D. F. Plett Farms
Published: 1982
ix+165 pages
ISBN: 0-88925-421-4

The Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series

Vol. 1

History and Events

Delbert F. Plett

Writings and maps pertaining to the history of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde from 1866 to 1876. Edited, annotated, and translated by Delbert F. Plett.

From the introduction: The book now before you is an annotated translation of two writings pertaining to the history of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde. It is the hope of this writer that the publication of these writings in this format will allow the integrity of the source to remain intact, i.e., as an unabridged rendition, and at the same time provide comments and cross references to the reader by way of the footnotes. This format will also allow additional source material to be added in order to embellish or illustrate a particular point.

The writings included in this collection represent a unique view of Mennonite history. It is the viewpoint of those who of their own free will chose a narrow and dedicated path of discipleship. Many writers in the past, to justify those who chose an easier road, have felt compelled to criticize the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde, on the ground that such a life of discipleship could only be the result of a narrow, cold, and uninspired Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth, if one prefers to believe the writings of the laymen and leadership of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde in Russia. In their own view they lived an “Existential Christianity” with
all non-spiritual matters being totally subservient.

Hopefully, no one will be offended by this presentation. The Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde also have a history as well as any other Russian Mennonite group. In the minds of some readers these writings will reflect unfavourably on the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde. In the minds of other readers these writings will undoubtedly question certain conceptions of Russian Mennonite history. Nevertheless, the account deserves to be told. In these writings the reader will find a very small part of that record. Hopefully it will serve to be of interest to the reader, and be a contribution to Russian Mennonite historiography as well.