“Neighbourly Encounters” – Preservings Fall/Winter 2020

January 6, 2021

The image on the cover of the latest issue of Preservings is of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, whose construction was funded in part by Mennonite industrial leaders in Khortitsa in response to local Orthodox clergy concerned for the well-being of Slavic workers employed by Mennonite-owned businesses. Encounters between Mennonites and their neighbours are the theme of this issue, focusing – apart from our editor’s notes on Mennonite–Orthodox relations – on interactions occurring in Manitoba. Jacob Doerksen writes about British Home Chldren sent to work on Mennonite farms beginning in the 1890s. Hans Werner has an article about interactions between Mennonites and Jews in Winkler. Glen Klassen contributes an article on two generations of relations between Mennonites and “English” settlers in the community of Clear Springs, near Steinbach. Ernie Braun describes his rediscovery of a German-speaking family originating from Volhynia whose father was the herdsman in the Mennonite village of Alt-Bergfeld.

The magazine contains research articles on other topics as well. Bruce Wiebe details the business dealings of Jacob Y. Shantz in Manitoba and Dakota real estate. Lawrence Klippenstein lays out the twenty-point petition of the Jacob Hoeppner and Johann Bartsch to Tsarina Catherine II, which he argues deserves recognition as the first privilegium of Mennonites in Russia. Glenn Penner describes the toll of the bubonic plague on Mennonites in Danzig in 1709 – the deadliest epidemic to affect Mennonites in their history. Also included in this issue is a report from Dick Braun on his trip to commemorate the death of Ohm Johann Wall, who died in Brazil in 1919 while inspecting the country as a destination for resettlement of conservative Mennonites from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And “from the archives,” Harold Suderman gives a rich account of his family’s four years spent in the village of Alt Bergthal.

If we may say so, it’s a fine issue, illustrated with compelling historical photographs. We hope you will enjoy it. And look for the arrival of the next Preservings in late spring/early summer, which will take the theme of Mennonite encounters with their neighbours to locations around the world.

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