Winnipeg, Man.—This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in Canada forming a new partnership known as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada.
A celebration of this significant event in MCC’s history took place in Winnipeg, Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Canadian Mennonite University Great Hall.
This celebration, that included a dessert reception and program, focused on God’s faithfulness over the past 50 years and on the hopes, dreams and opportunities in the future, says MCC Canada executive director, Don Peters.
“Fifty years is a milestone in the history of any organization but we’re not just looking back—we are also embarking on a new reality that is creating a lot of interest, potential opportunities and energy,” says Peters. This new reality is that, since April 2012, MCC Canada has been directly involved in international program administration.
Envisioning MCC in 50 years’ time, he says: “It is my hope the relationship between MCC Canada and MCC U.S. will be as strong as it is now and that MCC will be an active participant in a vibrant network of Anabaptist agencies worldwide.”
Looking back, the celebration commemorated the decision made in Winnipeg in December 1963 to disband a variety of pre-existing Canadian organizations involved with MCC to create and a new national partnership called MCC Canada.
A new book, commissioned by the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, explores the history of how Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations supported MCC through these organizations and MCC Canada’s 50-year history. The book, Mennonite Central Committee in Canada—A History, will be launched at a history conference at the University of Winnipeg, Dec. 13 and 14.
"In order to understand the birth of MCC Canada in 1963, it is important to understand its lengthy gestation,” says author Esther Epp-Tiessen. “Canadian Mennonites have been involved with MCC since it was founded in the U.S. in 1920 and especially since MCC established an office in Kitchener, Ontario in 1943.”
The book also examines the significant growth and development of MCC Canada and the MCC provincial offices over the years.
Since 1963, MCC in Canada has grown from an annual budget of $300,000 to a budget of approximately $50 million.
Gladys Terichow is a freelance writer based near Winnipeg, Man.