CL archives available on USB drive


Introductory price available to convention goers

Christian Leader news story

A searchable, digital collection of 79 years of the Christian Leader, the award-winning magazine for U.S. Mennonite Brethren, will be available Aug. 1. The project was made possible by the Center for MB Studies (CMBS) Winnipeg, Manitoba, with assistance from the Center for MB Studies (CMBS) Hillsboro, Kansas, and the Christian Leader.

“Now we have an excellent resource, easily accessible, to enable us to see what has been happening in our MB family and to hear the different opinions and viewpoints discussed in our family,” says Peggy Goertzen, director of CMBS-Hillsboro.

All 1,493 issues of the magazine have been digitized as PDF files and indexed by software, enabling searches by names, topics, Scripture and so on. The entire collection, from 1937 to 2015, will reside on an eight-gigabyte USB flash drive. While the flash drives will be available Aug. 1, a reduced introductory price is available to anyone attending the USMB National Convention in July.

“The Christian Leader was established in the late 1930s in an attempt to connect with the younger generation in the Mennonite Brethren family, resulting in a small publication printed in English,” says Goertzen. “In many ways this digitization project of the Christian Leader is a continuation of that effort—to connect with the up-and-coming Mennonite Brethren in the electronic age.”

The CL has changed with the times since it was first published in 1937 as the monthly English-language publication for Mennonite Brethren “young people” in Canada and the U.S.  The conference’s other publication, Zionsbote, was published in German and served as the official publication of the denomination. In 1951, the CL assumed an “adult” focus when it became the official periodical for all North American Mennonite Brethren.

The CL audience broadened again in 1960 when the Mennonite Brethren merged with the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren  and the KMB magazine, Christian Witness, merged with the MB magazine. Two years later the magazine audience narrowed when the MB Herald was introduced as the English-language magazine for Canadian Mennonite Brethren and the CL shifted to serving only the U.S. Conference.

“Whether it was published monthly, semi-monthly or bi-weekly, the Christian Leader has been led by progressive editors who have taken on touchy issues,” says CL editor Connie Faber. “This digitized collection of the CL documents the life and thinking of Mennonite Brethren over many years. It offers an intriguing look into our past and insight into our future.”  

The CL USB drive is available for $25, taxes and shipping included. Anyone planning to attend the USMB National Convention July 29-30 in Denver, Colorado, can pick up their USB drive at the convention for the reduced price of $20 as long as the drive is ordered by July 25.  To order, contact CL editor Connie Faber at or call 620-947-5543.

CL USB drives will be updated annually by CMBS-Winnipeg at no additional charge.

Related stories:

Ferry ride conversation leads to CL digitizing project

Thanks to a conversation between Canadian archivist Conrad Stoesz and Peggy Goertzen, director of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies-Hillsboro, while riding a ferry to Vancouver Island, BC, a searchable digital collection of 79 years of the Christian Leader is being released this summer.

Producing CL USB drive a joint effort

CMBS-Hillsboro and the CL tracked down back issues of the Christian Leader so that they can be digitized, but Canadian Conference staff were responsible for the huge task of turning print copies into a digital resource.


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