A bow to the past in Kansas

In the spirit of the rather fitful reporting to which this blog has devolved, I’m here this Monday afternoon to say that I was away four days in Kansas, hanging out with historians and archivists. (I believe I’ve mentioned before that these are some of my favorite people.) I’m on the Historical Commission of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) denomination, which meets once a year, rotating between the four archival centers in Kansas, California, B.C., and Manitoba. We hear reports from the centers, undertake various publishing projects (including both scholarly and popular history–last year’s was the fascinating mystery-biography, It Happened in Moscow by Maureen Klassen, which has sold astonishingly well), sponsor research grants and an archival internship, and occasionally plan symposiums, all to foster the preservation of, study of, and reflection on our history. Continue reading

Miscellanea: June

Crazy busy month so far, this June, but wonderful too, the green and colors of spring fully arrived to our city at last. I never tire of our simple backyard and especially the way one of the branches from our elm tree stretches over our lot and blesses it with its draping foliage. Continue reading

History work

I’m currently in beautiful British Columbia, to be of assistance before and after (depending on the day of arrival) a new grandbaby’s birth, and to attend the annual meetings of the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission. The meetings were this weekend in Victoria, where member Ben Stobbe lives, and where he and Linda and the Saanich Community Church showed us wonderful hospitality. All of B.C. is in a particularly good mood, of course, with their Vancouver Canucks leading the NHL Stanley Cup finals, 2 games to 0. This was my first full meeting on the Historical Commission and I enjoyed it. Hanging out with archivists and historians is more fun than it sounds, honestly! Each of the four archival centers (Winnipeg, Man.; Abbotsford, B.C.; Fresno, Cal.; Hillsboro, Kan.) are represented, and there are 6 additional members from Canada and the U.S.; it’s a bi-national board. It’s not my job to report on our decisions, but in general, our mandate is to foster the study of our church history in order to serve the contemporary church, and how best to do that is always an interesting challenge.

Now I’m back in our children’s home, on the mainland, and slipping into the rhythm of life of a young, busy family. In the next weeks, D.V., another name will be added to the family genealogy, and there will be a variety of interactions with our grandchildren. (For example, the grandson and I are reading some of the stories in Peter Dyck’s A Leap of Faith.) All this also a kind of history work!