A provincial conference in Canada consisting largely, though not necessarily or entirely, of General Conference Mennonite Church (GCM) congregations, the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba had its beginnings in the 1930s as a lay ministers' conference dealing annually with themes and problems common to lay ministers, but without an ongoing program. For a brief period (1936-38) there was also an annual delegates' session, but after 1938 it did not convene again until after World War II.
In 1947 a delegates' session was called which adopted a constitution and began a modest program of home missions. Congregations represented were all Manitoba member congregations of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. Thirteen congregations were registered as charter members, but these included both the Bergthal and Whitewater multicongregational organizations, so that the actual number of local congregations was considerably larger.
The home missions program was gradually expanded to include a camping program (1957) which had been begun by the Manitoba Mennonite Youth Organization, with three Christian campgrounds (Camp Assiniboia, at Headingly, Camp Koinonia at Boissevain, and Camp Moose Lake at Sprague, Manitoba); an annual provincial Sunday school convention (1957); and a modest radio program (1956), which was quickly expanded into three half-hour programs on a newly opened local radio station, CFAM, in Altona, a year later.
In 1975 the Elim Bible Institute was made a Manitoba Conference institution. It closed in 1988. While the two private high schools, Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg and Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, are not conference schools, they move within the orbit of other conference institutions and receive some conference support.
In 1968 the large First Mennonite Church of Winnipeg joined the conference. New congregations formed after the immigration which followed World War II also joined the conference, making it an organization of 53 congregations, with a total membership of 9,199 in 1998. Its three-pronged program still emphasizes Christian education, home missions, and radio work.
In 2001 the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba changed its name to Mennonite Church Manitoba in recognition of the transformation of the Mennonite Church and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada (formerly Conference of Mennonites in Canada). Instead of relating to a binational and national denominational structure, Mennonite Church Manitoba now was affiliated only with a national body. In 2001 the conference included 48 congregations with a total membership of 10,487.
In 2010 the following 50 congregations were members of Mennonite Church Manitoba:
CMC Directory 1998. Winnipeg: Conference of Mennonites in Canada, 1998: 90-92.
Handbook of Information 1988. Newton, Kans.: General Conference Mennonite Church, 1988: 105-107.
Mennonite Directory 2001. Scottdale, Pa.: Faith and Life Resources, 2001: 25.
Minutes and Yearbooks of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba (1935-1986).
Reimer, Margaret Loewen, ed. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, Ont.: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 51.
Mennonite Church Manitoba website
|Date Published||July 2010|
Cite This Article
Ens, Gerhardt and Sam Steiner. "Mennonite Church Manitoba." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2010. Web. 27 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Church_Manitoba&oldid=91491.
Ens, Gerhardt and Sam Steiner. (July 2010). Mennonite Church Manitoba. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Church_Manitoba&oldid=91491.
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