Award of Excellence

In 2004 the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada began to present, annually, an "Award of Excellence."

The MHSC Award of Excellence” is given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of Canadian Mennonite history by way of research, writing, organization or the dissemination of Mennonite historical knowledge. Constituent members of the society are invited to nominate persons for this award by forwarding a one page citation of that person to the MHSC executive by October 1 of each year. The MHSC executive will then select the award winner and present the winner’s name to the board for its approval with announcement of the winner at the following annual general meeting. A news release, an entry on the MHSC website, and the presentation of the parchment to the winner will follow.

To date the following awards have been granted:

2018

Henry Goerzen
(Left to Right): Erna and Henry Goerzen and MHSC President Richard Thiessen presenting the 2018 Award of Excellence

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2018 Award of Excellence to:

Henry Goerzen

Dated this 20th day of January 2018
Calgary, Alberta


Henry Goerzen was born near Didsbury, Alberta in 1928 and has been attending the Bergthal Mennonite Church there his entire life. He has been very active within the Mennonite church and has served as chair of both his congregation and the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta.

Although Henry is not a trained archivist he has worked diligently to preserve the history of Mennonites in Alberta. For over twenty-five years Henry served as archivist for the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta. One of his primary interests has been the preservation of records. As a conference historian he ensured that conference records were not destroyed. In the same way he collected materials from Mennonite churches and institutions that were closing.

In 1986 he organized a meeting which led to the formation of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta. He served as chair of MHSA from 1986 to 1999, then continued as vice chair until 2003. In the early years of MHSA there was space made available at the provincial MCC building to store the archival material of the society. When that space was no longer available Henry set up a steel grain bin on his farm, carefully sealed it against moisture and rodents, and built shelves to house the material until a new home could be found. He maintained the materials in this grain bin until 2001 when space became available in the new MCC building in Calgary.

In the 1990s Henry travelled extensively throughout Alberta meeting with conscientious objectors and documenting their stories. Many of these stories were included in the book Alternative Service for Peace in Canada During World War II, 1941-1946, edited by A.J. Klassen. Henry has also written numerous articles related to Alberta Mennonite history.

Henry is a farmer, an artist (he created the MHSA logo), and a lover of the Mennonite Church and Mennonite history. He has possibly done more than any other individual to ensure the preservation of the history of Mennonites in Alberta.

2017

Lawrence Klippenstein
(Left to right: MHSC Vice-President Roy Loewen, Noreen Janzen, award recipient Lawrence Klippenstein, Nathan and Jamie Klippenstein

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2017 Award of Excellence to:

Lawrence Klippenstein

Dated this 21st day of January 2017
Winnipeg, Manitoba


Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein has been a pillar in the Mennonite historical community. During his tenure as director of the Mennonite Heritage Centre 1974–1997, Klippenstein played an integral role in the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society and the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada by serving on committees and boards of these organizations. Klippenstein is an avid promoter of the importance of the historical record. He spearheaded numerous commemorative events that brought history and people together. To promote the collecting and uses of archives, he began a newsletter in 1975, the Mennonite Historian.

Klippenstein worked at bringing Mennonite Archivists and historians together with the NAMAL (North American Mennonite Archivists and Librarians) organization and publication.

He served with numerous other history related boards and committees such as the Mennonite Heritage Village and the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society.

Klippenstein has written numerous academic and non-academic articles in books, journals, magazines, and newspapers in English, German, Russian and Polish languages.

Helmut T. Huebert
Dr. Helmut T. Huebert

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2017 Award of Excellence to:

Helmut T. Huebert

Dated this 21st day of January 2017
Winnipeg, Manitoba


Dr. Helmut Huebert (b. February 23, 1935) has had a long and distinguished career in Winnipeg as an orthopedic surgeon, beginning in 1966. While orthopedics is clearly his vocation, Huebert is quick to call Mennonite history his avocation.

The particular aspect of Mennonite history where Huebert has made the largest contribution is in producing maps—a topographical representation of people, places, and events. Together with mapmaker William Schroeder (1933–2013), Huebert edited, annotated, produced, and published the extremely successful Mennonite Historical Atlas (1990, rev. 1996).

A total of ten books and atlases involving Mennonite history are credited to Huebert. The first two were published in 1986: a biography of his uncle, Kornelius Martens, and Hierschau, the story of the Molotschna village where his mother came from. Other publications include: Events and People: Events in Russian Mennonite History and the People that made them Happen (1999), Molotschna Historical Atlas (2003), Mennonite Estates in Imperial Russia (2005, rev. 2008), 1937, Stalin’s Year of Terror (2009), Mennonite Medicine in Russia: 1800–1930 (2012), Crimea: The Story of Crimea and the Mennonites Who Lived There (2013).

In the words Huebert: “These history books and atlases do not represent dry, dusty pages to me, but show the lives and struggles of many people. My motivation is to make sure that their lives are not forgotten” (from “My Story,” box 965, Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg).

Huebert served on the Historical Committee of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches from 1970 to 2003, much of this time as chair. This committee gave oversight to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg. At that time, he was also a member of the Historical Commission of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in North America, which developed a comprehensive plan for the four archival centres in the United States and Canada (Fresno, Winnipeg, Abbotsford, and Hillsboro).

In 2010, Huebert donated his collection of Russian Mennonite research to the growing Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO). This gift is just one example of the many ways, Huebert has generously supported the advancement of Mennonite Studies.

Because of Dr. Helmut Huebert’s extensive contribution to the promotion and study of Mennonite history, he was nominated for the society’s 2017 award of excellence.

2016

Hugo Friesen
Hugo Friesen receiving award from Lucille Marr

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2016 Award of Excellence to:

Hugo Friesen

Dated this 16th day of January 2016
Abbotsford, British Columbia


Hugo Friesen (1930- ) was born in Manitoba and moved to Greendale, BC as a young child. After graduating from Sharon Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Yarrow, he attended Tabor College and then Goshen College, graduating in 1955. Hugo and his wife Jean, whom he met while studying in the US, returned to the Fraser Valley after his college graduation, and Hugo began his teaching career at Sharon Mennonite Collegiate. Hugo was on staff from 1955 to 1963, and served as principal of the school for five years.

In 1963 Hugo and his family served in Hong Kong with Mennonite Central Committee. Upon his return to BC in 1966, Hugo taught in the public school system in Maple Ridge for a few years before becoming principal of Mennonite Educational Institute in Abbotsford in 1969. He served as principal for 10 years and continued teaching until 1989.

In the 1980s Hugo became involved with the early attempts to organize a Mennonite archive in British Columbia. Hugo was present at an organizational meeting in the fall of 1987 where the idea of British Columbia Mennonite historical center was born. After another term of service with MCC, this time at Akron from 1989 to 1993, Hugo and Jean returned once again to Abbotsford, and Hugo became the Archivist for the Mennonite Historical Society of BC.

Hugo served in this capacity for 12 years until 2005, and has continued volunteering for the Society to this day. Hugo coordinated all of the activities in the Archives in its early years, including supervising volunteers, organizing, cataloguing, and classifying archival materials, assisting with genealogical research, and representing the Society at regional meetings of the BC Archives Association. Hugo’s wife Jean also volunteered for the Society for a number of years, and was one of many volunteers under Hugo’s leadership who have helped to create the rich archival collection that we enjoy today.

Hugo Friesen set a high standard of public service with his much-appreciated contributions at the MHSBC Archives, and has left a rich legacy of public service to the Mennonite community in the province.

Ted D. Regehr
Ted and Sylvia Regehr

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2016 Award of Excellence to:

Ted D. Regehr

Dated this 16th day of January 2016
Abbotsford, British Columbia

 

 

Ted Regehr (1937 - ) was born in Coaldale, Albert. He received a BA from the University of Alberta in 1959, an MA from Carleton University in 1963, and a PhD in History from the University of Alberta in 1967. From about 1960 to 1968 Ted worked in the Public Archives of Canada, serving as Head of the Records Branch during his last years there. In 1968 he joined the history department of the University of Saskatchewan, eventually becoming head of the department.

Although Ted’s teaching career was focused on Canadian history, he has had a long involvement in Mennonite history. From December 1975 to December 1981 he served as president of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. He has also been active on the editorial board of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia On-Line and an advisor to Mennonite Central Committee’s Historical Committee. He has published many books on Canadian history and Mennonite history. After retiring, Ted settled in Calgary where he has become an invaluable member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta. He is an active board member and regular volunteer who oversees the archives and library.

Ted’s monographs include:

The Canadian Northern Railway: Pioneer Road of the Northern Prairies 1895-1918 (1976)

For Everything a Season : A History of the Alexanderkrone Zentralschule (1988)

Mennonites in Canada 1939-1970: A People Transformed (1996)

Faith, Life and Witness  in the Northwest, 1903-2003: Centennial History of the Northwest Mennonite Conference (2003)

A Generation of Vigilance.  The Lives and Work of Johannes and Tina Harder (2009)

2015

Sam Steiner
Lucille Marr, MHSC President, presents award to Sam Steiner

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2015 Award of Excellence to:

Sam Steiner

Dated this 17th day of January 2015
Waterloo, Ontario

 

Sam Steiner has played a key role in preserving the history of Mennonites in Ontario and making it available to others. In 1974 he began managing the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, taking over from Lorna Bergey who had served as a volunteer archivist. He served in this capacity for 34 years until his retirement at the end of 2008. Sam was the first editor of Mennogespräch (Menno-conversation), the newsletter of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, now known as Ontario Mennonite History. He served as editor from its beginning in 1983 until 1991.
   
Over the years, Sam has done a great deal of research in Mennonite history; his most ambitious project, In Search of Promised Lands: A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario, will be released by Herald Press in March, 2015.  He has also written two other books, Vicarious Pioneer: The Life of Jacob Y. Shantz (1988) and Lead Us On: A History of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, 1945-1995 (1995). He has presented historical papers in a variety of settings.
   
Sam also played an important role in the creation of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO). The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada credits him with having the vision of developing this electronic Mennonite encyclopedia on the worldwide web. Sam served as the managing editor for many years.
   
The Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario owes a great deal to Sam. He has served on the executive committee for so many years that he often serves as organization’s memory. He has also served on the executive board of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada and is well-known by most Mennonite historians. Over the years he also served on boards and committees for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and its predecessors, and also Mennonite Church Canada.
   
Sam was born and raised in Ohio, but he refused military induction and fled to Ontario in 1968. Sam works with dedication and humility. His contribution to the story of Mennonites in Ontario has been invaluable and we hope that he won’t stop now.

2014

Harry Loewen
Harry & Gertrude Loewen

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2014 Award of Excellence to:

Harry Loewen

Dated this 18th day of January 2014
Winnipeg, Manitoba

 

Harry Loewen has been an inspiration to many young scholars, as teacher, publisher and writer for many decades.  His ability to reach both popular and academic audiences has been much appreciated.  He has written on a wide range of topics, including comparing 16th Century Anabaptism and Lutheranism, early 20th century work on Mennonites in the Soviet Union, and his own story of coming to Canada with his widowed mother.  He also addressed more contemporary topics such as Mennonite literature, and Mennonite identity with his collection, 'Why I am a Mennonite.'  Harry has shown a commitment to scholarship in many other ways: as the founding Chair in Mennonite Studies (1978-1995) he pioneered the idea of teaching Mennonite history in public spaces and as the founding editor of the Journal of Mennonite Studies (1983-1995); he also pioneered a platform for Mennonite scholars in Canada to engage in valuable academic discourse.  Harry has always been a friendly and engaging scholar.  Perhaps most importantly, he has always been an inspiration to the generation that followed him.

Books by Harry Loewen:

Luther and the radicals : another look at some aspects of the struggle between Luther and the radical reformers, Harry Loewen

Mennonite images : historical cultural, and literary essays dealing with Mennonite issues, ed. Harry Loewen

Why I am a Mennonite : essays on Mennonite identity, ed. Harry Loewen

No permanent city : stories from Mennonite history and life, Harry Loewen

Goethe's response to Protestantism, Harry Loewen

Visions and realities : essays, poems, and fiction dealing with Mennonite issues, eds., Harry Loewen; Al Reimer

Between worlds: reflections of a Soviet-born Canadian Mennonite, Harry Loewen

Shepherds, servants and prophets : leadership among the Russian Mennonites (ca. 1880-1960), ed. Harry Loewen

Crisis and commitment : studies in German and Russian literature in honour of J.W Dyck, eds. J W Dyck; John Whiton; Harry Loewen;

Through fire & water: an overview of Mennonite history, Harry Loewen; Steven M Nolt; Carol Duerksen; Elwood Yoder

2013

Bill Schroeder
Bill Schroeder receives 2013 Award of Excellence from MHSC President Lucille Marr. His wife, Augusta, is at right.

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2013 Award of Excellence to:

Bill Schroeder

Dated this 19th day of January 2013
Winnipeg, Manitoba

 

Winnipeg, Manitoba's Bill Schroeder received the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada Award of Excellence at the January 2013 Annual General Meeting held at Winnipeg's Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. Well-known for his historical maps, for his publications, for his volunteer work, and for his leadership on tours of Russia over the past four decades, society members were delighted to meet Schroeder at the award ceremony. It was a fitting location, for Schroeder has been involved in historical research and volunteering at the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies since its opening in 1969.

The Mennonite Historical Atlas that Schroeder co-authored with Helmut Huebert was produced by Kindred Productions. With its maps spanning Mennonite areas in Holland, Prussia, Russia, Canada and Latin America, the Atlas is a best seller with sales of over 7000 copies, and has become a mainstay in most Russian Mennonite research libraries. Other publications include The Bergthal Colony published in 1974, and revised in1986, and his translation of The History of the Church in Chortitza: Towards an Understanding of the History of the Church in the Mennonite Colonies in South Russia, by Johannes van der Smissen.

Bill Schroeder has volunteered hundreds of hours at the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. Not only has he organized many vital documents, he has built shelves, bound and rebound books, enlarged and duplicated photographs, provided research assistance, and prepared mailings.

Also a volunteer for Mennonite Centennial Committee, the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society and the Mennonite Brethren Historical Committee, he has made presentations on his research projects in a variety of settings.

Underlying his commitment to excellence in Mennonite historical research is a quiet tenacity, a humble demeanor, and a delight in relationships.

 

2012

Irene Klassen
Irene Klassen

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2012 Award of Excellence to:

Irene Klassen

for her contribution to the preservation of Alberta Mennonite History as a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta, and service as editor of the Newsletter for 16 years, as well as
MHSA secretary, Archives volunteer and author, including
Their Mark: Their Legacy.

Dated this 20th day of January 2012
Vineland, Ontario

 

Irene Epp Klassen (1924-) was the second child of David and Katherine Epp, who had just immigrated from Russia. The family lived briefly in Ontario before moving to Saskatchewan in Spring 1925. They moved to Alberta in 1930 where Irene attended school. She finished high school by correspondence. She also attended Menno Bible Institute, and graduated from the Calgary General Hospital as a Registered Nurse in 1949. She married John Klassen in 1950; they had four children. They lived in Calgary since that time, and were members of First Mennonite Church.

Irene Klassen has been a member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta since its inception. She is listed as one of 15 people present at the meeting in July of 1986 at which the idea of forming a historical society in Alberta was first proposed. She has served the organization in a multitude of ways. She has been editor of the MHSA Newsletter for 16 years. She has been the organization’s secretary and a member of the Board of Directors for many years. Since the Archives and Library found a permanent home in Calgary in 2003, Irene has been a regular volunteer at the centre where she has become the ”face” of the Centre and usually the first person visitors meet. She became proficient in receiving accessions, preparing them for the vault, translating where necessary, and helping visitors and researchers find what they are looking for.

Irene has written several books: Poesy and Ponderings, Pieces and Patches of my Crazy Quilt, and Their Mark: Their Legacy. The last book is a compilation of biographies of leaders in the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta. She has also written for various Mennonite periodicals including The Mennonite, The Mennonite Reporter and Der Bote. At First Mennonite Church she has been the church historian, secretary-treasurer of the Sunday School, and the editor of the FMC Newsletter for 16 years. She has been involved with the Women in Mission group locally and President of the Alberta Women in Mission and Canadian representative on the General Conference Women in Mission.

 

2011

Esther Patkau
Esther Patau receiving award from Sam Stener

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2011 Award of Excellence to:

Esther Patkau

for her contribution to the preservation of Saskatchewan Mennonite History
as a biographer of J. J. Thiessen and historian of First Mennonite Church and Rosthern
Junior College. Her work on family history, writing memoirs and transliterating
and translating Gothic German script has assisted the historical work of many.

Dated this 21st day of January 2011
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

 

Esther Patkau (1927-) graduated from both Rosthern Bible School and Canadian Mennonite Bible College. She was commissioned in 1951 as a missionary to Japan where she served 23 years under the General Conference Mennonite Church. Upon her return in 1974, she was ordained and served as pastor of First Mennonite Church in Saskatoon for seven years. She completed a master’s degree in theology at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon. Her thesis was a study of the life of Rev. J.J. Thiessen. In 1983 she became a hospital chaplain and served in that capacity until 2005. Following 2005 she has been the Spiritual coordinator at Bethany Manor, a Mennonite Seniors’ complex. She has served as a volunteer in the children’s ward of the Cancer Clinic for a dozen years. In 1989 she was given a Caring Award by the Governor General of Canada. She has been honored by MEDA, by the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan, and by Canadian Mennonite University.

Esther wrote the history of Rosthern Junior College, and the history of First Mennonite Church. She also wrote a history of the Patkau family. Almost every year she did inservice seminars on how to write memoirs and how to write obituaries. In each case she has written booklets for these subjects. Esther has transliterated hundreds of articles from Old German Script to modern German script. She has translated hundreds of articles into English. She has written dozens of biographies for submission to GAMEO. One of her quaint projects was to identify diseases described in everyday language in Prussian documents and to find English names for them.

 

Dick Epp
Dick Epp

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2011 Award of Excellence to:

Diedrich Helmut “Dick” Epp

for his contribution to the preservation of Saskatchewan Mennonite History
as a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan,
and through his service as its President (1980-1996) and editor of the Historian for
11 years. His own writing included hundreds of stories in family histories
marking his devotion to the Mennonite story.

Dated this 21st day of January 2011
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

 

 

Dick Epp (1927-2009) was a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan in 1973 and served as its president from 1980 to 1996. He edited the Society's Historian for eleven years. His contributions to the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada are well known; Dick was much involved behind the scenes to enable the writing of the 3 volumes of the history of Mennonites in Canada. His life’s story is largely contained in Between the Tracks, a book he published several years before his death in 2009.

Dick was one of the first Saskatchewan Mennonites who began to collect stories in the English language. The Historian was a repository for many of them. Hundreds of other stories are in the collection of family histories that he wrote. Dick was an accomplished photographer whose work appeared in many professional journals and newspapers. He and his wife Betty attended Nutana Park Mennonite Church. Dick wrote a history of that congregation.

Dick attended elementary school near Glenbush and attended high school at Rosthern Junior College. He was a teacher who taught first in a one-roomed school near Mullingar and went on to be a teacher and principal in a number of Saskatoon schools.

Those who worked with him always commented on his professional demeanor and his devotion to collecting and preserving the stories of Mennonites.

 

 

2010

Lorraine Roth
Lorraine Roth & Sam Steiner

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2010 Award of Excellence to:

Lorraine Roth

for her life-long advancement of Canadian Mennonite History
as a meticulous researcher, careful historian, and consummate genealogist
of the European Amish Mennonite families who settled in Canada beginning in the 1820s

Dated this 23rd day of January 2010
Steinbach, Manitoba

 

Lorraine Roth, who was born in 1930, has dedicated much of her life to researching the Amish Mennonite families who migrated from Alsace to Waterloo Region of Ontario in the 1820s. She became interested in family history as a teenager, and published her first genealogy in 1963. In 1969, Lorraine set sail for Europe, not knowing how she was going to support herself, but hoping that somehow she would be able to find information about her forebears. For the next year-and-a-half, while doing secretarial work for the Mennonite Board of Missions and Mennonite Central Committee, she did research on Amish Mennonite families in European archives..

When she returned to Waterloo Region she continued her genealogical research, meticulously going through census records, municipal records and registry records. She taught herself to read German script so she could read letters and other written documents. Lorraine wrote genealogies of the four branches of her own family (Roth, Brenneman, Schwartzentruber and Oesch) and soon other people were asking for assistance in compiling genealogies. In her lifetime Lorraine has compiled 25 different genealogies and has assisted with another 15 or 20.

In 1972 when the Amish Mennonites were celebrating their sesquicentennial, Lorraine wrote the historical background for the souvenir booklet. At the time, early records of the township were scarce, but in 1986 more information came to light when the University of Toronto was moving its archival collection. Lorraine was excited to find new documents to comb through and in 1998 she published The Amish and Their Neighbours: The German Block, Wilmot Township, 1822-1860.

Over the years Lorraine has served on the Historical Committees of the former Western (Amish) Mennonite Conference, Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada as well as the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church. She was a charter member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario and served on the board for many years. She also wrote many articles for the MHSO newsletter, including suggestions on how to do genealogical research. When the Ontario Women’s Missionary and Service Commission was looking for someone to feature the achievements of the past, they turned to Lorraine, and her book, Willing Service: Stories of Ontario Mennonite Women was published in 1992.

Lorraine completed high school at Rockway Mennonite School, and went on to graduate with a B.A. from Goshen College and served two terms with the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions working in Honduras. She was an intrepid traveler and returned to Europe several times to continue research there. She supported herself by working at Provident Bookstore and as a secretary at Wilfrid Laurier University all the while following her passion for Mennonite history.

Although she was living in a retirement home at the time of her award, Lorraine still is not done. She published an article on the Oesch family in 2009, and maintained research files on more than 100 Amish Mennonite surnames to assist others researching Amish Mennonite families.

 


2009

David K. Schellenberg
2007 photo of Dave K. Schellenberg being recognized for his many years of service with EMC archives by Don Kroeker, chair of the EMC archives committee

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2009 Award of Excellence to:

David K. Schellenberg

for his life-long advancement of Mennonite History as a pastor, editor, writer & historian, and especially for his untiring efforts in the creation and nurture of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference Archives

Dated this 24th day of January 2009
Montreal, Quebec

 

Dave K. Schellenberg graduated from Steinbach Bible Academy in 1949, and later returned when it was Steinbach Bible College to earn a Bachelor of Religious Studies degree in 1985. Between those years he was, in part, a church planter and Field Man (the director’s assistant) of the Western Gospel Mission, and then a church-planting pastor in Portage la Prairie under the Evangelical Mennonite Conference (EMC) Board of Missions. He had a vision for an English language magazine, and became editor of The Messenger at its inception. His editorship ran from 1963 through 1987.

Dave is acknowledged as the main passion and worker behind the Evangelical Mennonite Conference’s national archives, located in Steinbach, Manitoba. More than any other person, he was responsible for locating and obtaining archival records, as well as their organization and storage. When he retired, he was appointed Archivist Emeritus in recognition of his long connection with the Archives and his ongoing concern. He continued to serve on the EMC national Archives Committee until 2006.

Dave Schellenberg was secretary for, and one of the writers within, the 1974 centennial EMMC/EMC project Know These People, a brief look at 13 early Anabaptists. He, as a staff person, was involved with the publication of Ever-Widening Circles: EMC Missions Silver Jubilee 1953-1978. He participated in occasional EMC History Symposia and on October 30, 1987, presented a paper on The Development of EMC Missions.

He was responsible on various occasions for ensuring that an archival display was present at EMC national gatherings. Even when travel became more difficult for him and it was no longer his responsibility, he remained concerned that Conference history not be forgotten. His occasional historical column, Pages from the Past,graced the pages of the denominational magazine for years.

Dave Schellenberg was a Conscientious Objector during World War Two, and his concern for remembering the commitment of COs, and the need for continued teaching of non-resistance, is shown in articles such as After 60 years, would I do it again? (June 29, 2005): “Would I again object? By the grace of God, yes.”

The award was posthumous; David K. Schellenberg died November 6, 2008.

 


2008

Gerhard Ens
Gerhard Ens congratulated by Lucille Marr

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2008 Award of Excellence to:

 Gerhard Ens

 for his life-long advancement of Mennonite History as a minister, teacher, editor, historical society/museum promoter, German and Low German broadcaster.

Dated this 19th day of January 2008
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Gerhard Ens spent most of his life in public service within the Canadian and Manitoba Mennonite communities.  Ens was honored in late January at the annual meeting of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. He received the Award of Excellence for his life-long advancement of Mennonite History as a minister, teacher, editor, historical society/museum promoter, German and Low German broadcaster.

Ens began his career as a teacher in the village of Gnadenfeld, Manitoba where he taught 60 children in 8 grades in a one-room school.  During the Second World War as a committed conscientious-objector he opted for alternative service. He worked as an orderly in a mental hospital.  He returned to teaching at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, in Gretna, Manitoba, where he served for 31 years. For ten of those years he served as principle.

Ens was a founding member of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society in 1958 and sat on the board of the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum from 1958-2004. In 1972 he was asked to produce a Low German radio broadcast to promote the centennial of Manitoba Mennonite settlement in Manitoba.  Very quickly this 15-minute program was lengthened to 30 minutes.  Ens continued broadcasting for 34 years. He was never paid for his broadcasts. In total he aired over 1400 programs on three radio stations.

In 1977 he moved to Winnipeg and began editing Der Bote, a Canadian based, German language paper.  Having been ordained in 1957, he was asked to become a lay minister at the Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church.  He preached and taught the German Bible Study there for 30 years.

Upon acceptance of the award Ens said this award was special for him.  Commenting on his Low German broadcasting Ens said; “Mennonites of the Low German persuasion have no homeland in Europe they call their home.  Low German has become a home where people can move in and out of and express themselves”.


2007

Lorna Bergey
Lorna Bergey

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

Is pleased to present its 2007 Award of Excellence to:

 Lorna  Bergey

For her life-long advancement of Canadian Mennonite History and in particular Pennsylvania German Mennonite History as historian, archivist, curator and as advisor of the “Mennonites in Canada” history book series.

 

Dated this 20th. of January 2007
Calgary, Alberta

Lorna Bergey was a founding board member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario in 1965, and subsequently served as secretary of the Society for 32 years. In that role, she assisted in the production of several films and plays, and the production of the Mennonites in Ontario booklets by J. Winfield Fretz and Marlene Epp. Lorna developed and led many tours of “Mennonite country” for individuals and bus groups, including the tours led during the Mennonite Bicentennial in 1986. She also served as secretary of the Mennonite Bicentennial Commission, and was historian for the Mennonite Conference of Ontario for many years.

When the Brubacher House museum was opened on the University of Waterloo campus to depict a Pennsylvania German Mennonite home in the second half of the 19th century, it was furnished by the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario. Lorna took the lead role in furnishing the house and acquiring donations of items for display in the house.

Lorna was also on the board that preserved the historic 1850 Detweiler Mennonite Meetinghouse near Roseville, Ontario.

Lorna Bergey was the first archivist at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario when it located at Conrad Grebel College. She served on a marginal time basis until 1974, and provided sabbatical coverage in later years as required.

Lorna was a vigilant champion for the place of Pennsylvania German Mennonite history in the Mennonites in Canada series published by  the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. She served on the Readers Committee for all three volumes, and did not hesitate to identify shortcomings or misinterpretations of the Pennsylvania German Mennonite role.

Lorna also wrote numerous historical and genealogical articles for Ontario Mennonite History, Pennsylvania Mennonite History, Mennonite Life, Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, Waterloo Historical Society annual volume, and the Mennonite Encyclopedia.


2005

Ted Friesen
Ted Friesen

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2005 Award of Excellence to: 

Mr. Ted E. Friesen

 

Dated this 3rd of December, 2005
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Ted E. Friesen (1920-), an important lay leader in the Canadian Mennonite community, has lived in Altona, Manitoba from birth. In 1936 he entered the family business known in 1997 as D.W. Friesen & Sons, Ltd. The business began as a general store and post office, but emerged into a large printing and wholesale stationery firm that employed over 450 persons in 1997. From 1951-1986 Ted Friesen served as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President of D.W. Friesen & Sons. He encouraged the firm to publish the Canadian Mennonite, the first Canadian inter-Mennonite English language paper in 1953.

Friesen served on the Executive Committee of Mennonite Central Committee Canada from 1964-1977 and the Executive of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada from 1966-1996, for the last ten years as President. He also served on the Manitoba provincial counterparts of these organizations. Friesen, together with J. Winfield Fretz and Frank H. Epp, conceived the Mennonites in Canada history project.

Ted Friesen and Lina Krahn were married in 1945; they had four children. They are founding members of the Altona Mennonite Church.

 

 


2004

Delbert Plett
Delbert Plett

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

is pleased to present its 2004 Award of Excellence to: 

Mr. Delbert F. Plett

for his prolific work in documenting, writing and publishing the story of
the Kleine Gemeinde Mennonites and the general history of
conservative Low German
Mennonites in Europe and the Americas.

Dated this 4th of December, 2004
Waterloo, Ontario

Delbert Plett: historian, land developer and lawyer, b. 6 March 1948, d. 4 November 2004. Delbert, a very successful businessman, turned to the study of his roots in 1978 -- with a special focus on the Mennonites who immigrated to Manitoba in the 1870s. The history of his people -- extending back to Russia, Prussia and the Netherlands -- were his passion for the rest of his life. He wrote and compiled 14 books, organized the Hanover Steinbach Historical Society in 1988, and founded the journal, Preservings, in 1995. He left the bulk of his estate to the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation to foster research and writing about the traditional and conservative Russian Mennonites. -- Preservings, No. 25 (December 2005): 5.


Back 

Last updated 18-Feb-2013