General News News Releases

Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives & Gallery to continue under new structure

Joint News Release by:
Mennonite Church Canada,
Canadian Mennonite University
Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies

The Mennonite Heritage Centre including its Archive and Art Gallery programs, is being reorganized under a new partnership and name.

Discussions over the last months between Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada), Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), and the Center for Transnational Mennonite Studies (CTMS) at the University of Winnipeg culminated in a proposal for CMU to assume full ownership of the Mennonite Heritage Centre building, and programming of the faith-based Art Gallery, while the archives will be managed and funded by a three-way partnership of MC Canada, CMU, and CTMS. CTMS is a partnership between the University of Winnipeg’s Chair in Mennonite Studies and the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation Inc.

Mennonite Heritage Centre, located on the CMU campus
Mennonite Heritage Centre, located on the CMU campus

Per the proposal, CMU will own and maintain the Mennonite Heritage Centre infrastructure with staff of both the Archives and Gallery integrated in CMU’s human resources complement.  Operational details within the partnership will be further clarified over the coming months. The proposal was accepted by MC Canada’s General Board at a January 13, 2017 meeting. The Mennonite Heritage Centre will be re-named to become “Mennonite Heritage Archives” (MHA) on June, 1, 2017, the anticipated transfer date to the new partnership.

To facilitate the transition to the new structure, MC Canada will be releasing the current Archives program’s staff. The full-time position of Director is being eliminated, while the archivist position is being expanded to full time as part of the new partnership. Further announcements for re-staffing the new MHA are pending. A committee representing the three partners will provide leadership to the MHA.

The partnership will seek to continue and to deepen the existing mandate of the Archives program, including present and future deposits to the collections of MC Canada and other Mennonite denominations. At the same time, it will expand the focus to include resources that document the transnational Anabaptist experience, including materials related to church communities in the global south, the Mennonite sojourn in Russia, and the Low German Mennonites of the Americas.

The Archives program has a distinguished record of service to the church community by storing and indexing congregational, area church, and national church records. These records, such as baptismal and church membership information, also constitute a primary source of data for church and family researchers and genealogists. The program also receives donations of records from education faculty, church leaders, and others.

The operations of the Art Gallery will be assumed entirely by CMU on June 1, 2017.

The Art Gallery is a bridge between Mennonites and other faith communities, featuring visual arts that share our own faith story within our community as well as bringing the faith stories of other religious groups to the Mennonite community. While the Gallery is based in Winnipeg, travelling exhibits have been featured in congregations, campuses, and events such as MC Canada Assemblies and Mennonite World Conference.

“CMU recognizes the significant value of both the Mennonite Heritage Centre’s Archives and Gallery as valuable resources for the Mennonite community,” says Gordon Zerbe, Vice President Academic at CMU. “CMU has a strong commitment to deepening the existing and ongoing mandate of these programs.”

“The new MHA will continue to serve our congregations as an important depository for their historic records. We encourage the continued and strong support of the MHA, not only through the contribution of congregational records, but also the financial support that makes this work possible,” said Coreena Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer for Mennonite Church Canada.

“CTMS is committed to preserving and telling the evolving Anabaptist story,” said Hans Werner, Executive Director, D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, Inc. “The archives are important in insuring that the rich transnational story of Mennonite faith, life and community can be told for generations to come.”

Mennonite Church Canada is made up of over 33,000 baptized members, 225 congregations and 5 area conferences. For more information, contact Dan Dyck, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 0M4, 204-888-6781,

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, Canadian Mennonite University offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. For more information, contact Kevin Kilbrei 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N2, 204-487-3300,

The Center for Transnational Mennonite Studies is a Centre of the University of Winnipeg and partnership between the D.F. Historical Research Foundation, Inc. and the Chair in Mennonite Studies. For more information contact: Hans Werner, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, MB R3B 2E9, 204-786-9352,

Events Lectures News Releases

Discussion at CMU to explore the possibility of an urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks

What would it mean to turn the Kapyong Barracks into an urban reserve?

That’s the key question Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion will explore. Titled, “On Being Good Neighbours: An Urban Reserve at Kapyong?,” the event takes place on Thursday, March 5 at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

face2face_mar5_15Participants in the discussion include Chief Glenn Hudson, Chief of the Peguis First Nation; Jamie Wilson, Commissioner for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba; and Leah Gazan, Faculty/Special Projects Coordinator at University of Winnipeg and President of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media at CMU, will moderate the event, which is being organized with the participation of Steve Heinrichs, Director of Indigenous Relations for Mennonite Church Canada.

Together, the participants will explore opportunities and practical challenges of an urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks.

The discussion will include treaty details, site vision, exploring possibilities, the current stumbling blocks, the concerns that some have raised, and a look at what it might mean to be good neighbours in this place.

Balzer believes this is an important conversation for CMU to host because the Kapyong Barracks are located less than three kilometres away from the university. Nearly everyone at the university drives past the barracks every day.

“It’s a visual reminder of the question, ‘How do we best use this land?’” Balzer says.

He adds that over the past few years, CMU has become increasingly interested in what it means to be good neighbours to Canada’s First Nations community.

“We’re trying to understand how to have a conversation around our history as a country, as a province, and as a city,” Balzer says.

Formerly a Canadian Forces base, Kapyong Barracks was vacated in 2004. The Department of National Defence declared the 159-acre site, located on Kenaston Boulevard, surplus.

The Canadian government and four Manitoba First Nations are currently involved in a dispute regarding control of the land. According to a CBC report from January 2014, the First Nations argue that under a treaty land entitlement process, they are allowed to negotiate for federal property that has been declared surplus.

Gazan says she doesn’t understand why the land isn’t given to the First Nations.

“Nobody questions it when IKEA goes up, nobody questions the strip malls going up, there’s no big community debate when we see new restaurants coming up, so why is this an issue?” she says.

Gazan adds that she is looking forward to delving into the topic on March 5.

“Any time you have people willing to come together to discuss these difficult issues, it’s positive,” she says.

Steve Heinrichs agrees.

“My hope is that we would be able to have a conversation about what some indigenous people are envisioning for that space—a conversation that would demystify and speak into some of the misconceptions about what an urban reserve is,” he says.

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“On Being Good Neighbours: An Urban Reserve at Kapyong?” is the last of four Face2Face events CMU is hosting during the 2014-15 school year. For details, please visit

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit:

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2