of Events
July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)
August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12
September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)
September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament
September 20 – Supper From the Field