The Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission met June 2–3, 2017, for its annual general meeting (AGM) in Winnipeg at the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. The Commission heard reports from its four archives, awarded several grants and scholarships, and planned for ways to continue its services to MB congregations while trimming its budget.
Jordan Duerrstein reported on his five-week archival internship. He helped with the regular archival tasks at each of the four MB archives and explored aspects of community development, especially the entrepreneurial initiatives that have and continue to be part of MB church planting. Jordan returns to seminary this fall (Wycliffe College, Toronto).
The Commission was pleased with the outcomes of the internship and agreed to offer the internship again next summer.
Buduma Ramesh, an MA student from India, was awarded a Katie Funk Wiebe research grant of $550 for his project on the role of women – both women missionaries and the Indian “Bible Women” they trained – in the empowerment of Dalit women in the Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, India. Buduma’s thesis project at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India, honours the life and ministry of Katie Funk Wiebe who died in 2016.
J.B. Toews $1,000 scholarships were also awarded to Micheal Ryder of Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, B.C., and Daniela Stahl of Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg.
At the AGM, the Commission agreed to continue funding the six initiatives that it has developed in the recent years (archival internship, Katie Funk Wiebe research grant, MB studies project grant, J.B. Toews college scholarships, GAMEO stipends, and archival development grants), but scale back the number of awards in each category.
For details about all six initiatives and the news releases announcing recipients, see the Commission’s website (http://mbhistory.org/). The submission dates for the new grant year will be posted by the end of summer.
The Commission works with a network of four Mennonite Brethren archival centers: Center for MB. Studies (Hillsboro, Kan.), Mennonite Library & Archives (Fresno, Cal.), Mennonite Historical Society of B.C. (Abbotsford, B.C.), and Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg).
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, a funded ministry of both the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, is available on its website.
[Jon Isaak, executive secretary, MB Historical Commission