Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 12:30pm to 1:15pm

Supporting our Low German-speaking communities in the face of COVID-19

Lessons learned from the Spanish Flu

Join service providers working with members of the Low German-speaking communities in a fast-paced 45-minute webinar to learn about the impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic on Mennonites in Manitoba and how those lessons can be applied to our present work with members of the culture during the COVID-19 crisis.

Learn how to respond to common misconceptions in the Low German-speaking community about the virus, and what resources are available to assist in your work.

Can’t make it? Register anyway, and we’ll send you the recording when we’re finished. 

Register Now


What can we learn from epidemics of the past from Mennonite communities in Manitoba? with Glen Klassen

Glen Klassen is a retired microbiology professor living in Steinbach, Manitoba with his wife Betty. Glen taught biology and microbiology courses at the University of Manitoba and did research on the evolution of gene clusters in plant pathogenic fungi. After retirement he engaged in research on epidemics of the past with special attention to Mennonite communities in Manitoba. He studied the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918 as well as the recurring diphtheria epidemics before the advent of the vaccine. He is the co-author of the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve (2015) and author of Hope, Healing and Community: Celebrating 50 years of Eden (2018).

A pandemic: What about Low German culture and traditions? with James Schellenberg

James has been fortunate to enjoy a number of different roles in his years of employment  —  29 years as a teacher at different levels in the public school system, 12 years as a Mennonite pastor, and just over five years with Mennonite Central Committee Canada as program coordinator for work with Low German Mennonites. James and his wife Henriette spent four years in Germany on two different occasions, one an MCC term from 1988-90, and with Mennonite Church Canada in the former East Germany from 2001-2003. James looks back on all of those years with gratitude, and is grateful to now be able to continue to be involved in meaningful ways on a voluntary basis. 

COVID-19 – Perspective from a service provider to the Low German community with Helen Bergen

Helen Bergen was born the youngest of 6 children into a Low German family in Durango, Mexico. Helen has worked for Mennonite Community Services in Aylmer since April 2006. One day per week she works as a radio host for De Brigj CHPD 105.9FM - MCS’ Low German radio where she produces news segments. The remainder of the week she is Manager of Settlement Services. She provides orientation and referral services to newcomers as well as supporting them through the immigration process.