June 18, 2021
Historical Commission publishes college history and awards research grant
Winnipeg, Manitoba—On June 4–5, 2021, the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Historical Commission gathered for its annual meeting via Zoom video conference for the 2nd year on account of the COVID pandemic.
In addition to hearing how the four MB archives associated with the Commission have adapted to pandemic restrictions, the Commission engaged deeply with the publication projects and research grant applications on its agenda for adjudication.
Commission chair Don Isaac noted, “I’m impressed with the quality of publishing and research projects like these which can help increase Anabaptist-Mennonite appreciation in MB congregations.”
The Commission is pleased to announce the release of its latest publication, Dr. Abe J. Dueck’s Mennonite Brethren Bible College: A History of Competing Visions. The book is now on sale through the Kindred Productions website.
In 2016, Abe was awarded the Commission’s MB Studies Project Grant for his research project on the history of the MB Bible College in Winnipeg. The college was the main program supported by the Canadian MB conference during the college’s existence (1944–1992). In large measure, the college story is the story of the conference. The theology, worship, and polity of the conference are reflected in the often-heated debates that transpired from year to year concerning the nature of the college. Now, five years later, Abe’s research has been published!
The Commission also received an update on the manuscript edited by Dora Dueck (no relation to Abe). It is a companion volume to Doug Heidebrecht’s Women in Ministry Leadership: The Journey of the Mennonite Brethren, 1954–2010 published in 2019. This manuscript is an anthology of life-writing from 14+ MB women leaders, detailing their calls to ministry and experiences as women leaders. The tentative title is On Holy Ground: Stories by and about Women in Ministry Leadership in the Mennonite Brethren Church. The Commission was delighted to hear that the project is approaching completion and a publication date of next spring is expected.
Besides funding publications, the Commission also awarded an MB Studies Project Grant of $3,000 CAD to Rev. Brad Sumner and Dr. Rich Janzen for their community-based research project proposal, Exploring Congregational Use of the MB Confession of Faith: Past, Present, Future.
Their project aims to interview a wide sampling of Canadian MB pastors to ascertain how they think, act on, and in other ways relate to the MB Confession of Faith, both currently and in the past. The Commission was drawn to the significance of this project, especially the implications that could find practical relevance for ongoing congregational engagement with the Confession of Faith.
For details about all the Commission’s funding initiatives and application procedures – and the news releases announcing past recipients – see the Commission’s website.
Since its formation in 1969, the Commission has helped coordinate the collection, preservation, and interpretation of MB archival records: congregational meeting minutes, conference proceedings, personal papers, periodicals, and photographs.
The Commission works with a network of four MB archival centers: Center for MB Studies (Hillsboro, Kansas), Mennonite Library & Archives (Fresno, California), Mennonite Historical Society of BC (Abbotsford, British Columbia), and Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg, Manitoba).
More information about the work of the Commission – a funded ministry of both the US Conference of MB Churches and the Canadian Conference of MB Churches – is available on its website.
—Jon Isaak, executive secretary