Historical Commission launches new initiatives


Commission hears reports, approves new research project grant

By Jon Isaak

Reflections from an archival intern, decisions on new initiatives and a tour of one of the first Mennonite Brethren meeting places in North America were all part of the annual general meeting of the MB Historical Commission in Hillsboro, Kan., May 30­31.

The Commission works with a network of four archival centers, offering research and archiving services to MB congregations in North America. The four include: Center for MB Studies, Hillsboro, Kan.; Center for MB Studies, Fresno, Calif.; Centre for MB Studies, Winnipeg, Man. and Mennonite Historical Society of BC, Abbotsford, BC.

Yoshio Fujii, this year's archival intern, reported on his summer internship. He spent one week at each archive, helping with ongoing archival tasks and doing his own research on Mennonite Brethren mission theology in Japan. Yoshio is a pastor/teacher from Japan who graduated in May from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. He is the second archival intern; the internship was first launched in 2013. The Commission agreed to fund the program again in 2015.

Besides the two funded initiatives—the archival internship and the Katie Funk Wiebe research grant—the Commission agreed to launch a new funded initiative: the MB studies project grant. It is designed to support historical and theological research and publication on topics of interest to Mennonite Brethren globally.

Details regarding the internship and the new MB studies project grant will be released on the Commission website.

In addition, ongoing digitizing and publication projects were also approved at the AGM, advancing the service that the archival centers can offer their constituencies.

On Saturday afternoon, the Commission toured several landmarks of the first MB communities in the area: Hillsboro, Gnadenau, Florence and Peabody. The tour reminded the Commission of the value of preserving, interpreting and making accessible the stories and records related to one particular segment of God’s people, the segment known as Mennonite Brethren.

Since its formation in 1969, the Commission has helped coordinate the collection, preservation and interpretation of Mennonite Brethren archival records, congregational meeting minutes, conference proceedings, personal papers, periodicals and photographs.

More information about the work of the Commission is available on its website www.mbhistory.org.

PHOTO by Jon Isaak

MB Historical Commission 2013-2014: (standing l to r): J Janzen, Jon Isaak (executive secretary), Abe Dueck, Yoshio Fujii (archival intern), Wilmer Harms (Hillsboro advisory council), Dora Dueck (vice chair); (sitting l to r): Valerie Rempel (recording secretary), Don Isaac (chair), Julia Reimer, Richard Thiessen and Peggy Goertzen. Photo by Jon Isaak.


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