Mennonite Historical Society of Canada
Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is an institutional member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada (MHSC). Society members gathered in Calgary January 18–20 for committee and board meetings, as well as the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Approximately 25 representatives from British Columbia to Quebec participated in these meetings.
The objectives of the MHSC are “to carry out activities that aid in the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Mennonites in Canada, and to work together with other national and international organizations to aid in the preservation and interpretation of the history of Mennonites worldwide.” Examples of projects the society has either initiated or supported include: The initiation of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO), a rich online resource for Mennonite and Anabaptist history; the development and maintenance of the Mennonite Archival Image Database (MAID), an online database of historical images, available to researchers as well as the general public; and the granting of Awards of Excellence to individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the preservation and interpretation of Mennonite and Anabaptist history.
MHSC’s membership includes provincial Mennonite historical societies, Mennonite church conferences, and other related institutions such as Mennonite Heritage Archives, Mennonite Heritage Village, and Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies. The annual membership gatherings give individual representatives the opportunity to develop relationships which facilitate networking beyond the meeting days.
The Mennonite Archival Image Database is a relatively new initiative. The database itself is still being built, and users are still learning how to use it. The annual MHSC gathering provides opportunities for user training as well as further development of the system.
This year’s MHSC Award of Excellence was given to Henry D. and Erna Goerzen from Alberta. Both were present to receive the award. They have been active in preserving archival materials for the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta. Their past contributions include the securing of a steel grain bin against moisture and rodents, then building shelves inside for the storage of archival material until a more suitable place was found. Henry also travelled in Alberta to document stories of conscientious objectors, some of which were later published in the book Alternative Service for Peace in Canada During World War II, 1941-1946.
The MHSC Executive Committee elected at the recent meeting is almost identical to last year’s committee. Royden Loewen – Chair; Richard Thiessen – Vice Chair; Alf Redekopp – Secretary; Conrad Stoesz – Treasurer; and Barb Draper – Member-at-Large. We appreciate the time and talent these people bring to their roles in order to maintain a functioning society.
The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada is now fifty years old and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at its next AGM, to be held in Winnipeg in November of this year. To help celebrate this milestone, the Center for Transnational Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg will collaborate with MHSC to stage a 50th anniversary conference around the theme A People of Diversity: Mennonites in Canada since 1970.
The MHSC is a great example of how institutions of similar interests are able to support and encourage one another and also work together to accomplish things that no institution could do alone.
Calendar of Events
February 4, 7:00 PM - Vespers Service
February 16, 8:00 PM - Guys & Dolls Gala
February 17, 10:00 AM - Winter Carnival
February 22, 7:00 PM - An Evening With the Authors