Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee was organized on 30 December 1940 by a group of Mennonite churches, chiefly in Manitoba. Its membership was composed almost exclusively of descendants of the Russian Mennonite immigration of 1874. A common background, common experiences in matters pertaining to peace problems in World War I, and a common position relative to alternative service in World War II were the bonds which united these churches for the purpose of giving a positive peace witness. The otherwise completely independent churches represented in this relief organization were the Bergthal, Sommerfeld, Rudnerweide, Kleine Gemeinde, Church of God in Christ Mennonite, Chortitz, Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, and the Old Colony groups. Their total membership approximated 10,000.

The leading persons responsible for the creation of this relief organization were David Schulz, J. F. Barkman, H. R. Reimer, Jacob S. Rempel, and J. G. Toews. J. S. Rempel was chairman until his death in 1947, when G. S. Rempel succeeded him to that office. J. G. Toews served as secretary-treasurer of the organization until 1950, when J. F. Unrau of Rosenfeld, Manitoba assumed this office.

All the above-named churches had representation on the committee and members from the various churches held office. The object of the organization was to collect funds and material aid for relief purposes, all of which was channeled to people in need through the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

The financial reports of the organization show that 1947 was the peak year for its activities. Contributions for the year were: cash, $76,328.81; clothing, $88,325.57; food, $86,936.78; total, $242,591.16. The financial reports for subsequent years show a marked decline in total contributions; furthermore the major portion of the cash contributions was directed toward refugee migration, this item for 1949 being $21,000.

In 1948 the Sommerfelder and the Chortitz churches withdrew from the organization because they felt that the emergency stage of the relief program was over. They, however, continued to contribute material aid as well as cash in aid of their brethren in Paraguay and Mexico, availing them selves of MCC channels in forwarding their contributions to those most in need. In December of 1963, the Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee was one of nine inter-Mennonite service agencies that united to form Mennonite Central Committee (Canada).


Epp, Esther Ruth. "The Origins of Mennonite Central Committee (Canada)." M.A. thesis, University of Manitoba, 1980: 219.

Regehr, T. D.  Mennonites in Canada, 1939-1970: A People Transformed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.

Additional Information

Executive Officers of Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee

Chairperson Vice-Chairperson Secretary-Treasurer
J. S. Rempel (1940-1947) George S. Fast ( ? -1961) Julius G. Toews (1940-1946)
G. S. Rempel (1947- ? ) William M. Enns (1961-1962) J. F. Unrau (1946- ? )
William M. Enns ( ? -1959) K. R. Barkman (1962-1964) F. E. Dueck
G. S. Rempel (1959-1962)   G. S. Rempel ( ? -1957)
George S. Fast (1962-1964)   T. E. Friesen (1957-1964)

Author(s) J. G Toews
Date Published September 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Toews, J. G. "Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2011. Web. 23 Feb 2024.

APA style

Toews, J. G. (September 2011). Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1 , pp. 508-509. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.