In July 1986 it was decided to separate as two Societies. Henry Goerzen, Harry Stauffer and 14 other interested people gathered in Red Deer at the then Mennonite Brethren Church to check the feasibility of an Alberta-only society. On 1 November 1986 the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta formally came into being with Henry Goerzen as chairman, Harry Stauffer Vice Chairman, and Merlin Stauffer Secretary-Treasurer. The purposes were to collect, preserve, catalogue, store and exhibit articles and documents of historical value relating to the Mennonites in the Province of Alberta.
The Society soon realized that a museum of historic artifacts was not feasible, but a Library and Archive was possible. Henry Goerzen had already begun collecting records of the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta, and his basement soon became the official collection space. When that became crowded, a metal grain bin was purchased. Harry Stauffer was also collecting material about and for the Northwest Conference.
MHSA meetings were held twice annually. In an attempt to include all Mennonites communities, they were held in various locations, such as Coaldale, Duchess, Didsbury, and Tofield. We visited a Hutterite colony in Viking and the Holdeman folks at Linden. The Society traveled by bus to the isolated churches in LaCrete. It toured the cemetery in Coaldale and heard the stories of some of the first Mennonite settlers in the area. At various times it focused on story-telling, genealogy, preservation of old records and photographs.
The first Newsletter was published in November 1986. The MHSA Newsletter has continued, with some interruptions, since and by 2011 was published three times annually. Editors have been Henry Goerzen, Irene Klassen, Dave Neufeldt, Peter Penner, Judith Rempel, Dick Neufeld, Lorne Buhr, and Dave Toews, assisted by Dave Hildebrand.
Leadership of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta has included Henry Goerzen, Dave Neufeldt, Jake Harder, Colin Neufeldt, Peter Penner, Harold Friesen, Dave Pankratz, Vince Friesen, and Bill Janzen.
With John Bergen as editor, Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta undertook the publishing of the MCC history book, Celebration of Service in 1991.
When Jake Balzer translated the book, Ein Leib viele Glieder by Gerhard Ratzlaff, from German into One Body Many Parts, Judith Rempel typed, formatted and, to Jakes’s surprise, electronically sent the manuscript to Paraguay for publication in time for the Mennonite World Conference in Asunción.
When MHSA collected the stories of Mennonite leaders who have shaped Alberta, Irene Klassen spearheaded the project. Judith Rempel provided the technical preparation for printing, and Their Mark Their Legacy was published in 2006. Other publications by MHSA were Knowing and Interpreting our Past edited by Judith Rempel, Vauxhall Mennonite Church History by Anne Harder, and Namaka by Henry Goerzen.
MHSA has sponsored several additional book launches: Hard Passage by Arthur Kroeger, Mennonites in Canada by Ted Regehr, Remember us by Ruth Derksen Siemens, and Pushing Through Invisible Barriers by Tena Friesen. These books and others are available at the MHSA office as listed on the website.
Judith Rempel’s sudden passing on 24 May 2011 was a great loss to the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta, which faced new challenges going into its next quarter century.
Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan and Alberta Archives.
Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Archives and Newsletters.
 Additional Information
Address: 2946-32 Street N.E., Calgary, Alberta
|Date Published||November 2011|
 Cite This Article
Klassen, Irene. "Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2011. Web. 7 Dec 2013. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Historical_Society_of_Alberta&oldid=95889.
Klassen, Irene. (November 2011). Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 December 2013, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Historical_Society_of_Alberta&oldid=95889.
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