June 28, 2023
Historical Commission awards four grants and one scholarship
Winnipeg, Manitoba—On June 23-24, 2023, the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Historical Commission gathered in Abbotsford, B.C., for its annual meeting. Besides hearing updates from the four archives in the Historical Commission network, the Commission engaged deeply with the publication projects and research grant applications on its agenda.
The Commission awarded two research grants and two publication grants.
An Alfred Neufeld $2,000 USD global church history grant was awarded to Stephen Kapinde, a professor at Pwani University in Kifili, Kenya. His project explores the key actors and stakeholders in the Kenyan Mennonite peacebuilding story. The project title is Mission as Transformation: A Theo-Historical Reflection of the Mennonite Development and Peacebuilding Mission in Kenya, 1960–2010.
An MB studies $2,500 USD project grant was awarded to Jeremy Rich, a professor at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His project probes the impacts of agricultural development initiated by Mennonite missionaries in the 20th century. The project title is Congolese Perspectives on Mennonite Brethren Missionary Development, 1960–1990.
The first publication grant—a $2,000 USD MB studies grant—went to Canadian Mennonite University Press to help with the production costs of a forthcoming publication. The CMU Press book features a collection of academic essays by field-defining author, Hildi Froese Tiessen, professor emerita, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario. The title is On Mennonite/s Writing: Selected Essays by Hildi Froese Tiessen, edited by Robert Zacharias.
The second publication grant—a $2,000 USD Katie Funk Wiebe women’s studies grant—also went to CMU Press to help with the production costs of another forthcoming publication. This CMU Press book features a collection of poetry from award-winning Mennonite poet, Sarah Klassen. The title is Sarah Klassen: New and Selected Poems, edited by Nathan Dueck.
Both Sarah Klassen and Hildi Froese Tiessen are well known in the field of Mennonite literature, and both have roots in the North Kildonan MB Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Commission also awarded a $750 USD J.B. Toews college scholarship to Olivia Chittick of Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C.
For details about the Commission’s funding initiatives and application procedures—and the news releases announcing past recipients—see the Commission’s website. Please consider submitting a manuscript proposal or a project grant application, perhaps something to mark the upcoming 500th anniversary of the start of the Anabaptist movement in 1525.
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, publications, and photographs) that form and inform MB theology and history.
The Commission works with a network of four archival centers: Center for MB Studies (Hillsboro, Kansas), Mennonite Library & Archives (Fresno, California), Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia (Abbotsford, B.C.), and Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg, Manitoba).
More information about the work of the Commission—a funded ministry of both the U.S. Conference of MB Churches and the Canadian Conference of MB Churches—is available on its website.
—Jon Isaak, executive secretary