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Historical Commission launches book, debriefs intern, and tours museum at AGM

HistlCommAt this year’s Historical Commission AGM, June 7–8 in Winnipeg, the four archival centres reported on their projects underway, including include publishing books; digitizing print, sound, and image media; processing recent acquisitions; and holding conferences.

The Commission works with a network of four Mennonite Brethren archival centres: Center for MB Studies (Hillsboro, Kan.), Center for MB Studies (Fresno, Cal.), Mennonite Historical Society of B.C. (Abbotsford, B.C.), and Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg).

Amanda Bartel, student archival intern, reported on her May–June experience at the four centres. She spent one week at each archive helping with ongoing archival tasks and doing her own research on Mennonite Brethren missionaries, several of whom were her relatives. She discovered a variety of resources including letters, photographs, and mission board reports to animate the accounts of these missionaries. The Commission was so pleased with the internship that it decided to offer the internship again next summer. Watch for notices this fall.

Maureen Klassen’s book, It Happened in Moscow, was launched during the weekend at the Winnipeg Centre for MB Studies. Sixty people gathered on Friday evening to hear Klassen describe the stunning discovery of a family secret and the steady assurance of God’s presence through the horrors of Stalin’s purges. Copies are available at www.kindredproductions.com.

On Friday afternoon the Commission toured the site of the Canadian Human Rights Museum that is nearing completion in downtown Winnipeg. The tour reminded the Commission of its own mandate to preserve and interpret the stories and records related to one particular segment of God’s people, a segment known as the 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.

M.B. Historical Commission 2012-2013: (l to r): J Janzen, Valerie Rempel (recording secretary), Kevin Enns-Rempel, Richard Thiessen, Abe Dueck, Don Isaac (chair), Dora Dueck (vice chair), Jon Isaak (executive secretary), Peggy Goertzen, Julia Reimer, Conrad Stoesz.

M.B. Historical Commission 2012-2013: (l to r): J Janzen, Valerie Rempel (recording secretary), Kevin Enns-Rempel, Richard Thiessen, Abe Dueck, Don Isaac (chair), Dora Dueck (vice chair), Jon Isaak (executive secretary), Peggy Goertzen, Julia Reimer, Conrad Stoesz.

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

—Jon Isaak, executive secretary, Historical Commission

Photos from the It Happened in Moscow book launch

Historical Commission book launch: threads of three women's lives; a sad story, a detective story, a story of grace.
At the Winnipeg Centre for MB Studies
Author Maureen Klassen: "God's grace can come through these stories as we faithfully portray his part in the sadness, and triumph thruogh it.
Theo Dyck and Martha Dyck perform Russian folk song "Alone I go out along the road," the book's 'soundtrack.'
"A community that has music as part of its fabric has the potential of harmonizing very dischordant things," says Maureen Klassen. Those gathered sang "Take my hand."
Author Maureen Klassen with husband Herb (son of Mary Brieger Klassen)
Randy Klassen, grandson of Mary Brieger Klassen, reflected on the "healing power of God's providential timing."
Book signing
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