Low German speaking women prepare food in kitchen
Photo/Nina Linton

Anna Neufeld, Nellie Neufeld, and Anna Ballardt (left to right) prepare lunch at a rehabilitation centre for Low German Mennonites in Bolivia.

Watch (or re-watch) this webinar and gain a deeper understanding of vaccine hesitancy, religious exemptions and how to engage with members of the Low German-speaking community and others around COVID-19, masks, lockdowns and vaccines.  

Since a global pandemic was declared in March of 2020, families, friends, and colleagues, have discussed COVID-19 and public health guidelines. These discussions have, in many cases, moved to division and discord in families and communities.

This webinar including the dramatic presentation: Gathering around COVID – a young married couple are visiting their parents for the first time in almost two years. Over dinner, cultural norms and expectations are observed, opinions and disagreements are shared.

A panel discussion, following the webinar, helped to further unpack cultural norms and expectations.

Viewers gained a deeper understanding of how to engage with the Low German-speaking community and others who have different views regarding the current public health crisis and insight into the history and culture that forms these opinions.



Tina Fehr Kehler, MA:  Tina previously served with Mennonite Central Committee in Manitoba as the Low German Program Coordinator. Tina is currently self employed as a freelance writer and consultant.  Her parents migrated from Mexico the year she was born. Tina and her family live in Winkler MB.  Tina has been theatrical productions for the last 40 years and cofounded the Flatlands Theatre Company, a community theatre in Winkler. Most recently she has written, acted in, and directed several short videos in Low German.

Melissa Purdy is a Nurse Practitioner with Huron Perth Public Health, where she works with the Anabaptist community, providing care to mothers and young children. She is currently working as an acting manager in the vaccine-preventable disease department during the pandemic response. She holds a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, completed her RN through McMaster University and her Masters Nurse Practitioner from Western University. She is also a mother to 10-year-old twins who keep her on her toes.

Al Rempel is a Regional Minister with Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. He holds degrees in Biblical Studies and Education. He has been in ministry for the last 33 years working as a pastor and denominational leader. In his current role, he serves as a coach, facilitator and consultant for congregations and pastors as they navigate challenges and opportunities of ministry. Al grew up in Southern Manitoba and now lives with his wife in St Catharines where they enjoy many outdoor activities with a particular passion for the game of golf.

Anni Bird, a member of the Low German-speaking community, is a former Settlement Worker with Mennonite Community Services in Aylmer. Anni continues to be a personal advocate for members of the Low German-speaking community. Anni, her husband and two daughters live in London, Ontario.