Die Mennonitische Post
Die Mennonitische Post

MCC promotes literacy and education in Low German-speaking Mennonite communities and colonies in North and South America through two publications, Die Mennonitsche Post, a newspaper published twice a month, and Das Blatt, a monthly children's magazine.

Die Mennonitische Post, one of the last remaining German-language publications in North America, celebrated its 40th anniversary this June.

MCC has longstanding relationships with Low German-speaking Mennonites living in communities and colonies across North and South America, including promoting German literacy and education through two publications, Die Mennonitsche Post, a newspaper published twice a month, and Das Blatt, a children's monthly magazine. 

Kennert Giesbrecht, the Post’s editor for the past 15 years, says the paper owes its long life support from MCC and to the 13,500 subscribers from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and beyond.

From left to right: Abe Warkentin, Isbrand Hiebert, and Kennert Giesbrecht. Warkentin was the founding editor and managed this MCC program for over 20 years. Hiebert was managing editor in the early 1990s and Giesbrecht has been at the helm since 2002. Each man holds copies of the Post published during their tenures. Photo submitted by Die Mennonitische Post

The goal of the paper, aside from promoting literacy and education, is to connect these communities.

“It’s all about informing people, broadening their horizons and building bridges between the Mennonite communities,” Giesbrecht explains. “Almost half of the paper is letters where people write about what’s happening in the colonies and their lives. Sometimes they’ll discuss what happened in a previous issue or reply to something someone else asked in a previous issue. A lot of it is about connecting to friends and relatives who live in other colonies and countries.”

Over the last 40 years, the Post has celebrated a number of milestones. The Post founded Das Blatt in 1989 and published a number of German books including, "Gäste und Fremdlinge" and "Auf den Spuren der Mennoniten.” The Post also has a large book ministry where it sends German books to different Mennonite communities in Latin America. These three components make up Mennonitische Post Ministry.

In 2004, the Post upgraded from literally cutting and pasting the paper together to digital publishing. Over the last 10 years the Post doubled its readership, largely because it’s now printed in four different locations, making shipping a lot easier and more cost-effective. The Post is printed in Steinbach, Manitoba; Asuncion, Paraguay; Santa Cruz, Bolivia and Chihuahua, Mexico.

Guests check out a display of Die Mennonitische Post’s history at the 40th anniversary party. Photo submitted by Die Mennonitische Post

In the coming years, Giesbrecht says the Post hopes to expand and reach more isolated communities.

“Mennonite communities in Latin America are spreading out and starting new colonies in Peru, Colombia and Brazil. It’s our goal to also reach those communities, too. It means new challenges for us to get our papers and books out there,” he says.

For some of these colonies, the Post is one of the few periodicals received.

“The Post and the Blatt are widely accepted and trusted by Mennonite communities that would close its doors on many other organizations, but they do, for the most part, trust the Post ministry. We hope we can keep up this trust and continue to provide them with good, solid Christian reading material,” Giesbrecht says.

The Post also helps colony members connect to the work of MCC around the world.

Giesbrecht says the Post promotes the work of MCC to the colonies it serves by translating news stories into German and sharing about MCC's relief, development and peace work during promotional trips to colonies.

From left to right: Anna Neufeld, Nellie Neufeld, and Anna Ballardt prepare lunch for residents at Guia de Paz, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for Low German Mennonites living on colonies in Bolivia. MCC provided support for the nine colonies and churches that worked together to complete the centre and has representation on its board. (2013)MCC photo/Nina Linton

For many years, MCC assisted many families with their applications for legal status and other resettlement issues through its Low German program. We help Low German communities connect with local services and professionals, and maintain relationships with leaders in the communities. This helps remove barriers between Low German communities and those around them.

In Latin America, MCC works with local leaders and organizations to increase community capacity to address issues like poverty, conflict, literacy, health and disasters. This includes the operation of resource centres that provide reading material and other resources, and support of agricultural programs and disaster relief efforts, as well as addictions treatment facilities.

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